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Author Archives: Moira

Ouch….the 5 second rule!

Today was scorching at the refuge, too hot to walk dogs! We did have two arrivals which we will catch up with tomorrow.

Yesterday we posted hints and tips on ow to keep your dog cool in summer on our pinterest page https://uk.pinterest.com/DRCSPA/keeping-your-dog-cool/

Tonight we want to remind you how quickly the pavement can heat up!






Our dogs still want their daily walk, even during the very hot summer months, but we must consider the temperature of the ground.

Although it may not feel too hot for a walk, always take into consideration the temperature of the surface your dog will walk on. Asphalt temperature and the outdoor temperature are two very different things. When the outside air temperature is 77 degrees, the asphalt can be 125 degrees.

If you can fry an egg at 131 degrees, just imagine how your dog’s feet will feel.


  • Test the asphalt by holding the back of your hand against it for 5 seconds
  • Take walks in the early mornings or late evenings
  • Walk on the grass
  • And, wash and check your dog’s paws regularly.


The pads on dog’s paws are no thicker than our feet, so if the pavement feels hot to your bare feet, then it’s just as hot for your dog!




What to do in the event of a dog attack!

Tonights guest blog is from Shirley, a volunteer and dog trainer…

Something that strikes fear in the heart of any dog owner is a dog fight. Even worse is the possibility of being involved in a dog attack, be that on themselves, another person or their dog.

The second scenario is exactly what happened to me and my small dog recently whilst out walking not far from my house.  As a dog trainer I have no fear of dogs and should know what to do in these circumstances, you will not be surprised to know however that common sense flies out the window, protective instinct takes over and the result was that I was also bitten.

In my particular case my dog was brutally and savagely attacked without warning or provocation but the rules governing what to do afterwards are the same regardless of the circumstances leading up to it. The purpose of this blog therefore is to clarify the procedures to be followed should you ever be unlucky enough to find yourself in this position and so that once the situation is under control you will know the correct steps to take.

What to do

Firstly stop the aggression by whatever means you have to hand without putting yourself at risk and secure the area, assess the situation and attend to injured parties.  If a person has been injured and needs medical assistance, call the SAMU (15)/SAPEURS POMPIERS (18) and also the POLICE (17)if deemed necessary, or use the all services Europe wide number 112 to get appropriate assistance.  If an animal is injured and needs urgent attention then if possible call a local vet.  Vets will not normally come to the scene of an accident but at least you can get advice and warn them of your arrival at the clinic.

You will be worried about the person or dog who has been injured and anxious to get to help but do not leave the scene without  getting details from the attacking dog’s owner (if present), full name, address and telephone number, if possible check their identification.  If they have a mobile phone ask them to call you so you are certain you have been given the correct number.  If there were witnesses take their names and phone numbers too. Take photos!

All of this of course relies on you having a mobile phone with you, I must confess that not being far from home I did not.  I NEVER go out without one now though!!

The injured party/ies have been taken care of.  Now what? 

As soon as possible and within at least 5 days of the incident you should advise your insurers of the attack and write a declaration of the circumstances, accompanied by the details of the dog’s owner and any witnesses etc.  This is so that you can make a claim on their ‘Assurance de Responsabilité Civile’, or Public Liability Insurance, for any medical or veterinary expenses incurred.  Be as clear and concise as possible but stick to the facts.  The dog’s owner also needs to make a declaration to their insurer giving their point of view. If it is clear cut and you can agree on a joint statement this will speed things up enormously.

Assurance de Responsabilité Civile- what you need to do if you have animals

Under your house insurance in France – Assurance Habitation- you are covered, at no extra charge, under the personal liability clause for damage done by pets, in this instance dogs, providing you can prove due care was taken.  If you own a dog therefore you must tell your insurance company otherwise you risk invalidating any claim.

 Who is responsible?

French law states that the person at the end of the lead is responsible for the dog. In simple terms this means that if you look after someone’s dog you could be liable for any damage, accidents, bites etc.  My insurer informs me that just for a simple walk there would be no transfer of responsibility, but for longer periods of care a letter from the owner stating the dog was in your care between certain dates would be necessary to avoid being liable. Do however check with your own insurance company.

