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Author Archives: Moira

Flash leaves for Belgium…

Today we were pretty sure of one departure and it was Flash!

Like all of our dogs who are travelling to other European countries, preparations began weeks ago. First of all Flash needed to have his rabies vaccination and a passport, we then had lots of paperwork to submit to the DSV so that they could issue him with a TRACES certificate. This means that the authorities can track where the dog is exported to and that he is transported in a DEFRA registered vehicle under strict health and safety conditions.

Flash arrived with his sister Poppy in February this year when they were five months old. Wherever they had been they had missed out on a lot of socialisation and they were vert timed and nervous.

We are used to this at the SPA and with lots of love and tlc its wasn’t too long before Poppy was adopted. This left Flash alone  which seems like a shame but it was the perfect opportunity for us to put him with a more confident dog who could teach him that we humans were not scary things, we brought great treats and took them for great walks!

Prosper, our 8-year-old border cross was just the dog to do this. He was friendly and confident and loved the volunteers which really brought Flash on in leaps and bounds.So tonight he is off to our friends Animal Trust in Belgium.

There he will have 5 star boarding facilities, extra training and lots of socialisation and I am betting that it wont be long before this stunning boy is adopted!

Thanks again to Animal Trust for helping the SPA. Quite a few of our dogs have gone to this organisation and all have got super homes and are very happy.

Apart from Flash’s departure there were no other comings or going but I am really hopeful that tomorrow we will have news of 2 adoptions!


border collie x




Sunday snips…

It really has been another great week for adoptions. Is this and because people are coming back from holidays and settling down again or is it just luck…time will tell!

We have already had news from Nikki who adopted Dreyfus ex Omega, a Griffon Nivernais who she hoped would be a great playmate for Shadow.

Dreyfus was adopted ‘unseen’ which means that Nikki was really relying on us being very honest about the dog and thinking carefully about whether he could integrate relatively seamlessly into the family’s life. This is quite a responsibility and one that we don’t take lightly but when I drove Dreyfus over to meet Nikki and Shadow on Tuesday I was fairly confident that all would go smoothly.

We are a big fan of careful introduction so we met Nikki and Shadow on neutral ground, had a nice relaxed walk and a picnic! The dogs got on well, we had a good blether and off they went!

Dreyfus and Shadow are getting on really well, playing together and are already good friends. Here is what Nikki says about their progress..

‘Dreyfus got the all clear from the vet today and he sang the praises of SPA Carcassonne for a very efficient dossier and a lovely dog ! Dreyfus was not so keen on his bath when we got home , but he smells oh so much better ! He adores Shadow , who is doing a good job of just the right amount of playing and a bit of discipline. Happy days ’

This weekend is also the anniversary of my grand-doggy Melba arriving in Scotland. Melba, a Braque Allemand went to live with my son Stuart three years ago. Melba joined Milly a Spa kitten but feline company wasn’t enough for Melba who really loved the company of other dogs, so Jess, a lovely little border collie who was in foster with Isa joined them and all are doing well. Both Melba and Jess love life on the Scottish hills!

We also have a little reminder that if you find a stray dog it’s not a case of finders keepers. You need to check for identity and liaise with your Mairie who will tell you which SPA your village adheres to. It’s also well worth checking chien perdu ( http://www.chien-perdu.org/) and Pet Alert 11 on facebook.

Tomorrow being a ‘jour férié’ the SPA is closed but back to business a usual on Tuesday!

Melba and Jess  on Sgurr nan Ceannaichean


Beat the heat!

Its scorching and it’s a struggle keeping the dogs at the SPA cool. All we can do is restrict exercise to mornings when it’s a bit cooler, spray the kennels regularly to keep them cool and ensure that they have plenty cool water. Some dogs love being sprayed with the hose but lots don’t.

So here are some ways to beat the heat and keep your dog as comfy as possible.

Walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening when it is cooler, not during the heat of the day. Keep energetic games of chase to a minimum and always take water on your walks.

