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Author Archives: Moira

Bye bye Fred and two reservations!

Day two of our open weekend and it was an early start for two of our volunteers!

When Fred ( ex Pepe) was found by the roadside, little did he know how much his life was going to change.

Without doubt this boy has had a hard life. Granted he is a bid breed Labrador cross but at only 10 years old he has cataracts, bad arthritis and had been left at the side of the road to die. What luck that he was spotted by Debbie’s friend who knew just who to call! He was of course covered in ticks and fleas, dehydrated and confused but nonetheless Debbie popped him into her car, kept him safe overnight and brought him to us the next day!

When Debbie told the story to Leanne who runs Twilight, a retirement home for older doggies, Leanne suggested that after his 10 day ‘pound’ time that he came to live out the rest of his life with their pack of about 30 elderly dogs. All of the dogs at Twilight live in the house with Leanne and Mike and have a wonderful life with good food, plenty of garden time, great vet care and of course lots of tlc! What a lucky boy, no concrete kennel for him!

So early this morning, he was picked up by volunteers Debbie and Julie and off he went. Once he has settled in I am sure that we will have lots of news of how he is doing. Thanks so much to the lady who spotted him in distress and called Debbie, to Debbie who helped this lovely boy and to Julie who helped with the transport.

Many, many thanks to Twilight. It’s not the first time that they have helped us out by taking an older doggie, we are very grateful!

Have a look for yourself at how wonderful a place Twilight is! (http://www.twilightchiens.com/)

The refuge was very busy this afternoon and we have two super reservations. Thanks to all of the volunteers and visitors who came along!

We would also like to say happy birthday to Benson who is six years old today and who was adopted by our volunteers Rebecca and James. He’s a lively little fellow who is loving life in the UK. He spends his days walking on the beaches or playing with his friends at doggy day care.

Fred who is now at Twilight!



Happy birthday Benson!


Vaccinations and immunity…

One question that we are often asked is ‘are the dogs vaccinations up todate’?

When you adopt a dog from the SPA, unless we tell you otherwise, it will have had its 1st and 2nd ‘CHPPi’ or combination vaccinations as well as its its kennel cough.

So what is in the shot? It’s a combination shot against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and para influenza.

To protect your pet from contagious diseases, you need to keep his essential vaccinations up-to-date by means of an annual booster and the date that this is due can be found on their health card or information sheet which we give you on adoption.

Most boarding kennels and some club canines do insist on the vaccinations being up to date otherwise you can elect to vaccinate or not. As vaccinations have become safer and better customized to each individual dog, it is becoming more common for vets to recommend less frequent vaccinations that are tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

This is a very controversial subject and doesn’t mean just ignoring the vaccine date but means liaising with your vet who can do a blood test to see whether you dog has immunity or not against these diseases.

Personally I choose to vaccinate annually as I am around all sorts of risks at the refuge and wouldn’t forgive myself if I infected my dogs. I have seen some of the nasties so would never leave my dogs unprotected. However,if I wasn’t a volunteer I wouldn’t vaccinate unless necessary but would have the blood test to check immunity levels.

So if you want your dog to have protection against these diseases, vaccinate annually or when they need it. No one, not even your vet can guess how long immunity lasts in each dog so use science to your advantage…a simple blood test is all that it takes.






Three super adoptions….

Despite the intense heat, adopters were still out and about today! Three very lucky dogs were adopted and one was reclaimed by his owners.

First to leave was Kenzo, a beautiful young golden retriever who was abandoned at the refuge when he had just turned 1. He was extremely thin so he went to foster where he proved to be a great family pet. He was fine with cats, children and other dogs, so was quickly adopted. Despite a home visit, the family turned out to be far from ideal, and in fact about a month later they were unable to keep him for financial reasons and an upcoming divorce. Kenzo went back into foster and today left with his forever family who will really appreciate this lovely young chap! Thank you to Aude and Carole for fostering this lovely chap and for giving him the love and care that he really needed.

Next to leave was Carl, a stunning German Shepherd who was admired by everyone that met him. He arrived having been found at the end of May and has now just turned 1 year old. For a young male shepherd, he is a dream, no jumping up, no pulling on the lead and he’s ok with cat’s! He was spotted on the facebook page by a super family who travelled over from Pau to meet him,so off he went to an experienced home where he will have the company of other dogs too!

Next to leave was Matahari, the really cute spaniel cross pup who was in foster with Estelle. This lovely girl was found straying and taken to a local vet who contacted us. Luckily for Matahari, Estelle stepped in as a foster mum and she didn’t have to endure refuge life. When a pup goes into foster we really get to know all about them and she proved to be a delightful little girl who was clean in the house and very sociable. Many thanks to Estelle for opening her heart and home to this little pup!

The fourth dog to leave was Dreyfus ( ex Omega) ‘s double. Luckily for him his owners were looking for him and he didn’t have too long a wait in kennels.

So four less dogs tonight for the SPA but two foster families who will be feeling delighted that their doggies have found their forever families but sad too, as its impossible not to fall in love with such super dogs!

Kenzo adopted..


Carl adopted..


Matahari adoped


Drefus went home..











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!