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Author Archives: Moira

Lagoon leaves at last!

When 11 year old Lagoon arrived at the SPA in November our hearts sunk. He was in quite a sorry state, covered in tumors, thin and dirty. You could see from the way that he walked that age hadn’t been kind to him and that he had a few problems with his back legs.

Luckily enough the tumors were just fatty lumps, he scrubbed up well, was ever so grateful for regular meals and as we got to know him we soon realised what a real gent this boy was. With his lovely blue eyes this boy became stunning and the icing on the cake was that he was a really easy boy to walk on the leash too!

Like most older gents he was a bit of a character and made it very clear that he didn’t like cats, in fact didn’t like some dogs…he definitely preferred to choose his own friends.

We hate seeing old doggies at the refuge but we couldn’t find him a foster place. To give him the very best quality of life that we could we built him a little exercise park where hen could potter about and watch the world going by!

This was great for Lagoon but what we really wanted for him was a retirement in a loving family and last week such a family came forward.

After meeting Lagoon they reserved him and today he left. Many, many thanks to this kind family for opening up their home and hearts to this lovely boy!

Next to leave was puppy Lucian. Lucian arrived with his mum Lucy a couple of months ago and as luck would have it  she is reserved and will be leaving very shortly!

We have had two arrivals. A female shepherd cross who is one of the lucky ones whose owners were looking for her and who should be leaving later today! The other was a young male Labrador cross who we will have more about soon.

Lagoon adopted!



Lucian adopted..




This lucky girl will be leaving…



This chap isnt so lucky..


Scary statistics…

I was just wondering what to blog about today when I ready a post on Dogs Today facebook page which was really quite an eye opener..

‘Extraordinary stat alert… is this really true?

Seventy per cent of pets change families more than once in their lifetime

Really???? Only 30% of dog/cats etc don’t end up being rehomed????

Is that right? Are we becoming dog borrowers. Is rescue a lending library? Do we hand them in like a Boris bike and pick up another when it’s convenient?

Even though they are called Aquarium software – the company reference 4 legged pets in their press release….

“Pet insurance software expert Aquarium Software says the process of insuring our four-legged friends could become further complicated in the future due to pets moving families too much. Statistics show that seventy per cent of pets change families more than once in their lifetime, something which could not only be debilitating and unsettling for the pet itself, but also jeopardises its pet parent’s chances of acquiring appropriate insurance.

“Animals are no different to us humans, in that they need consistency and structure in their lives, and they may react adversely to constant change” says Mark Colonnese, VP and Sales & Marketing Director at Aquarium Software Inc. “By moving around families too often, it also becomes more difficult to track a pet’s insurance and medical history, which adds to the problem from the insurer’s perspective.

Pets can move families for a variety of reasons – pet parent job relocations; tight financial budgets; human relationship split-ups, etc. An important part of the mix in reaching a sensible premium calculation is to know the animal’s detailed health and medical history, which can obviously made more difficult if the pet has moved from owner to owner.

Aquarium Software is currently being implemented by a number of key pet insurers, and affinity partners in the UK, Europe, USA and Canada’.

So have we really become a throw away society where people give up on dogs far too easily and do so many people seriously lack commitment to their pets? Or is it just that life happens, relationships breakdown, ill health etc and people consider whats best for the dogs?

Statistics can be scary and also can be manipulated but thinking about this subject has really made me realise the importance of getting dogs into the correct home in the first place.

Its such a big responsibility re homing a dog and you have small window of opportunity to evaluate potential adopters. You then have to weigh up rescue numbers and those dogs on the waiting list.

Juggling all of these factors weighs heavy on rescuers consciousnesses…ahhh I will never sleep tonight!





Yesterday’s adoptions…

Today, as promised we will catch up with refuge news. I mentioned in an earlier blog that Bounty our 11 year old shepherd cross was going to have to come back to the refuge as his foster mum was ill, well the great news is that we have found a forever family for him!

This is really great news for any older doggy but this lovely boy is a gem, great with other dogs and cats.  a really loveable boy! Sometimes adopting an older doggy is a sensible choice depending on your lifestyle and most oldies become devoted. loyal companions really quickly!

Next to leave was Marjolaine. I was really pleased to hear this as she arrives in a box with her 2 sisters three weeks ago and her sister were adopted on Friday. That is the whole litter who have had vet care, been vaccinated, micro chipped and rehomed in only a few weeks. This was definitely down to the power of social media!

So yesterday one senior and one puppy left….a good day!