If you leave your dog during the day make sure that they have access to a cool shaded area and ensure that you leave extra water.

Give your long haired dog a nice clip to keep them cool.

Be aware that some road surfaces, pavements and sand get very hot and can burn your dog’s pads. Your dog will not be able to tell you.

Don’t ever leave your dog in a car!!

Make sure there are bowls of fresh water readily available.

Make cooling tasty treats by making ice cubes with your dog’s favourite food inside or stuff a Kong and pop it in the freezer.

If you are lucky to have air conditioning, then keep them indoors during the hottest part of the day or place a fan near their bed to help them cool down.

Here is a link to follow so you know the signs of heatstroke in dogs…http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/cardiovascular/c_dg_heat_stroke



Gus..two weeks on

We always follow up on our dogs after adoptions. This is to check that all is well and ensure that any niggly little problems are nipped in the bud.

Gus arrived in the UK two weeks ago. He was one of our ‘long termers’ who had lived in a kennel for two years. We always advise the adopters not to expect too much too soon and to take things slowly which is exactly what Jane is doing.

Here is what Janes has to say after two weeks ;

‘Gus arrived in Yorkshire, after a 3 day journey, cross-crossing France, England and Wales, still his happy waggy self.

He is such a character, affectionate and clever. He watches me intently as I cook every meal, and you can see the cogs whirring as he tries to work out how to get into the bin, the cupboard, fridge, cellar. I wonder if he’s memorised any recipes yet?

He probably hasn’t had much exposure to the world around him, horses, cats, squirrels, birds, rabbits, bin men, street cleaners, and these are all too exciting for the moment for us to do normal walks. Instead, we do loads of play in the back yard, and he gets lots of visitors, including the children from the terrace, who make a point of coming to see him every day. And each day, we walk a few steps outside the house, all the time increasing his boundaries.

He’s only been here two weeks, but he has learnt his name, sit, wait and let’s go.

Darren, in whose name he was sponsored at the SPA, would have adored him, and would probably have been Face Timing him every day!

Thank you to everyone who helped in his rescue, the SPA, For the Love of Dogs and Cats, Jane R, and everyone who sponsored him’.

At the end of this week another dog is off to the uk…watch this space to see who the lucky boy is!

At the SPA 2 dogs arrived, 2 dogs were reclaimed and we had a super reservation.

Gus..relaxing at home!


Woof Woof..

Your love for your own best canine pal, may lead you to look past her constant barking, but your neighbour may not feel the same. Certain dog breeds tend to bark incessantly – sometimes for no reason at all – while other breeds have reputations for being more quiet.

Some living conditions do not lend themselves to a yapping dog, such as living in an apartment where the walls are thin or a house where you are surrounded by neighbours on all sides and incessant barking is enough to drive anyone mad. If however you live in the country without neighbours and you don’t mind your dog barking then that’s fine,no harm done.

So, most dogs bark for a reason and you need to determine what this is. It could be reaction to something they can see or hear, excitement, frustration, boredom or attention seeking.

Once you understand why your dogs bark you  try and remove the stimuli. When I am at home in Scotland my dogs can see people and dogs passing the end of the drive from our lounge window. Phoebe loves a good bark so as soon as she starts I move her away from the window and she stops. But I wouldn’t leave them in that room where I know that she is prone to bark whilst I go out.

If your beloved pooch is already a nuisance barker and your neighbours are not the type to grin and bear it, talk to a dog training expert to determine the reason why it is barking and how you can help her.

Bulldog, greyhounds, bull mastiffs and Salukis are breeds who are not big barkers but it is important to remember that although these dog breeds are not renowned for barking, any dog may become a bothersome barker if it does not get enough attention or is not well trained.


Two lucky girls, but Misery is back!

Today we have had two adoptions..

When one year old Kenzo arrived she was very thin and definitely in need of lots of tlc. Luckily for her Carole and Aude are great retriever lovers so it was no surprise when they offered to foster her. Putting a dog into foster allows us to assess the dog in lots of ways. We can soon tell if they are house-trained, have lived in a house before, are good with other animals and children. If they are underweight we can ensure that they get extra rations and can monitor their weight.  It also means that the foster family can vet any prospective adopters and make sure that the dog goes to a suitable family!

