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Author Archives: Moira

Updates as promised!

In last night’s blog I promised that we would catch up with news of out travelers. Yesterday was not a good day to be traveling in France, the weather was poor and there were mega delays. Despite this all of our dogs reached their destination later than planned but hale and hearty. Disco, Fanta and Mojo are now enjoying life at Animal Trust and Stivel is now in Germany…phew! There has already been a reservation but that is Darcey’s news to tell!

It is of course fundraisers like yesterday’s Puivert event that allow us to send dogs abroad. Its worth every minute of effort to see these dogs beginning to enjoy life again.

As these dogs move on, others have of course arrived. Lets hope that none of them have a two – four year wait like Disco ad Fanta did! Sad as it is, the refuge can be a haven for lots of dogs, they are fed regularly, given vet care and of course assessed so we can ensure that they go to the perfect family. The SPA is like a stepping stone towards their future and without it many would simply die on the streets. Whilst in our care we aim to make their life as comfortable as possible. This where the volunteers really make a difference, a nice walk or a cuddle makes such a big difference to their day. They know who are volunteers and who are likely to take them for a walk. Some dance with glee when they see you coming, other literally leap in the air with excitement but it’s the ones who hide at the back of their kennels who are most worrying and who need one to one time spent socialising them.

So lets be proud of days where we have people out supporting us and consider every euro donated means that either a dog can move on or we can make life a bit better for them whilst they are with us.

Here are our arrivals…

Filou…a lovely pup!


Moby…a recent arrival


Jason, another arrival



Saturday news…

Under the dark clouds cast by the sickening events in Paris our fundraiser in Puivert, in aid of Twilight and Dog Rescue Carcassonne went ahead. This was a very successful event and once Debbie has got her breath back we will know how well we have done.

There was a massive bakery and cake stand, home made jams, soaps, beautiful wooden articles, Jan’s tiles of course, Christmas decorations, bric a brac, clothes, doggy bits and bobs, makeup,toys, a raffle and of course sausages on baguettes and coffee to keep us all going!

Seran an absolutely delightful cockerpoo modelled Lynns beautiful knitted doggy coats. She really was the star of the day and posed like a professional for the camera! Thank you to her mum for letting her model for us, she really is a credit to you!

This was a well organised event and it was lovely to see so many people out and about to support it. A massive thank you to the organisers, helpers and supporters, a lovely day was had by all!

The knock on effect of such events can never be underestimated. As well as much needed funds for the SPA animals we will have a couple of new volunteers next week and lots of people came and chatted about their SPA dogs or about dogs they were interested in.

At the SPA we had two super puppy adoptions. Both Misha and Lia are off to their new forever homes.  Many thanks to Estelle who fostered Lia, its always so hard to hand over a foster pup but she can rest assured that she gave Lia the very best start in life.

Tomorrow we will have an update of the fundraiser, news of the travelers and a peep at some new arrivals!

Our top doggy model..


Misha adopted..


Lia adopted!




Midnight Maneouvers!

Tonight around midnight four more of our wonderful doggies will be jumping into their travel crates and setting of for pastures new.

This weeks lucky four are Disco, Fanta, Mojo and Stivel. Disco, Fanta, and Mojo are off to Animal Trust in Belgium and Stivel is going straight into foster under the care of a German Association .

This is super news for all of the dogs. Disco has been with us 46 months, Fanta 27 months and Mojo 12 months. For Stivel this chance is nothing short of a miracle! Until he came to us 19 months ago, this poor boy had had a terrible life. He arrived with a muzzle so small and tight that he has a permanent scar on his nose. He was skin and bones and so we had to ‘feed him up’ ever so carefully. Slowly he began to regain weight and became less manic about food but who could blame him, its instinct to eat as quickly and as much as you can when its available! Many thanks to a sponsor mum Liz who paid his adoption fee, being a spaniel lover she wanted to give home the best chance of a super future.

On this trip Darcey is travelling with the dogs so when she gets back next week and has caught her breath we will hear all about their adventures!

All of these dogs have waited so long for a new home that they so deserve this chance of a lifetime and we will soon have news of how they are settling down.