 What does French law state regarding dog bites?

Any dog that has bitten a human must be evaluated by a vet.  Three visits are necessary, the first within 24 hours of the bite a second visit after 7 days and a third at 15 days.  After 15 days the vet will (assuming no risk) issue a certificate in triplicate declaring the animal free from rabies.  The copies are destined for the owner, the person who was bitten and the insurance company.

Since 2008 all dog bites whether towards a human or an animal should be declared, by the owner or person looking after the dog, at their local Mairie.  The dog may then be subjected to an evaluation by a vet behaviourist who will determine the level of risk and a certificate issued.  In extreme cases the dog may be euthanised.

Shirley Reddell

Educatrice Canine








Spreading the word..

A few weeks ago Dog Rescue Carcassonne was contacted by Brigitte Hogben, an English teacher at College Antoine Pons in Chalabre, who asked us along to speak about the SPA Carcassonne and rescue animals.

This is a subject close to her heart as she herself adopted Virgule from the SPA Carcassonne, one of our poorly cats who had part of its ears removed due to cancer. She also has 10 rescue dogs and numerous donkeys!

I have to admit my heart skipped a beat when she said it was the 4eme ( 13-14 year olds). How on earth was I going to keep their attention for an hour and would they understand my Scottish accent?

I sometimes help Wanda from ‘vivre a plein temps’ with school visits on safety around dogs but this was to be very different. This was to be about being a volunteer at the SPA, rescuing dogs and being a responsible dog owner and in English that 14 year olds could understand!

So I prepared a couple of presentations with simple bullet points which kept me on track and served as a visual aide for the pupils. We also had a Dog Word Search and some questions and answers with prizes. The children told me about their dogs and cats and chose their favorite dog from the SPA board and said why they liked it.

The class had certainly done their homework before I arrived. They had produced brochures in English for SPA visitors, had learnt the necessary vocabulary and were very proud of their work. Even although it was it big class the children were well behaved, attentive and very interested. Thank you boys and girls..you made my job very easy!

The hour whizzed by and at the end the children presented me with food for the animals at the SPA. Not only that, one young lady asked if she could come along and visit with her parents!

So thank you very much to Brigitte and the headmaster of College Antoine Pons for their enthusiasm about animal rescue and responsible pet ownership.

Children are our pet owners of the future and so its our job to teach them well!

School talk

Well done for such super brochures!


Thank you from the animals at the SPA Carcassonne..

photo (1)

Klitchko adopted!

Today was day 2 at the Petite Pepiniere as well as open day at the SPA and at least the sun shone for both events!  At the SPA we had one adoption and two arrivals.

Lets start with the positive! Todays lucky boy was seven month old Klitchko who has only been with us since the end of April. He was such a cute boy we knew he wouldn’t have a long wait but like with all pups the new family will have to be prepared for lively puppy behaviour and of course housetraining!

In Friday’s blog I talked about teenagers, especially males who often find themselves in rescue. Well today we saw the sad return of Centaurus one of the Stars litter who was adopted last September. He was one of three pups, Andromeda and Gemini his litter mates were also adopted and we hope are doing well in their new homes!

As yet I don’t know why Centaurus is back but if you find yourself struggling with your dogs behaviour please just contact us. We don’t have a magic wand but we can talk you through most problems.

The other arrival was a female pup who we will have more information on soon.

Jane will tell us all about the weekends events in Caunes Minervois in a guest blog tomorrow but from what I hear it was a very successful event. Thank you to Jane and all of the helpers…I hope that by now they are home enjoying a glass of wine!

Klitchko adopted!


Centaurus adopted as a pup…


Todays arrival..






New arrivals…

This morning I added some new arrivals and what struck me right away was the fact that they were all young males. Why oh why do so many youngsters arrive in rescue? Is it mostly because people no longer have the time of patience to work through the adolescent years?

This is such a real shame. If you are consistent, patient and forgiving this stage soon passes and following on from yesterday’s post …when you take on a pup you take on a lifetime commitment!

So what do you do when your youngsters behaviour is getting you down? First of all take a deep breath and look at your daily management of your dog, Write it down.