September means the start of the hunting season in France, or la chasse, and it can be quite a shock to see a group of hunters heading past your house.

Each Sunday you will see the countryside dotted with vans and cars and will hear the distinctive howl of hounds as they flush out or chase the game. You are sure to cross a group of hunters heading off into the woods with guns slung over their shoulders so if you are out walking it’s wise to wear bright clothing.  I would strongly advise keeping your dogs on the leash, one in case they are ‘accidentally’ shot and two because the hunt dogs have on many occasion swarmed my dogs and some dogs could find this very intimidating. You would think that the hunters would have trained dogs so could simply call their dogs away, not a chance! Most chasse dogs are hunting by instinct alone and have had no or little training!

All chasse dogs should be identified but very few are, as this legislation, like lots of legislation regarding the chasse in France is not enforced. This unfortunately makes it very easy for the hunters to abandon dogs who aren’t good hunters, who are too old or are hurt and need vet treatment.

So we careful out there, especially on Sundays and take no chances with your doggies!




Marjolaine adopted..



Saturday’s doggy visit…

Today I am not around a computer as I am off to meet three ex SPA furries, Milly, Melba and Jess. This means that tonight’s blog will be a ‘general’ blog about the SPA and we will catch up on refuge new tomorrow.

Milly, an SPA pussy cat was adopted from us three years ago, Melba a braque allemand two years ago and Jess the collie pup in April this year. All went to live with my son and daughter in law and are thriving in the Scottish temperatures spending lots of the time out and about on hills and islands of Scotland.

Melba was their first pup and of course being a scent hound the biggest problem they have had with her is recall.   It taken time and patience and lots of training but Melbas recall is now pretty good but this is carefully managed and when she is out and about she is only free where there are no wildlife, especially sheep to chase!  Jess is a border collie and is now 10 months old and has been a very easy pup. No worries with recall with her and she rarely leaves your side!

This is a perfect example at why you should look at breed traits when choosing a dog. Think carefully about your lifestyle and what you can except from the breed of dog you choose. Stuart does lots of jogging with Melba who is young and very active and does obedience with Jess. As Jess matures she will do agility but is a wee bit young as yet for high impact sports.

If your family work all day think carefully about the dog that you choose and do ask us if we know if it can be left home alone. Make sure that you are prepared to get up early and walk the dogs before work, can arrange a comfort break during the day and will exercise the dog again in the evening. Lots of dogs will settle into such a routine but we have others who we know will need someone around most of the time so do ask.

Whatever dog you choose, don’t forget, get in touch with us for advice ….and we do love hearing about our SPA dogs and how they settle in their new homes. A photo and a little update form time to time is very much appreciated.

Melba and Jess…

Jess & melba




Friday’s puppy adoptions..

Three weeks ago as I was driving back to Scotland, I posted a blog about 3 black Labrador pups being found in a box on the autoroute and arriving at the SPA. Thanks to social media the pups got a lot of coverage and Sauge and Aneth were quickly reserved.

Just as they were due to leave they developed a little gastro but with some tlc and lots of spoiling, today they were at last ready to leave. Thank you very much to their forever families who have been very patient!  As they say ‘all good things come to those who wait’ and those pups are certainly lovely pups and well worth the wait!

This is one of the main reasons that we prefer pups to go to foster homes than stay on the refuge. The refuge is a dangerous place for unvaccinated pups and even with strict hygiene protocols in place they can get sick. Luckily we have very experienced staff who know just what to watch out for and have the pups whipped of to the vet at the first sign of trouble.

Now that the pups are home, their lives begin in their forever families. The best advice to new puppy parents is to set reasonable and fair house rules from day one. Its so easy to allow unacceptable behaviour to develop and much easier to be sensible and prevent it in the first place than try and train it out later.

That seems sensible to us that are used to pups in the house but we are very aware that not everyone who adopts has puppy experience.  We all learn as we go and have all made mistakes with pups. I certainly didn’t teach my first pup ‘alone time’ and this is really important. I was so eager to socialise him that I literally took him everywhere with me.  I could have been setting him up for quite bad separation anxiety…I was lucky but might not have been and now know the importance of building up time spent alone! I certainly could have done better at teaching him manners around food. I wasnt so lucky with this little issue and have one greedy labrador!

If you adopt from us and puppy starts to play up contact us asap. We have a wealth of knowledge and can provide support and advice in English and French.










Dont Poison Your Best Friend!

As we are approaching the vendange season I thought that I would remind you all that grapes can be poisonous to dogs. If you walk your dogs in or around vineyards please make sure that they don’t scoff grapes off the ground or indeed off the vine. If you do you are playing Russian roulette with the life of your pet..is it worth the risk?

