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Author Archives: Moira

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


And they are off……

Very early this morning, 3am to be precise, I crept into the refuge to hand over the first two of this week’s travelers to Home to Home doggy transporters!

The two very lucky doggies were Pocahontas and Sunay who are off to Animal Trust in Belgium . This is not the first time that we have worked with Animal Trust. Lots of our dogs have gone there and just as I visit the UK associations, Darcey has often visited Animal Trust. We know the owner Eline very well and trust her to find super families for our dogs. Their volunteer Sarah is a regular visitor at the Spa Carcassonne whilst she holidays in the area and she too will be eagerly awaiting their arrival.

Pocahontas arrived at the refuge in June 2013 having clearly just had puppies. Goodness knows what their fate was but Pocahonats was a scared, nervous girl. Slowly but surely she gained confidence and I really have no idea why she has waited so long without being adopted. I was delighted when Animal Trust chose her as they have lots more time to work with her as well as really super kennels and exercise fields to play in whilst she waits for her forever hone.

When Sunay arrived in February 2014 we were delighted that he was identified but horrors of horrors the details weren’t up to date on the database! Poor Sunay has had a very long wait! I am sure that this lovely, gentle, tricoloured shepherd cross will be very popular in Belgium and really hope that he doesn’t have long until his forever family appear!

Preparation for their trip began weeks ago when they were microchipped and had their rabies vaccination for their passport. Next was the submission of their TRACES applications to the DSV. Their health check up on Monday, preceded another visit to the DSV to pick up paperwork…phew…then they were good to leave at last!

When dogs travel by TRACES they must travel by a DEFRA type 2 licenced transporter and as most begin their journey in southern Spain, thus the 3am pick up! These transporters do regular journeys transporting 100’s of dogs to new homes in many other European countries. All are strictly regulated and their journey times and stops recorded. The icing on the cake is the fact that they have a trackers so we can see where our doggies are at any given time and how many stops they have had. This ensures that our travelers arrive at their destination in tip top condition and raring to go!

Time will tell who will be adopted first but Animal Trust will keep us updated of their arrival and let us know how they settle down.








Why we send dogs to other associations…

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned that this week you would hear about lots of dogs leaving for different associations. Many people ask why we bother to send your dogs a long distance, why not just wait until they are adopted here?

Well there are many reasons for this. The first and most important is that the associations which we work with offer the individual dogs a very bright future. If we didn’t move our dogs we wouldn’t have the room to help others who really need our help and adoptions to other European countries has gone a long way towards helping ensure that we can do that! A third of all dogs adopted go to non French residents……so that’s a lot of dogs per year!

Before using an association we enter into negotiations, initially by email or by phone but as the UK rescue world is very small we also do our own research and ask others for their opinions and recommendations. This means that we know that the associations have similar policies to ours and that our dogs are in very safe hands.  Saying that, nothing is better than meeting the staff first hand and seeing the facilities for yourself and thus is the purpose of my visits.

I have personally visited and spent time at each of the associations we work with, I look at everything from the welcome you receive when walking through the door, the facilities for the dogs, the staff and volunteers and most of all their adoption procedure and aftercare programs. And I am fussy…if I have any doubts whatsoever…we don’t send our dogs.

This means that when our dogs leave I know where they are going, what they are going to, what care they will receive both before and after adoption.

Like us, if the adoption goes wrong the dog would go back into their care. In the UK this hasn’t happened as yet. If it did and for any reason a rescue couldn’t care for one of our dogs it would come back to us.

When we hand our dogs over to an association we do so with trust and knowledge.

This week and especially today the ‘vet run’ was very busy with dogs going to the vet for worming and health checks. This is a lot of extra work for the SPA staff who are already pushed time wise,so a special thank you to them!

Tomorrow you will hear about the first two to leave….dont miss it!

All of our travelers leave under TRACES and have European Pet Passports!


Amber and JW Adopted!

Amber arrived at the refuge mid August with two gentlemen who claimed to have found her. We suspected that they were her family and for some reason couldn’t keep her but it didn’t really matter as she was such a darling of a dog that we knew that she would soon be adopted.