Are you up and out with the dog so he can burn off some energy? If not, bored dogs soon learn to amuse themselves.  What about mental stimulation…young dogs need fun and games where they can use their brains. Is he taking off when you let him off leash, go back to basics with recall and use a long line whilst you practice. Is he barking like a loony as people pass the garden, supervise garden time, keep him close and distract him from passer byes.

Be kind and forgiving but firm with your dog during this phase, just as you would a teenager and you will soon have a super well behaved dog.

Today was day 1 at La Petite Pépinère in Caunes Minervois. Row Henson, author of Travels with Mac and Row was there with all proceeds from sales being donated to the SPA! Don’t forget that Roe and Jane will be there tomorrow so please feel free to pop along and say hello. We will hear from Jane how it all went once she has had a chance to take a breath. I am sure that she is exhausted in this heat…. many thanks to Jane and helpers who we will catch up with tomorrow.

Don’t forget that tomorrow is also our open day at the SPA. You can pop along anytime from 2-6pm, say hello and visit our dogs and cats!

Samuel..young and male


Sutech…young and male


Tom Puce..yep..young and male


Puppy considerations..

Today we posted photos of three more puppies available for adoption. Before adopting a puppy there are some prime considerations.

Do you really want a puppy?

Puppies are super adorable, but they are also little devils who pee, poo and chew. If you don’t have the time or energy to deal with housetraining or the natural hyperness of puppies, consider getting an adult dog. We have  lots of lovely adult dogs that are looking for loving homes. Getting a ‘grown-up puppy’ can allow you to skip some of the hardest baby stages, while still having an awesome, devoted dog.

Do you have time for a puppy?

Puppies need a lot of attention, and—if you want house training to work—they need to be taken out regularly. If you work in an office for eight or nine hours a day, consider what you are going to do with your pup when you’re gone. Will you be able to come home at lunch to take your dog for a short walk? If not, can you afford a dog walker or have a friend pop by? Its not practical to leave a pup home alone for ours on end.

Is your home puppy proofable?

If you like your home to be pristine and spotless, a pup is not for you. Especially in the first year, your puppy will try to chew on everything she can get her mouth on (including furniture, books, and electrical cords), and she’ll manage to go to the bathroom in in extremely inconvenient places. Be sure that that’s something you can handle.

Are you physically able for a pup?

Most dogs, especially when they’re young, need to be walked—a lot—for a number of reasons: Walking helps them burn energy and stay healthy, it gives them lots of time to train on the leash, and it gives them vital exposure to other people, other pets, weird smells and sights, and unexpected noises. They also need training. Are you willing and able to spend a lot of time walking/training a pup?

Is everyone in the family onboard?

If you have a hubby or significant other, you need to make sure that they are happy to have a puppy in your  home, and that they are willing to contribute to pet care—because, inevitably, they will be called upon to help out with your dog. House training (and dog training in general) requires really consistent routines and rules, and it will only work if everyone in your household is on board.

A pup is a lifetime commitment, not to be taken lightly…if you are ready then keep an eye on our facebook page, we always have very cute pups looking for forever homes!

Malice needs a home


Mascotte need one too..


As does Monoi..




A sunny day at last..


Today was very hot walking the dogs and at the moment we have far too many oldies at the SPA! The heat of summer is going to be particularly hard for them so it would be great to see them out of the refuge and into a home before then!

As with its human counterpart, advances have been made so our pets can live longer, healthier lives.  Are you noticing more services and products geared at the senior pet? Supplements, additives in pet foods, mobility products, age-specific diets, safety devices, and the list goes on.

At the SPA when we have so many cute puppies and youngsters available many of our older dogs are being ignored. This is heart breaking to see as there are so many advantages in having an older pet.

When you adopt an older dog there are much fewer surprises. You can see their temperament, what size they will grow to, how much exercise they will need so you can assess how they will fit into your lifestyle with much greater certainty! An older dog won’t need so much exercise but will still want to play and will happily settle down beside you whilst you watch tv or check your emails. Puppies also tend to chew and destroy things whereas older pets have already learnt what ‘NO’ means and tend to leave the furniture, carpet and shoes alone!  Whats more it only cost 80 euros to adopt a dog over 9 years old, even if they are sterilized!