Today after spending a month in foster Kenzo left with her forever family, many thanks to Carole, Aude and Isa too who looked after Kenzo when Carole went on holiday.

Pistache arrived at the refuge at the end of June. We knew that this tiny weeny female terrier cross would not have a long wait and we were right. Today she left with her forever family!

Small, cute, young females are very popular…how I wish that all our dogs were so popular.

Today’s sad news is that Misery is back.  The other dogs just wouldn’t accept her but the adopters assure us that she is fine in the house and well behaved so if nothing else we now know a bit more about her.

We did have three arrivals, two of whom have left with their owners and we have been made aware of an old 12 year old spaniel whose owner has died will be arriving on Monday.

So a lucky day for Pistache and Kenzo but poor Misery’s luck has not yet changed!

Kenzo adopted


Pistache adopted


Misery is back..



How to catch your dog……

Today there was little news from the refuge. Two dogs who arrived yesterday were reclaimed and we had one arrival so I thought we would have a look at how we get our dogs back when all our recall training goes out of the window and the dog is just not behaving!

When you let your dog off its lead, there’s always a chance that your four-legged friend is going to bolt in a flurry of excitement. Smells, other animals and people can all prove too much for a young dog to resist!

With this in mind, it’s always good to have a few tricks up your sleeve for catching the dog when it forgets all its training..even a good dog can have a bad day!

1.Lie down…ok you might look stupid but who cares! Sometimes lying down stimulates prey drive in some dogs and they will come          rushing back to you!

  1. Run in the opposite direction…again, sometimes this is such a shock to your dogs that it races back to catch you. You need to really know your dog though. You could end up even further away from it.
  2. Use a squeaky toy or ball….whatever gets your dogs attention.
  3. Hold up the lead…for some dogs seeing the lead means walkies and sometimes you can trick them into rushing back to get their lead on, forgetting that they are already on a walk.
  4. If you are near the car and he wont come back…try opening the door and stand back. Hopefully he’ll jump in and you can simply close the door.
  5. Treats…for those food oriented dogs..rustle the treat bag and back they come! That works well with my Labs!
  6. Forgotten treats….pretend you have them…rustle anything you have in your pocket. If this catches him reward him with a cuddle instead.

Now they say that you should never chase after your dog as the dog will think it’s a game and the bad behaviour will be reinforced. But, I don’t know anyone who is going to watch their dog disappear over the horizon and not try and catch it. My advice would be to run, run fast and get your dog!

Of course we need to all need to do recall training with our dogs and keep them safe whilst they are learning. If you have any tricks, then please leave a comment…anyone can lose a dog for all sorts of reasons and it would be interesting to know what you do!




Two adoptions and a sad goodbye…

Today the refuge was closed so we will catch up with yesterday’s news.

Yesterday, 14 year old Sasha crossed to rainbow bridge, after spending 7 months with foster mum Evelyne. He arrived at the refuge in December and at 14 years old we just couldn’t put him in a concrete kennel. Luckily for us Evelyne offered him a home under our FALD ( long tern foster) scheme. Sasha has without doubt spent the best months of his life at Evelyne’s, surrounded by love and creature comforts.

Thank you so much to Evelyne, it really takes a special person to foster an oldie knowing that they won’t have them in their lives for too long but wanting to make sure that their last months are spent in comfort and that they feel loved.  Evelyne stayed with Sasha during his last hours at the vets and was with him right until the end. We all know how sad she will be feeling but I hope that as the hurt passes she will feel proud of what she has done for Sasha.

On a happier note we had two adoptions..

Lots of you will remember Misery the 5 year old griffon x who arrived in April in a terrible state, with several large tumours and as thin as a rake. Well after several operations and lots and lots of tlc she was adopted yesterday. This poor girl really has had a life of misery but that is now behind her and she now has the family that she truly deserves. Just goes to show that coming to the SPA really is a life saver for many dogs.