Its nearly 2 weeks ago that the six dogs left for the UK and three are already reserved pending home visits. So very soon Sacripan, Gun and Biker will be off to their forever families and I am betting that the other three won’t be far behind them. We are so thankful to be working with such wonderful refuges and this goes to prove that finding the perfect forever home for dogs need know no borders.

Disco..waiting for 46 months!


Fanta…27 months waiting!


Mojo..12 months waiting!


Stivel…you so deserve this chance. Be Happy!





Piro and why you should protect against tick borne diseases!

Today we have two very poorly doggies. Curaco and All Black have both been to the vets and the verdict is that they have Piroplasmosis! Luckily this was picked up really early by our kennel staff and after a strong course of antibiotics we expect them to pick up quickly!

Lots of  people coming to France are not aware that many of the French ticks carry a parasite known as Piroplasmosa Canis, which causes a potentially fatal canine disease called piroplasmosis or ‘piro’. These ticks are more active in warmer, wetter weather, so spring and autumn tend to be the danger periods.

So, what are the symptoms of Piro?

Different dogs react to the infection in different ways, and symptoms will differ according to the individual dog and the stage of the disease, but the most common signs are:

  • lethargy and loss of appetite
  • fever, shivering and elevated temperature
  • dark urine
  • anaemia (to test for this, press a finger against your dog’s gum. When you release the pressure, the blood should return immediately. If the spot stays pale for a few seconds, it can indicate a problem).

Dogs bitten by an infected tick typically start to show symptoms within 24 – 48 hours, and the disease can be rapidly fatal. The dog’s kidneys try to filter out the infected blood cells, and are themselves damaged in the process. It’s important to catch the disease as quickly as possible to limit the possibility of kidney damage, so play it safe and take your dog to the vet.

How can you prevent Piro?

  • If your dog is long-haired, keep him trimmed and well-groomed. The best prevention is to find and remove the ticks before they can bite. All French vets and pharmacies sell a tick removal tool.
  • Wait several days after bathing your dog before applying the anti-tick treatment, and don’t bath him for a couple of days after application.
  • Make sure the treatment is applied directly to the skin, not the hair.
  • Keep a close eye on your pet.

In addition to applying the anti-tick treatment, we also advise a Scalibor collar. This is impregnated with an active ingredient that gives six months of protection, and can be used with the Advantix without fear of overdosing to give maximum protection.

If, like us, you catch the infection very early, there should be no long-term consequences.  In 80 or 90 percent of cases, dogs develop a degree of natural immunity after being bitten. This means that most dogs have the disease once, then never again.

So prevention with Advantix,a Scalbor  collar and quick action should you notice the symptoms, keeps your dog safe and sound.

Protect against this…


Check your dog over regularly for ticks..



T’s crossed and I’s dotted…phew!

If a dog is entering the UK to be rehomed it can no longer travel under the pet travel scheme. Instead you must comply with the rules of the Balai Directive and a ITAHC ( Intra trade animal health certificate) must be completed.

The information from this ITAHC is then processed through TRACES (The Trade Control and Expert System). TRACES is a web-based system run by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection which records the exact movement of animals throughout Europe.

Veterinary authorities from the UK and abroad use TRACES to track the movement of consignments across Europe and any movement may be subject to spot checks,

Before the dogs arrive at the receiving European rescue they must inform their local DEFRA department of their arrival. The DEFRA vets can then choose to visit and examine the records and dogs usually up to 48 hours after arrival.

Today our dogs who left about a week ago were visited  by the DEFRA vets. All was in order of course and its good to know that after all of that paperwork that DEFRA do actually carry out checks.

What happens if you don’t comply and are caught? You or the rescue are fined and the dogs can be quarantined! That’s an expense and consequence we really couldn’t justify for the sake of a couple of hours extra administration.

All of the 6 dogs are being assessed, are having full health screens and the rescue are very sure that they will be adopted very quickly.  We will of course keep you posted…

At the refuge today we had two arrivals. Two of the recent arrivals, Rouk and Gulliver arrived as their owner had died. They are both young, handsome and very sociable boys!

Without the SPA Carcassonne, doggies like Rouk and Gulliver would face a really uncertain future, so lets find them  happy forever homes really quickly!

DEFRA…thank goodness all the t’s were crossed i’s dotted…phew!



Rouk needs a new home!


Gulliver needs a home too..


Crumble arrived today…









Its good to be nosy..