She settled quickly into kennel life and proved to be a very easy sweet natured girl who got on with everyone. Once she has settled, off she went to the vets to be identified and sterilised so that when the perfect family arrived she would be ready to leave.

Today, that’s just what happened. A couple who saw Ambers details on the Les Amis d’Animaux group had lost their old doggy a few months ago were desperate to have a dog in the household again. Their remit was female, not too old and medium sized so Amber ticked all of these boxes. The wanted a medium sized dog as they travel a lot with their motor home and wanted their new family member to be able to join them on their travels!

After speaking to me yesterday morning they left in their motor home for the long drive over to Carcassonne to meet her. They were very keen and very sure that Amber was the doggy for them so I knew they would be delighted when they met this young lady and after very successful introductions off she went with them today in their camper van….be happy Amber…you have really fallen on all four paws!

John Wayne or JW was also adopted. This 6 year old cutie arrived at the refuge less than two weeks ago after being found in the woods. Some dogs just have all the luck and he was one of them. He was very lucky to have such a short wait!

Its funny how some adopters will move heaven and earth to come and get the dog of their dreams whist for others an hour in the car seems too much to anticipate. We do realise that everyone’s circumstances are different and if you genuinely want a specific dog then just ask us for help. We can get dogs anywhere in France and throughout Europe too.

Many thanks to everyone who shares our details in their various groups, Ambers story just shows how much social media does help in rehoming our dogs!

Don’t forget to follow this weeks blog. I wont be doggy walking this week but will be very busy preparing a LOT of doggies for travel!



JW adopted!



Puppy Mill Awareness Day…

Today is national puppy mill awareness day and we would like everyone to be aware of the terrible life that lots of breeding dogs have, the greed of many commercial breeders and the problems you may incur should you buy a pup from them.

Puppy mills are inhumane commercial puppy-breeding facilities that value profits over the health or well-being of the dogs used as breeding stock.  They sell their “product” to pet stores, on-line, in classified ads and at dog shows..

Commercial puppy-breeding is a multi-billion dollar industry.  And it’s an ugly one.  People we talk to are always surprised to learn that it exists and that it is legal.  But the fact is, dogs are considered “livestock” and are regulated by the Department of Agriculture whose law allows a level of care that most people would not consider humane.

These puppy-breeders take advantage of this to maximize their profit at the expense of the welfare of the dogs, inhumanely confined and bred continuously until their feeble bodies give out.  They hide the truth from the public by selling their puppies to unsuspecting consumers through pet stores, websites and classified ads, refusing to reveal where or how the puppy was born and raised.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of adult dogs, used as breeding stock, are suffering on the “production lines” in puppy mills. They are treated like products, not living beings, and their health and welfare are disregarded to maintain a low overhead and maximize profit.  Mills range in size, some have a few breeding dogs and others have hundreds of breeding dogs packed into deplorable spaces.

It’s legal to confine adult breeding dogs to small, wire-bottomed cages, only 6 inches longer than the dog on all sides, often stacked on top of other cages, for life.  They live in overcrowded, squalid conditions, neglected, starved and left sick and injured without medical care or relief from overwhelming pain.  Most females are bred as frequently as possible, with no recovery time in between litters, and when they are no longer able to “produce” they are discarded like garbage.


Most people don’t want to believe it, but that cute puppy in the pet store may have come from a puppy mill and the mother is still there, suffering endlessly, forced to breed yet another litter.

Adopting from a rescue says a firm NO to this trade and if they don’t have the ‘customers’ they can’t continue to trade. If you buy from a pet store, online market place or advertisement in the newspaper you could be condemning a female to yet another litter and the fee you pay enables the ‘breeder’ to continue….ADOPT DON’T SHOP!




Adopt..dont shop!



Jedai adopted after a year at the refuge…

Yesterday we had an adoption which really cheered everyone up. Jedai was one of the dogs I spoke about in last night’s blog who was scared and bewildered when he arrived and hid at the back of his kennel. A young timid griffon cross who probably hadn’t been socialised and had been left to his own devices.