Not only is it grape time but its also ‘conker’ season too. They too can be harnful to dogs so dont let you dog chew on them.

Grapes and conkers aren’t the only food stuff to poison dogs so here are the most common:

Alcohol – I’m sure you’ve heard of the birthday parties where the dog accidentally gets into some of the spilled keg beer, and then gets all silly to the amusement of the crowd. While it may be funny to you, it’s not funny to your dog. Alcohol can cause not only intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing, and abnormal acidity, but potentially even coma and/or death.

Apple Seeds – Apple seeds are toxic to a dog as they contain a natural chemical that releases cyanide when digested. So, be sure to core and seed apples before you feed them to your dog.

Avocado – Avocados contain Persin, which can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, and heart congestion..

Bones – The danger with bones isn’t the nutritional content, nor is it necessarily the danger of chocking. Rather, you need to be careful with cooked bones from meat sources such as chicken and fish because they can harm your dog’s digestive tract when the bones splinter inside the body.

Candy and chewing gum – Not only does candy contain sugar, but it often contains Xylitol, which can lead to the over-release of insulin, kidney failure, and worse.

Chocolate – You’ve probably heard this before, but chocolate is a definite no no for your pup. And it’s not just about caffeine, which is enough to harm your dog by itself, but theobromine and theophylline, which can be toxic, cause panting, vomiting, and diarrhoea, and damage your dog’s heart and nervous systems.

Citrus oil extracts – Can cause vomiting.

Grapes and raisins – This is one that lots of dog owners are unaware of. Grapes contain a toxin that can cause severe liver damage and kidney failure. We’ve heard stories of dogs dying from only a handful of grapes so do not feed your pup this toxic food.

Liver – Avoid feeding too much liver to your dog. Liver contains quite a bit of Vitamin A, which can adversely affect your pup’s muscles and bones.

Macadamia nuts – These contain a toxin that can inhibit locomotory activities, resulting in weakness, panting, swollen limbs, and tremors as well as possible damage to your dog’s digestive, nervous, and muscle systems.

Onions, garlic, and chives – No matter what form they’re in (dry, raw, cooked, powder, within other foods), onions and garlic (especially onions) are some of the absolute worst foods you could possibly give your pup (it’s poisonous for dogs, and its even worse for cats). They contain disulfides and sulfoxides (thiosulphate), both of which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells.

Xylitol – A sugar alcohol found in gum, candies, baked goods, and other sugar-substituted items, Xylitol, while causing no apparent harm to humans, is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, even death for your pup.

To be safe keep all foodstuffs well out of reach, especially if like me you have greedy Labradors!

So how would you know if your dog has been poisoned? Watch out for obvious signs like vomiting and diarrhoea, staggering, unsteadiness or even seizures. If you are at all worried contact your vet right away!


Dangerous Foods


Found a dog?

Tonight we have some great news but first of all I want to remind people what to do if they find a dog. Today we helped reunite a dog and its owner after 5 days and the reason for the delay was that the people who found him didnt let us know that they had found the dog and were looking after it.

So if you find a dog here is what to do:

1. Make a note of the date, time and area in which you found the dog.

2. Please make sure the dog has access to food and water even if you do not want to get involved – this is a basic, humane gesture. Feed the dog little but often.

3. Does the dog have a collar? If so are there any details of his owner? Please ensure you check the inside of the collar too. Ask around the local neighbourhood, Mairie, vets,shops, postman/woman, etc. Please note, the Mairie is legally responsible for dealing with stray dogs and should have an arrangement with a local fourrière (pound). They will or should give you the contact the SPA of the region. Some are more helpful than others. It is also advisable to contact the gendarmes.

4. If the dog is undernourished, sick or hurt in any way,contact a vet.

5. Does the dog have a tattoo in his ear? If so call notify the I-CAD (French national ID) – seehttp://www.i-cad.fr/index.php

, quote the tattoo number and they will give you the details of the dog’s owner.

6. It is possible that the dog is micro-chipped so take the dog to a vet, animal charity or SPA and they should be able to read the chip number in order to find the dog’s owner.

7. Place details ofthe dog on the web site www.chien-perdu.org, where there is a section for found dogs. Your local SPA may also have a lost / found section on their website.Please also contact Pet Alert France – a Facebook group dedicated to finding lost pets. This group is regionalised, so search for and post on your own region’s group.

8. Place details and photos on the online groups as set out in the Lost A Dog section above, in order to try and trace the owner.