…..if you are a dog that is!

A dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a human’s (depending on the breed). A human has about 5 million scent glands, compared to a dog, who has anywhere from 125 million to 300 million (depending on the breed). Ever wonder why your dog’s nose is wet? The mucus on a dog’s nose actually helps it smell by capturing scent particles. When a dog’s nose is dry they may lick it to aid them in scent.

A big part of understanding your dog is understanding its senses and accepting that they are indeed different than ours. Both humans and dogs have the same three senses: sight, hearing and smelling, however while most humans communicate by hearing, seeing, and then smelling, dogs primarily communicate by smelling, seeing and lastly hearing. Dogs also have a universal sense which most humans do not have, where they can feel the energy (emotions) of the other beings around them.

Dogs read about the world through their noses, and they write their messages, at least to other dogs, in their urine. When dogs start sniffing each other’s nether regions, chances are they’re learning far more about each other than you and the other dog’s owner are learning through idle chitchat. We will never actually know what they learn but its most likely to be something like “Oh, you’re a nice dog, and you had chicken recently, and you’re about 10 years old?”

So try to give your dog time to smell and to use his nose. I know its tempting to say ‘come on get a move on’ but especially if your dog doesn’t have lots of off leash time when it can smell as much as it likes, then do try to be patient and and encourage him to be as nosy as possible!






After adoption support…

Tonight I thought that I would talk about a side of our job that not many people know about. The post adoption days, weeks and sometimes months when you work with families to keep the dog in the family and prevent its return to rescue.

So the adoption went well, the pup was a great match for the families lifestyle, they were delighted to have found the pup of their dreams….what could possibly go wrong?  This is very objective and very dependent on expectations and previous doggy experience and how the family manage the new pup from day one.

I have to admit when I see an email from new adopters my heart is in my mouth. Is it to say, all is well, thank you so much or is it to say help…we are struggling to cope!

We always encourage new adopters to call or email us us as soon as they experience behaviours out with their expectations. We much prefer to spend as much time as needed talking through behaviour problems than risk a dog being returned.

So what issues are we giving advice on? The most common are anxiety and fearfulness, food aggression, resource guarding, leg lifting, toilet training and separation anxiety. We will be covering each topic in future blogs.

A lot of the time the problems are very objective. What is perfectly normal to some adoptants is totally unacceptable to others. As well as basic management of any situation we work until we get to a place that is acceptable to everyone concerned and then they can start bonding and enjoying their new life together.

If we can’t come to a solution we can ask our dog trainer or behaviourist to visit (provided you are relatively local). It’s often much easier if someone sees a behaviour first hand and can advise accordingly.

In a very small percentage of cases, no matter how much work we do, we have to step in and take the dog back. Filou is back after several months. We knew that Filou had bitten ( not badly) but he hadn’t for 8 months in kennels. When a couple who had taken early retirement came along, with doggy experience, an enclosed garden, home all day, no visiting children and a daughter who is a dog behaviourist and wanted to give Filou a chance it seemed like a great chance for him!

They were very aware that he had bitten and we discussed the risks, management to keep everyone safe and coping skills. We have learnt that Filou has severe guarding issues of people, objects and food. Despite lots of work and management, his behaviour became very extremely unpredictable in the home environment and the safest thing to do was to bring him back.

This is heart-breaking as you have a family who gave it their best and a doggy with yet another failed adoption behind him….

Our adoptions to the English speaking community are usually very successful due to good communications post adoption. We are very proud that our return rate is less than 5% and as we  too are learning all the time…..we hope this gets even lower!





Something that confuses lots of people and especially new volunteers is what is DRC in relation to the SPA.

DRC was set up by Darcey and myself to provide an English speaking interface for the SPA. A third of all SPA adoptions are done by us so that’s a lot of dogs per year!

We also have an active fundraising group who raise monies for the SPA animals and it enables us to pay the adoption costs and transport to allow dogs to travel to associations. If these dogs didn’t move to associations we wouldn’t be able to help as many local dogs per year.

DRC also looks after the English speaking volunteers who come to the refuge and administers the website Dog Rescue Carcassonne and the facebook page too.

