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Author Archives: Moira

Our pet peeves…

This evening we have a fundraiser and as we all need to get ready and prepare food it’s an early blog tonight.

I thought that I would mention what annoys us about some animal owners, try and explain why, and then catch up with refuge news tomorrow!

I suppose what angers me the most is people who don’t pick up after their dog. Not only is it unsightly but toxocariasis from dog poo can cause partial blindness in children, and I am sure no one would want to be responsible for that! Not much better are the owners who allow their male dogs to lift their legs on your house walls. Boys will be boys and all that, but please take them to a suitable area to toilet!

Then there are owners who don’t sterilise their pets and let them wander, There are 120 dogs at the refuge and 200 cats…enough said!

Not everyone has or needs an enclosed garden. But if you want a young dog and don’t enclose you garden, supervise your pet….if it wanders it will be a nuisance to others and will be knocked down.

When your dog is microchipped the details of your name, address and contact number are held on a database. If you move please remember to have these contacts changed. We spend a lot of time trying to reunite owners and sometimes we just can’t. Don’t take the risk, keep your details up to date.

Extending leads have their place and can be great, but we have all seen people with dogs at the end of the leash on the pavement near traffic. When using the leash like this you have no directional control, so if your dog takes off into the middle of the road he is not only risking his life but risks causing an accident too!

So come on, tell us what really annoys you about other pet owners, we might all learn something from these posts!

There is no such thing as the poo fairy…








Fridays 5 arrivals…

Todays mood at the refuge is as grey as the sky as I am writing this blog.  Today we had a mum and two young pups arrive quickly followed by two more pups!  So five arrivals and no departures.

Like all arrivals the dogs will have a vet check, have any necessary treatment and will have their first vaccination provided that they are old enough. The two younger pups have gone straight into a foster home which is great as the refuge is not the ideal environment for a pup.

Puppies are usually adopted quite quickly and for anyone considering adopting one we like to point out that this is a lifetime commitment.  Once the decision is made and the pup reserved, the real work begins!

With pups, preparation is everything. First of all make sure that the breed of pup that you choose is compatible with your lifestyle .Research the breed of pup you are interested in and if it’s a cross, look at both or indeed all of the breeds. A lead, collar, bowls, bed, toys and of course food are essential items you will need before your pup comes home. Before you get the pup home you also need to prepare the house and garden.

In the house, pick up everything that you don’t want the pup to touch. Pups, like toddlers, explore the world with their mouths and will most certainly pick up whatever they can. Make sure that you do have a stock of suitable things that the pup can chew such as kongs, toys etc and encourage them to use them. If the pup does pick up something that it shouldn’t then simply swap it for one of its own toys and make sure you put that item well out of reach!

Carefully think about what areas you want the pups to have access to. If you don’t want the pup upstairs, use a stair gate. Its likely that you will have to house train your pup so please ask us for our house training guide should you require it.

If you are going to use a crate, and we really recommend that you do, then make sure it’s a safe one and  of a suitable size. Dogs very quickly learn that their crate is a safe, comfy place where they can relax and chill out.

Existing family dogs can be very stressed by the arrival of a pup. Its normal that the pup will want to play but slow introductions are recommended and its up to you to protect the family dog from the pup. If you allow the pup unrestricted access, or to bully to the existing dog and don’t supervise it then you will either end up with a bitten pup or a pup who has no doggy manners whatsoever!

Outside, make sure your fences and gates are puppy proof. If you don’t want yellow patches on all of your lawn then screen off an area where the pup can toilet. Lift anything dangerous that the pup could eat and be prepared to supervise the pup in the garden at all times!

As soon as the pup is vaccinated, get it out and about. Early socialisation is crucial and the more positive interactions that your pup can have with people and other animals the better.

We really recommend doggy classes for all of our dogs, especially pups but please ensure that the trainer uses positive reinforcement, any choke chains, alpha rolling or anything like that then run fast in the other direction ( that’s just my opinion though!) This is your opportunity to shape the behaviour of the dog who will be part of your life for the next 15 years so its well worth making the effort to get it right.

So pups are great fun and lots of work. Is it worth it? Gosh yes, the bond you develop when caring for and training a pup is unbreakable, You have the opportunity to mould the pup into the dog that you want to be part of your life. What a privilege that is…

Puppy one…


Puppy two…







Fun in the sun and two adoptions!

When Will arrived at the SPA we all know that he wouldn’t have a long wait. This very cute Labrador cross pup went right into foster with Val and family and settled in well with her dogs. When pups are in foster we share their details on social media, we tell family and friends about them and this usually sparks some interest. Its very difficult for a foster mum to think about ‘their’ pup living with another family so we do allow them to select the family that their pup is adopted into. This way they are having a big input into the pups future and rightly so after weeks of loving and caring for the pup.