If you find a dog its not a case of ‘finders keepers’, the owners are most likely really upset and trying to find it.

Today wonderful news is that 11 year old Lagoon has been reserved. I will wait until he leaves before telling his story but this lovely handsome boy really deserves a comfy home and will be leaving very very soon!

Lagoon..reserved at last!




Tuesday troubles..

Todays news is mixed but one thing I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog was the fact that Tino went home.

Tino was an 11 year old border collie who arrived at the refuge with a nasty wound to his neck. After some vet care he soon picked up but the vet thought that the wound had been inflicted by other dog (s). What a shame, 11 years old, attacked and finding yourself at the SPA. Thank goodness his owners were looking for him and spotted him on our facebook page!

We did have a rather sad arrival. In February Capucine was adopted after 5 months at the SPA and somehow found herself at Bezier SPA. As we have said many times, once our dog, always our dog and when Bezier SPA called to say that she had arrived we pulled out all stops to get her back.

This morning Carole and Aude drove down to Bezier and picked her up. She is back with us, safe and sound and we will be looking for a special forever home for her. Being young, female and golden I don’t think that she will have a long wait!

Why dogs arrive in other rescues after adoption is never quite straight forward. We always offer post adoption advice and per the contract the dog must come back to us should the adoption not work out. The microchip database will tell any vet or organisation that the dog was ours and we will be notified.

That is not to say that if we know that there are problems that we wont give the go ahead to any reponsible rehoming, of course we will. The very last thing that we want is for the dog to end up back in kennels.

We also had another arrival today. A shepherd cross arrived after being found in Trebes and we will have more information about him tomorrow.

Tino…has gone home!

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Capucine…has come back!




One arrival and fundraising news…

Today there was not much news from the refuge apart from the arrival of a young, male, golden ‘mini’ Labrador. This lovely looking boy will be popular for sure but who knows there may be someone looking for him! If he is not claimed in 10 days he will be available for adoption so only time will tell!

As you all know we prefer our puppies and older doggies to go into foster homes. We hate seeing older dogs in the kennels but today  we heard that poor Bounty would have to return from his long term foster home as his foster mum was ill. We will really try our hardest to try and find him either a forever family or another long term foster. At 11 years old he is far too old to spend a winter in kennels and as he is good with other dogs and cats this shouldn’t be too difficult!

Our older or indeed our doggies in need of extra care often go to foster under a FALD contract. This is basically a long term foster agreement where the dog lives in your home as your dog but the SPA pay for any medical care it may need. This saves families who are prepared to take on an older doggy the worry about any future vet bills and ensures that our oldies receive the very best of care but in a loving home.

We have also had news of yesterday’s wine-tasting fundraiser. We raised a whopping 200 euros, had donations of doggy food and also found a sponsor for one of our doggies. Like all fundraisers this event also helped to arise awareness of the plight of the doggies at the SPA.

Well done Jane for organising this event and a special thank you to La Petite Pepiniere and to Wendy for hosting the event. Thank you to everyone who came along and supported Dog Rescue Carcassonne, all monies raised go towards making life just a little bit easier for the animals at the SPA.

Todays arrival..



Thank you to La Petite Pepiniere..


Yesterday’s two adoptions..

Today being Sunday the refuge was shut. This means that its not open to volunteers or the public but of course the staff are still in and spend the mornings as usual feeding the dogs and cats, cleaning out kennels and giving medicines as required.

Yesterday’s blog was a ‘general’ blog and so today we will catch up on refuge news! I was out yesterday and was delighted to come home to the news that two dogs had been adopted.

First to leave was Mimosa a lovely 7 month old golden Labrador cross. Mimosa arrived late July and proved to be a very social happy pup. Yesterday he left with his new family who spotted him and reserved him last Sunday at our open day.

Next to leave was Falco. We did have 2 Falcos but yesterday’s lucky boy was our Dogo Argentino. I am so pleased for this big boy who really was a gentle giant and who had been returned from a previous adoption through no fault of his own. Last time the family’s resident dog would not accept Falko and was very aggressive to him, so for his own safety poor Falko came back to kennels.  His luck changed yesterday and off he went…2nd time lucky for Falco!

Tonight is our Dog Recue Carcassonne wine tasting fundraiser. As we read this blog the lucky particiapnts will  be having a tour of La Petite Pepitiers gardens, a little talk about wine and a tasting session. A lovey way to spend a Sunday evening and tomorrow we hear how it all went and how much funds were raised.




Falco adopted!