When potential adopters contact us we have a long chat with them and help them choose the perfect pooch for their lifestyle. We then meet them at the refuge, introduce them to the dog and talk them through the adoption procedure. After adoption we provide back up advice should you have any worries what so ever.

The SPA also has a strong volunteer team who walk the dogs, cuddle the cats and facilitate adoptions. Between the SPA and DRC we have a wealth of doggy knowledge, experience and skills and our goals are identical, to make life better for the animals of the SPA. If you would like to join us we need help with doggy walking, cat cuddling, IT, grooming, training, photography, DIY and doggy transportation.

The SPA volunteers were out in force at Maxi Zoo yesterday for a collection of foods, toys and animal accessories. This was a very successful event and below you will see a photo of Lilly and Kali, two SPA ambassadors. Both of these young dogs are in foster and both are looking for their forever home. Should you be interested in either, you will be getting a well socialized, house trained pup who can live with other dogs and cats!

Email us website@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk to arrange to come along, have a tour of the refuge and enjoy an afternoon with us!

Lilly(left) and Kali (right)


And they are off ( again ) !!!

This morning Jane and I had another very early trip to the refuge to hand over 6 lucky dogs who are travelling all the way to Cambridgeshire.

The lucky 6 are Biker, Bogart, Brownie, Dali, Gun and Sacripan who seemed to know that they were off to pastures new and lept into the transporters van with gusto!  We will of course be watching their journey on the sat nav tracker and they will be arriving at their destination about 7pm this evening. We will hear about their adventures in the UK soon.

They will be staying in a super refuge, who I have visited and know well, where they will be health checked, assessed and matched to suitable adopters. Whilst they wait they will have large heated kennels, daily walks, play times and training sessions. After adoption their progress will be monitored and advice offered as part of the post adoption checks. This really is the chance of a lifetime for these dogs and they knew it!

We are often asked why refuges would take dogs from other European countries and there is no simple answer. For some it’s a chance to see and to offer prospective adopters different breeds of dog, others have a commitment to help out less fortunate refuges such as ourselves. Some have a particular soft sport for eg hunt type dogs who have really seen nothing more than the inside of a kennel or have been used to breed. Whatever the reason, we are so very grateful fot their help!

All rescues are there to help animals move on to their forever families and these families may not be in the dogs local area. Finding a forever family doesn’t need to be constrained by borders…..and long may that continue!

If any of our UK followers are reading this blog and are interested in any of the six then just contact us and you can go and visit them and offer them a home from there,

So here they are..the lucky 6!

Biker , 20 months old…an active boy who loves water!


Bogart a handsome 5 year old..


Brownie..an energetic 4 year old!


Sacripan..a medium sized 3 year old!


Dali – an affectionate five year old!


Gun…a handsome 4 year old!


Friday catch up….

Tonight’s blog is a catch up blog before we hear about the next 6 travelers who will be leaving very early tomorrow morning.

First of all the good news. We have had four adoptions, Jilly the lovely beagle cross , Chuppa the beautiful female Beauceron pup, Velleda a shepherd cross and last but not least, the beautiful Daina. None of these doggies have had a long wait which is always good news.

We have had quite a few entries. When a dog arrives the first thing we do is check it over to see if its chipped or tattooed. A lovely shepherd was in the office as I arrived yesterday afternoon. We were pleased that she was chipped and Carole typed her details into the database to retrieve her contact details. When you do this you can also see the doggies name and she was called Kimba. It was so cute. When we said ‘hello Kimba’ she started to dance about and push herself into us for cuddles. This was a dog who had certainly learnt its name!!!!!!!! We called her owner who had been looking everywhere for her and was delighted that she was safe and sound….we love happy endings like that. Anyone can lose their dog for so many reasons so always remember to keep their details up to date to their microchip database.

Hubert, Sacha and Fizz all arrived earlier this week, Fizz the cocker is identified and we are looking for her owners.

Yesterday we also had two hunt type dogs arrive. One is a lovely griffon cross who we have called Vendee and the other a Bruno de Jura who we have called Jura. Both came from the Limoux area so we are hoping that they simply got lost whilst out hunting and will be reclaimed soon.

Tomorrow you will find out who the lucky six are who are off to the UK….not to be missed!



Chuppa – adopted


Daina – adopted!


Vendee – a new arrival


Jura- arrived with Vendee


Hubert – another arrival