We are used to this and we know to go slowly gently and to build up the dogs trust. Little by little he gained confidence and he became a real favourite with the volunteers. Like lots of intelligent dogs, as he gained confidence he became bored and started to chew his paws.  We hate when dogs ‘self harm’ so we tried our best to make sure that he got his fair share of being in the park and walks.

Jedai was top of the list on the scorching hot days when we took dogs out of their kennels into the shade just for cuddles and to teach a few basics manners like sit and down. We did anything we could to stop him becoming bored and to increase his chances of adoption.

So yesterday, almost a year after he arrived he was adopted by a super family who are over the moon to have found him. His life now will be very different from before the refuge and we were really just a stepping stone towards his future.

A year ago, just as Jedai arrived, Karadoc, a lovely little pointer cross pup was adopted. Today we received an update of how he is doing along with some super photos. He has become a really handsome boy who is really loved and doing well in his forever family.

We have had two arrivals Kalanji, a fox terrier cross and Lilypuce a tiny female beagle. Hopefully their owners will be looking for them…..only time will tell!

Jedai adopted!



Karadoc..adopted a year ago


Kalenji arrived..



Lilypuce arrived..


Making life a little better…

When in homes, most dogs are able to enjoy cuddling, playing, sniffing, eating treats, going for walks, visiting with people and dogs, and learning new things. Although all rescues must provide dogs with food, water, and shelter, it is also important to provide them with social interaction, mental stimulation, and the exercise that they need. The best types of enrichment, for most rescue dogs, involve interaction with people or other dogs.

So what can we provide for them:

  • Playing with other dog
  • Playing with people
  • Hanging out with people

As all of our dogs have varying levels of sociability to other dogs they need to be given interaction opportunities that work for them. While some dogs thrive in groups, others do better on 1:1 walks or walks with a familiar canine buddy. Not only is this good enrichment, it’s important for their social skills and it makes them easier to adopt.

We have a fantastic team of volunteers who come in to walk and play with the dogs but I wonder how we could make life better for them? I would like to have some basic agility equipment which would engage both the dogs and the volunteers and I would also love to hear from anyone who could do some doggy massage, especially T – Touch.

Often the SPA is the first place an animal hears a kind word or gets the medical care they need. It can be a place to recover from abuse or find a forever home, to learn to trust or learn social skills that will help them get adopted. I have seen so many dogs come into the SPA as miserable, broken shells and prance out the door, shiny and healthy and full of life, ready to take on the world with their adopters.

We are always looking at how we can make our dogs lives better..if you have any thoughts then please get in touch!

Any T -Touch practitioners who would like to help?


Lucie leaves…

Lucie’s story began when we were contacted by one of our supporters to say that her friend had found a dog and her pup straying in a local village and was very worried about them.  We advised her to make sure that the dogs were safe and to contact her Mairie, which they did. The next day the Maire brought Lucie and her pup Lucian to the SPA.

Lucie was a good mum to her pup but there comes a fine when its time for them to flee the nest and yesterday Lucian left with his forever family.  This was wonderful timing as last night Lucie’s new adopter flew into Toulouse then travelled to Carcassonne to meet Lucie today.  Introductions went well and as luck would have it a new volunteer arrived just in time to spruce Lucie up. Many thanks to Angelique who spent a long time grooming Lucie..what a difference!

Social media is a wonderful tool and it was through our Dog Rescue Carcassonne page that Lucie’s new mum first saw her. She had intended to adopt a fox terrier from another refuge in France but when that wasn’t possible she decided to offer Lucie a home. Just as all our UK dogs need to be identified, have a rabies vaccination and be wormed, Lucie did too and today she left with her new mum and new pet passport.

Lucky Lucie will spend a few days in Carcassonne getting to know her new mum and then will be flying back to her new life in Finland! What an amazing adventure for a dog who was ‘just a stray’ a couple of months ago.

Enjoy your new life Lucie…you deserve it!

We have two more arrivals. Both are female fauves and one is identified. I really hope that we can trace their owners as the mum is 14 years old!

The SPA is primarily a dog and cat rescue but occasionally we help other animals to find families. Today saw the arrival of yet another goat. Thats two we have now……if anyone wants one, get on touch!

Lucie..what a beautiful girl!



One of our arrivals..


And the other..


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!