Before a pup is adopted, potential adopters must visit the pup in foster and then a pre-visit is done.This is to give the foster mum confidence that the pup is going to a safe and suitable environment. Visits were made, papers were signed and today puppy Will left with his forever family and I am sure that Val will get updates on how he is doing and share them with us.

Little Roxanne who was abandoned yesterday was adopted today after going to the vet to be sterilized of course so this lucky girl one had one night in the refuge. I did mention last night that small breed females are very popular!

At the SPA it was only 28 degrees so lot of doggies had lovely walks. Day like these are a godsend during the summer.

We also had great fun with two recently donated swimming pools. Moos’  new family felt so sorry for the dogs at the SPA in this heat, that they ordered two super pools for the dogs. As you can see from the photos below, they are most appreciated by the dog and emmm some of the volunteers!

A special thank you goes to our volunteer Steve who passed by with ice cream. You will see a lovely video of Lagoon enjoying a lick of mine on the facebook page! He took it ever so gently, what a lovely mannered boy he is!

Two doggies did arrive today, a poodle and a jack russel but both left later on with their owners so two adoption, two dogs reclaimed, lots of walks and fun in the pool. A good day at the SPA!

Will adopted..thank you Val!





Biker enjoying the water..


Keeping dogs at home…

We are always looking at ways to keep dogs in homes rather than then have to come into the refuge.

Dogs need to be rehomed for many reasons and most of the time its not their fault. When someone contacts us to abandon their dog we need to understand the circumstances and why the dog is being rehomed. It is often incredibly tough for people to decide to rehome their dog and it is very rarely a decision made without a lot of heartache and without exploring every option.

And indeed, if people haven’t explored every option, we will often suggest ways to keep a dog in their original home (we see this as part of our remit of being a rescue too). Sometimes, quite small and simple changes can turn things round – and we would much rather a dog stays with their family where possible.

We only have a limited number of kennels at the SPA so I am sure that you will understand that we must ask each and every person abandoning their dog lots of questions. This is not because we are being nosy, but so we can determine the urgency of the situation and prioritise dogs in danger or indeed dogs putting other people or animals in danger.

When a dog has been living as a loved family member and then has finds itself at the SPA it will be very stressed and anxious. Timid and fearful dogs must be terrified by the constant noise and will feel really threatened and worried. Its for that reason that we love the idea of ‘home to home’ adoptions.

In theory this works well when the owner is committed to helping us find a solution for their doggy which means that the dogs gets the home it deserves with minimal stress.  This really is a win,win situation.  Most dogs move from home to home fairly seamlessly and the owner can take comfort that they have minimised any disruption in their dogs life.

Keeping a dog out if the refuge also frees up a kennel space for dogs who aren’t so lucky. It is of course lots more work for us volunteers as we must share the dogs information, answer lots of emails, messages and phone calls about them, but we really don’t mind! We are more than happy to do so and much prefer keeping dogs in homes.

Who remembers Nougat, our first ‘home to home’? He is doing fantastically well with Amber and her family. Hes enjoying his daily walks, loves swimming in the river and has settled really well into his new home!

Then there was Derek,who has a great life with Victoria and family! There have been others too!

Neither Nougat or Derek ever had to spend one night in the refuge…we would love to help more dogs in this way!

If you see one of our ‘home to home’ face book posts, please share it. Social media is a powerful too and helps us find super homes for many dogs.

Today we had one doggie who was abandoned and who wasn’t lucky enough to be able to stay in their home. Roxanne,a 4 year old yorkie cross is with us tonight but being a small, cute girl, she wont be with us long!

Nougat enjoying life with his new family!





Roxanne our new arrival..


R.I.P. Charly

Yesterday we had sad news from our volunteer Laurene. In June 2011 her grandmother adopted 9 year old Charley ( ex Serge) from the SPA but yesterday the family had to say their last goodbyes. Charley was a loyal, devoted friend for Laurene’s grandmother and in return he had four years of love and companionship which undoubtedly have been the best years of his life. We know that we will be really missed..RIP Charly.

Older doggies really have so much love and devotion to offer. They are so much easier to manage than pups or youngsters and its so very rewarding to know that you have given them the best years of their life. It really is a privilege to have an oldie in your life and we have quite a few looking for homes!

Wolf,Rain.Tanguy,Sueno,Brownie,Sunay,Balik,Lady Harley, Sultan and Firmin all had baths today. They really seemed to appreciate it, especially as it was 40 degrees!

However,this heat did not deter all adopters and today Arnold was adopted. This was Arnolds second stint at the SPA and so we are all delighted that neither stay was for long and that he has gone to a lovely family!