All that our SPA oldies really want is a bed to call their own and your company. They certainly tend to settle in quickly, calmly and seem to know that outside is for toileting and inside is for relaxing and you can’t say that about most puppies! When you adopt one of our oldies you will certainly have a best friend for life who will repay you with unwavering devotion and you can’t ask for more than that! Almost without exception, people who adopt older animals feel a special sense of pride and purpose in opening their heart to a hard-to-place pet. Doing a good thing really does make you feel good so go on; give that older dog the best years of its life!







A date for your diary, DNA test results and an adoption..

For any of you looking for something to do this weekend DRC will have a stand at La Petite Pepiniere open weekend on 4th and 5th June in Caunes Minervois. Not only that but the author of the book Travels with Mac and Row, Row Henson will be there and all proceeds from sales will be donated to the SPA!

Our stand will be ‘manned’ by Jane and her friend who will be selling books and DRC bags along with a selection of doggy stuff.

Do pop in and say hello, have a look at our display board of doggies looking for homes and buy some goodies too!

This morning I had a message from volunteer Maisie who adopted Bambi from us about 10 months ago. We were sure that she was a little Labrador cross but Maisie was curious so ordered a DNA test. What a surprise, according to the results she is in fact a Rottweiler x Brittany/treeing walker coonhound mix!  Not that her breed matter at all to Maisie but knowing what breeds make up your dog can sometimes help with training and understanding behaviour.

Todays adoption is one that we are all really happy to see! At last puppy Printemps had found a family! Its very unusual for a pup to be with us so long..especially such a cute one! At last his life can begin and he can learn what family life is all about!

Printemps adopted at last!



At La Petite Pepiniere this weekend..


Bambi..Rottweiler x Brittany/treeing walker coonhound mix????



Adoption of Youkie

Today we have had it all. Grey skies, wind, sun and torrential rain. So does the weather effect your dog’s behaviour?

Certainly thunder effects my dog Phoebe. She does get restless before a thunder storm and lies in her safe place long before we hear the thunder.

Some dogs hate the rain. Dogs often hesitate before going out in the rain. It’s not because they’re afraid of getting wet, but because the rain amplifies sound and hurts their sensitive ears.

On a windy day my dogs are crazy in the woods. As their noses are so sensitive to scents being blown around they become overexcited following their noses. This works fine for me as it really tires them out!

The heat really effects some dogs, especially the pups, oldies, fatties or the poorly ones! So during the heat of summer be cautious exercising your dog. Early morning walks in shaded areas are best and don’t forget that pavements really heat up too.

Summer is very hard for our dogs in kennels. The concrete really heats up and all we can do is keep them cool by hosing it down as often as possible.

One dog who wont have to worry about the heat in the kennels is Youkie. This two year old arrived at the SPA in March and for a young male he didnt have too long to wait! Today he left with his new family ..be happy Youkie!

We also had 4 arrivals, 2 of whom were reclaimed, so all in all,numbers are up by one tonight!







Holiday care – part 3 & 4

Part 3 – Ask a Neighbour, Friend or Family Member

This is usually the cheapest option, and is especially good if your pet is familiar with their sitter. The pet will be really relaxed and will probably really enjoy themselves! If your friend lives around the corner and had the time to look after the dog then this might work very well.

If however you are going away for more than a few days its quite a commitment you are asking. If you leave your dog with a family member or a friend, make sure they know the requirements. If your dog is used to a one-hour walk every morning, they will not be fulfilled by a 15-minute walk instead.

Keep to their daily routine and your pet will probably never notice you have gone!

Part 4 – Take them with you!

Now for some of us this would be the perfect scenario. At the moment I holiday in places that I can take the dogs along to but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. For further away destination’s it may not be practical to take the dogs. Sometimes you have to leave them and have to choose house-sitter, kennel or friend. Whatever you choose remember that its ok to have a pet free holiday and just think about the welcome you will get when you return!

At the SPA we had a quiet Monday, one dog arrived and we will catch up with photos tomorrow!

holiday dog