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Author Archives: Moira

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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Dogs by donation…

In the last few years lots of things have changed for the better at the SPA Carcassonne. We have not euthanized due to lack of space for many years and this is due to both fantastic staff and volunteers who spend lots of their own time advertising, promoting and moving dogs to super homes. However there is no point in saving their life and then condemning them to a kennel for years on end. We really do want happy ending for all of our dogs.

Finding homes for so-called “hard-to-place” pets is about taking responsibility, good marketing, and providing support. In some cases, these animals are actually easier to place than so-called “perfect” pets! Many adopters like to feel that they are helping a special animal. Finding homes for “hard-to-place” animals requires attention, resources and marketing, but it certainly can and is being done and ever so slowly and carefully we are finding kind committed homes for our long term residents. We are always very up front about any problems and can help provide solutions as well.

Taking responsibility means abandoning negative thinking and changing gears. Social media is a fantastic resource which we are using more and more to promote our dogs.  If you see one of our long term resident’s details please, please take a second to share their profile. The more people that we can reach the greater the chance of finding forever homes for these deserving dogs!

So who are our hard to place pets and why are they still with us?  Well we have Chico who had been with us for 3 years, Disco the same and Tanguy who has been with us for 34 months.

These three really have just been overlooked and unlucky but in an attempt to find them their forever home they are part of our #dogsbydonation scheme.

This means that either a private sponsor or DRC is paying their adoption fee to the SPA and they are available for whatever donation you deem appropriate. They of course come identified, vaccinated, wormed, sterilised and you can even have a pet passport too! If you are interested in any then please just call 0468247097 to discuss.

At the refuge today we had the arrival of a Husky who was found on the autoroute by one of our volunteers yesterday. When I get some pictures I shall upload them. A very cute spaniel cross puppy who hadn’t even made it onto facebook was also adopted and one dog arrived but left later with its owners.





Moos’s slice of paradise…

Today being the 14th of July the refuge was shut. I hope that all of your doggies have been out for a long walk and are safely indoors. Carcassonne will be a scary place for them tonight!

This story will really cheer everyone up and shows just how a dogs life can change after arriving at the SPA. It’s the lucky ones that end up with us, the others are either kicked out and are living as strays, are abused, ignored or tied up…..we find great homes for our dogs!

Tonnerre arrived at the SPA after being in a road traffic accident. He had a broken hip and was really thin, just a bag of bones really. His operation went well and his aftercare necessitated a stay in the cat house. After weeks of recuperation and being confined to a kennel it became apparent that a further operation was needed. This meant more kennel rest and back he went to the cat house.  Weeks passed and he was ever so patient. At last he could have small walks and was allowed to share a kennel with another dog. Then the heat of summer arrived so it was back to being confined to a kennel.

Just over ten days ago, on a scorching hot afternoon one of our supporters Victorian arrived with her two dogs Tommie and Okkie to look for a third dog. You can never tell how dogs are going to react to each other and she really was drawn to Pinto but Pinto and Okkie just never gelled. Tonnerre was next on the list and behaved impeccably and Okkie seemed much more relaxed with him. We knew that he was good with cats which was very important and so off he went!

I laughed yesterday when I received an email from Victorian telling me that Moos had settled in very well and had never tried to run away! I was not a bit surprised, they live in the woods, have an enormous enclosed meadow with donkeys, chickens etc and their own river pool to swim in each afternoon!!!!   It would be a mad dog who ran away from there!

Moos ( ex Tonnerre) really has found his paradise and after all of that cage rest, he really, really deserves it! Be happy Moos..I will be coming to visit soon!

Moos ( in the middle) with Tommie and Okkie ( ex Grislie)



An afternoon swim



A run in the donkey field…




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 Wednesday 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 wernt 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!

Carcassonne will be a scary place for dogs tomorrow night!