I have to admit the highlight of my afternoon was not dog related. Maybe you noticed Muzo the ferret on our facebook page well today we had him out for a cuddle and a play. This is the first time I have played with a ferret and was amazed at how affectionate he was!

We also had two arrivals. One who looks like a female Bernie..so I am betting that she will be called Bernette and a very cute blond berger cross.

R.I.P Charly!



Arnold adopted!



A young berger cross arrived

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A young male ferret needs a home

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Bye bye Bullseye..and Mitch too!

Today was another scorching day and you have to feel really sorry for the dogs at the refuge!

Two lucky dogs won’t be there tonight though. Today Bullseye and Mitch were adopted!

Bullseye recently returned to us but didn’t have a long wait, thanks to his sponsor Jenna. Today he left with a young family from Limoux who already had a pug and two cats so Tyson ( ex Bullseye) will have company!

The next to leave was Mitch. His new mum and dad have been watching our facebook page carefully for a small dog and came along to meet him last week. Sandy (ex Mitch) like all dogs who are brought in as strays had to wait 10 days before he could leave and today was day 10. Bye bye Sandy, I know that you will have a great life now!

This heat is showing no sign of relenting so let’s all remember how important it is to make sure that our dogs stay safe. Walk you dogs early morning and even then make sure that they don’t overdo it. Take water with you and give then small drinks often.  During the day keep them indoor if possible, if not make sure that they are in the shade with water available. By mid-day pavements are scorching so try to walk them on grass when they do have to go outside.

Swimming is great exercise in this weather and even if they aren’t swimmers, paddling keeps then cool too.

Cool mats / coats and cool collars are available online and can help regulate their body temperature but really the best thing is to keep them out of the sun during the day!

Travelling with your dog in this weather is difficult, even with good aircon in the car. Again best place for them is at home! If you must travel. Early morning or late evenings are safest and will be much more comfortable for you too! Always have water with you and keep it in a cool box and have a plan of action in case you breakdown.

Tomorrow we will be mainly washing dogs, to cool them down more than anything!

Tyson ( ex Bullseye) adopted!


Mitch ( ex Sandy) adopted too..




Lou and Hisis adopted!

Today the refuge was shut and only staff will be there feeding and cleaning out the dogs, so tonight we will catch up with yesterdays news.

At last Lou, the last of the 6 Wolf litter left with her forever family. This is wonderful news and lots of volunteers will be delighted as these pups really touched lots of our hearts. We saw them progressing from terrified anxious pups into confident playful pups who loved to be in the parks or on walks. They were so good when we bathed and brushed them, played with them in their kennels, introduced them to collars and leads and took then for walks. Lou had to stay with us a bit longer than Lilou as the adopters own dog had just had a hip operation and had to have a little time to recover. We did make sure that Lou wasn’t lonely after her sister left and loved sharing her kennel with Cooky. Be happy Lou…you deserve a loving family!

Next to leave was Hisis, a lovely golden 3 year old Labrador cross. This wasn’t Hisis’s first stay with us but I am sure that it will her last.

As only 20% of our dogs are females and lots of our prospective adopters want a female, they rarely have long to wait and I have people waiting on small breed females arriving.

Our 3 month old pup Loli, who went into foster with Shirley is being very well behaved. She slept in her crate without any fuss and whats more was clean all night! Already Shirley is ensuring that the pup has brief alone periods during the day. This is essential when you have a pup and will ensure that they can be left for a while without becoming distressed. Puppy fosters are a godsend to the refuge so a massive thank you to Shirley, Val and Alizze who are all fostering young pups!

Adoptions are slow at this time of year as many people have holidays booked and guests arriving. But if you aren’t going away on holiday and have time off work it could be the perfect time to adopt and settle a new dog in. It would also save a dog from this heat which shows no signs of relenting!

So yesterday,two dogs out and none in….a good Saturday!



Hsis adopted



Loli saying hello to Jake!




This week we have seen two more dogs go into foster homes. Trudie an older doggy and Loli a 3 month old pup. This is great news for the dogs as you will see from Annette poignant before and after photo below.

So why do we like foster homes? The first and most important reason is that it gets the dog out of the kennels. Refuges are very stressful places and no place for young pups or older doggies. As well as the stress there is the unbearable heat and that really does take its toll on the oldies!

When a dog is in a home environment we learn lots about the dog. Who it gets on with, if it is housetrained, is it sociable when out and about, is it comfy around children, if it can be left alone…this way we know what kind of family lifestyle the dog will fit into.

For our pups foster homes are a godsend. We all know how important socialisation is and foster mums begin housetraining and basic training with their pups right away. Most have their own dogs and quite a few have cats and children too!