Next to leave was Hermine. This lovely shepherd cross was only with us a couple of weeks. Lucky girls as we have several shepherd crosses who have spent a long time with us!

We also saw the sad return of Klitchko, returned after a month as the family is moving and three more dogs arrived too.!

So a day of both good and sad news…such is the life of dog rescue!

RIP Sasha


Misery adopted


Hermine adopted


 Klitchko is back..


Keep your pets safe on 14th July!

Warning..tomorrow night will be very scary for animals in France!

France commemorates the start of the French Revolution with a national holiday on 14 July. So there will be mass celebrations up and down the country which inevitably involve fireworks!

At the SPA we prepare ourselves as we know that we’ll get a large number of stray animals and lost dog reports on Thursday for animals that got spooked with the fireworks and happened to be outside at the time. Last year on the 15th we had 11 reports of lost dogs and then more during the week as people realised their dogs weren’t going to come home on their own!

As a responsible dog owner, please do everything in your power to protect your dog tomorrow night which will be filled with loud bangs, pops and sizzles!  Remember, your dogs hearing is 10 times more sensitive than yours!

Your best bet is to keep your dog indoors somewhere where he is likely to do the least amount of harm to himself, and your house! You should also turn on the TV or a radio, with the volume turned up loud to make it less likely that he will be able to hear the fireworks outside. Since the flashing lights can scare your dog just as much s the loud noises, be sure to close all the curtains and blinds inside your home and turn ON all the lights in the room. This will make the bright lights from fireworks less noticeable to your dog. Plus, closed curtains and blinds offer a small degree of sound-proofing in your home, lowering the high pitched sounds a tiny bit.

Here are a few precautions you can take way ahead of time to prepare your dog for this stressful night:

Make sure your dog has his collar and ID tags on. In the worst case scenarios, dogs have been known to chew through crates, doors, and even jump out of windows due to their anxiety.

Let your dog outside to toilet before people start setting off their own fireworks. Have him on a leash, even in the garden.

Exercise your dog earlier in the day by taking him on a longer-than-usual walk. This will tire him out and make him less likely to over-exert himself later if/when he becomes stressed from the sound of fireworks and play some music to drown out the fireworks noise!

So please don’t take any risks, no matter how steady you think your dog is. It’s only one night a year and simply not worth the risk…keep all pets inside and safe!

Tonights good news if that recently adopted Asame, who escaped from his new home has been found as is safe and well!

Carcassonne will be a scary place for dogs tomorrow night!



Not any news from the refuge today so I thought that we would have a look at some FAQ’s..

  1. Why does it cost 170 euros to adopt a dog? Well the short answer is that although we are a charity, like any other business we need to viable. For 170 euros your dog will be identified, vaccinated, had kennel cough, wormed, flea treated and of course sterilised. We also have overhead costs which seem to escalate every year. So the 170 euros is a contribution towards these costs.


  1. Can we take a dog on a trial basis? In theory this seems sensible but we no longer offer this. Mainly because adoption should be a lifelong commitment and we like to make sure that we discuss any foreseeable problems before you adopt. We also offer support after adoption and can talk you through most problems.


  1. Can you transport the dog to me? Yes. Logistics have never been a problem!



  1. Does the dog get on with cats? Well that would need a blog to itself but we can ‘cat test’ the dog to rule out that they are out and out cat haters but most dogs are very intimidated going into the cat house and can seem to be scared or ok. We always advise safe and careful introductions to your cat.


  1. Can I bring my dog to see if he gets on with X? Yes…we encourage adopters to do this and will help you do careful introduction and then advise whether we think the dogs are a good match.


By far the most common request is ‘ I want a female dog, not too big and not one that barks or digs or chews. And not one that sheds, or that isn’t house trained. I have grandchildren so must be ok with children and I also have a cat so not a cat chaser’.


We do get dogs that fall into that category but it may take a little while to find the perfect dog so please bear with us and we will find your perfect pooch!