Loli, a three month old shepherd pup arrived on Thursday in a terrible state. She was very thin and scared but really had fallen of all four paws. This lucky girl has had an awful life up until now but today she left with Shirley who is a local doggy trainer so she really is in very safe and experienced hands!.

But as well as pups and oldies there are another group of dogs who we prefer to be in homes than the refuge. These are dogs who for whatever reason don’t cope well with refuge life. Sometimes if a dog arrives traumatised and doesn’t settle into refuge life we will pull out all stops to get a foster place for them. The perfect example of this is Gangster who is doing really well in his foster home after being seriously stressed at the refuge.

The dogs that we don’t really want to place in fosters are our young, healthy, easily adoptable dogs for two reasons. One, if people don’t see them whilst walking around the refuge then it can take longer to find their forever home and two, it takes up a foster place and we are really short of these!

If you feel you could foster one of our doggies, live relatively close to Carcassonne, are an experienced dog owner then please do get in touch. We would really love foster homes for Tanguy, Balik and Kipnack…check out their details on our facebook page!

Loli went to a foster home today ( lover her ears)



Trudie…before and after


Great poster..thank you Annette!




Dinki leaves but Prosper is back…again!

Let start on a positive note. Today Dinki left and I am not at all surprised. This beautiful labrador x was a gem of a dog, young, really keen to please and ever so gentle. Yesterday we played in the park with her, gave her a bath and told her all about her new life. She is going to be a wonderful family dog…be happy Dinki!

So one black and white female adopted but one black and white boy is back! Prosper came back for the third time, so this will be his fourth stint at the SPA. No,there is nothing wrong with this boy…he has been very very unlucky! The first time he was returned as he really didn’t like the owners little dog, the second due to divorce and the third due to home escaping from the garden.  If your dog constantly escapes from your garden you need to sort or change your fencing or supervise your dog, if you dont you are not a responsible dog owner..its as simple as that. Dogs who are bored and under-exercised will escape to make their own fun. This is your fault, not theirs….if you aren’t willing to do this don’t get a dog.

Responsible dog owners make sure that their dog is safe and is not a nuisance to others.  A perfect example of this is a lovely golden lab I meet most mornings on my walk. No, its not a friends dog, this is a young dog who I have known since a pup. She did have wonderful recall but once she reached about ten months this deteriorated. The owner, who is a lovely,lovely lady allowed this to continue so its now a learnt behavior, it happens every day. The dog will leave her and travel over 3 or four fields and through the woods if she sees or smells me and my dogs, or infact any other dog. I dont mind this, i really like this dog but one day she will loose her dog, it will get lost, knocked down or attacked by the local Pyrenean Mountain dogs. Such a shame as the dog is just looking for fun! Her owner is not being responsible, her doggy is at risk,she has a simple choice…train/restrain her dog or accept the risk.  That risk would be far too great for me!

So come on folks, lets promote responsible dog ownership!



Prosper is back..




Trudie Toddles Off…

When Trudie arrived on the 19th May everyone went ‘awwww’. It was very apparent that she was an older lady and she was very thin. When we put her in the exercise park she immediately went into the kennel so we guessed that she was used to living outdoors.  She was probably an ex hunter who had wandered off and at nine years old wasn’t worth bothering about. Such is life in France!

She attracted a lot of attention especially from all of our ‘hound’ lovers and as we don’t have many female dogs who get on with other dogs and cats we thought that she would quickly be adopted.

Eight weeks later she was still waiting and as the temperatures escalated so did her discomfort! Annette and Miles who adopted Mattie ( ex Vania) had been following Trudie’s story and so they offered to foster her. This sounded like a perfect solution as Trudy would get some respite from the heat and we would learn much more about her.

Every volunteer brings different skills to the table and Annette is a bit of an I.T. wizard with superb marketing and networking skills. She already does a lot of the Dog Rescue Carcassonne’s graphics. As Annette gets to know Trudie she will be in the perfect position to share all this on all of the various media sites and we know that is will really help Trudie to find the prefect forever family.

A foster network is something that we would like to develop gradually. At the moment we foster out as many pups and oldies as possible and there is no denying that dogs are better in homes than kennels. We learn so much about a dog when it is in foster and this information really helps match the dog to a suitable forever family.

However, a foster network needs to be supported, monitored and managed and at the moment we are looking at logistics to ensure that we can do this safely.

We now have details of yesterdays arrival. Ganja is an 8 year old husky and is microchipped so we are looking for his owners. We also have photos of a last weeks arrival Salto, a very cute little pincher who will be available for adoption after his 10 days ‘pound’ time is over!

We did have some doggie arrivals today. One a lovely but scared labri cross, one a very thin pup and one very stunning shepherd cross who has already stolen the heart of our volunteer Sabrine!

Trudie –








One of our new arrivals..

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