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Author Archives: Moira

Zina Adopted…After 34 months at the SPA!

Well I have to say that I have often dreamed of writing this blog for so many reasons. It’s not every day a CAT 1 dog is adopted and especially one who has been in the refuge for 34 months!

Zina was brought into the refuge by her owner who was so scared of her he refused to remove her muzzle!  He assured us that she was aggressive so imagine our surprise when we removed the muzzle and a smiling, waggy staffy emerged who was delighted to say hello to everyone! Hmmmm…… was his fear due to her typical appearance, a broad head with strong jaws that appear to be constantly smiling. We will never know!

But what we soon learnt was that Zina loves people, loves affection and is good with other dogs if slow careful introductions are done. This is not a breed trait, it’s just Zima’s own personality and my boxer cross is exactly the same. This causes us no problems whatsoever and I just make sure I never put her in a situation that I know she will struggle to cope with.

Even although our category dogs aren’t walked outside the refuge like the other dogs this did not quell her zest for life and she lived for her playtimes in the parks with staff and volunteers. She loved her tug toy and would chase a ball all day… but that life is behind her now!

Thanks to Carole, Estelle and El Rancho Les Canailles, home checks were done, paperwork completed and this morning the family came along with the children and their dog. Introductions went well and off she went…gosh, after 34 months at the refuge I wonder how she is feeling tonight?

One dog who wasn’t so fortunate was Lucky. After only 4 days in his new home Lucky was brought back to the refuge yesterday as he kept escaping from the garden. This is the second return in a week for exactly the same reason.

I am really shocked about people’s expectations, surely everyone know that you need to make sure your garden is totally secure before letting a rescue or indeed any dog that you do not know free. If that standard of care is indicative of how things were going to be for the dog then I am glad that he is back with us. Its simply not good enough for our dogs!

Dogs run off or escape from gardens for lots of reasons. Many dogs just love to run and escape purely for the joy of the great outdoors. Some are following their nose and just want to have fun, others are simply bored and looking for excitement! Of course the intact ones are probably looking for a mate! Whatever reason you dog is escaping for you need to prevent it happening. A loose dog, even a friendly one is a liability and it’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t happen. A dog that runs can get hit by car, stolen, attacked by another animal, or end up at a refuge.

So, what can you do to prevent him escaping? Well first of all make sure he’s getting enough exercise. Make sure he’s not too bored by playing games with him. Then look at the height of your fence, heighten it or put something in the way to prevent him jumping over it. If that’s not feasible then keep him on a lead in the garden!

Zina with her new family!



(Un) Lucky back after only 4 days!


Goodbye Gladys…

Today another lucky girl left!  In Gladys’s case I would say that her online picture did not do her justice. It wasn’t until I met  Gladys that I realised what a fantastic little girl she was. When you approached her kennel her whole body began to wiggle in delight and it would have been very hard for Elisabeth not to fall in love with her when she came to visit her last week.  Sure enough she was reserved right away and after being sterilised today she left with new mum who is delighted to have a canine friend again. Elisabeth lost her wonderful 15 year old Westie called Oasis six weeks ago , so tonight a new chapter begins for both her and Gladys!

Losing a pet is devastating and people move on in different ways. We have had people come to the refuge the same day as they lost their pet and adopt a look – a– like and some who could never even have the same breed again as it just wouldn’t be the same. Its individual choice where there is no right or wrong.

Terriers are always very popular and most are adopted really quickly. They are happy, energetic, bold dogs, who are extremely loyal, clever and very confident. They love to play and make superb pets.

One little JR who has not been so lucky is 8 year old Fox. I really can’t believe that he’s not been snapped up. He’s an affectionate little fellow who is housetrained, good with dogs and cats…..now that’s not something you can say about many terriers!

At the moment there are major refurbishments going on at the refuge and its chaotic with tradesman’s vans, diggers etc. everywhere. We will soon have a new cat house as well as lovely new landscaping. This will give the refuge a much better feel and will be well worth the disruption!

Gladys adopted!


Fox…still waiting!


Farewell Fanny….

Its so very true that a good photo can really ‘sell’ a dog and it certainly helped with Fanny. She had been with us for over a week when Darcey took a photo of her in someone’s arms and we were inundated with enquiries about her!

It wasn’t her photo that clinched the deal with the family who reserved her last week but her gentle soft nature. She sat on my knee quite happy to be petted by the two little girls who came to see her although I have to admit they liked the pink collar with a pink pose on it too!

Like all our females Fanny had to be sterilised before she could leave anf today two very excited little girls arrived to take her home! She left late afternoon with her new family so will be able to recuperate surrounded by love!

Only 20% of our dogs are female! I wonder why that is? And as most people wanting to adopt ask for a  female, they seldom have a long wait. I think that there is a general misconception that females are easier that males.

Male dogs tend to be more stable in mood than female dogs – less prone to emotional swings.and are often described as “goofy” or  “big softies.”

Female dogs are more prone to mood swings. They can be sweet and loving when they’re happy – but a bit on the grumpy side if something isn’t to their liking. Because they’re opinionated, female dogs can be manipulative when they’re trying to convince you that they really, really don’t want to do something. Female dogs are often less pushy and “in your face” than male dogs are. Yes, females are affectionate, definitely, but often it’s on their own terms. They may request lots of petting, then assert their independence by walking away when they’ve had enough.

Phoebe is my first female doggy and we love her to bits but will I have another girl……probably not!

Only one dog has arrived in two days, long may it continue!

Fanny Is adopted!


Our new arrival..a lovely shepherd cross!


Bye Bye Bramble…

Yesterday Darcey told you that I found little Bramble near Bram and todays good news is that he is already home safe and sound!

At nine o’clock this morning his very worried owner turned up at the SPA to collect him and was quite surprised to hear that yes we do have your dog but he is in Fanjeaux! This was because the SPA is closed on a Sunday and also because we knew he was an older chap, deaf, well looked after, sociable and housetrained and so we guessed that he would rather stay at my house than in a concrete kennel.

He snored away all night, had a great walk with my dogs this morning, scoffed his breakfast and was reunited with his family this afternoon.  He was delighted to see them and left without a backward glance!

Bramble had been with his family since he was 3 weeks old. His doggy mum had refused to feed him and so he had been bottled fed until he could be weaned. He wasn’t the only baby in the family at that time as their daughter had just been born. They grew up together and after eleven years together she was very worried when her best friend disappeared. Bramble had ran off after a hare whilst out in the fields with his dad. He did have a collar on but no disk or number on it. Had this been the case he would have been home safe and sound last night and the family would have been spared a nights worry! But, I have to say he was the perfect house guest and had his owners not turned up today he would have been more than welcome to stay!

So a happy ending for Bramble but please remember to put identification on your dogs collar as well as either micro chipping or tattooing them. It really does save a lot of heartache should your dog go missing as whoever finds them can simply call you. Its true that lots of dogs do find their way home on their own but lots are knocked down, stolen or simply join another family. Not knowing their fate is terrible so please, please identify your dogs!

Another lucky boy also left! Sombrero our eight year old pincher cross only had the minimum 10 days stay with us before leaving with his new family today! This is great news for this cute little fellow and I wish all his kennelmates were so lucky.

We also had a late arrival who we will hear about tomorrow but tonight Bramble and Sombrero have a comfy bed with their families!

Brambles first and last walk with us..


Sombrero adopted after only 10 days!




Wednesday’s Wisdom!

Today was quiet at the SPA but we did have a lovely family with two young children arrive from Toulouse to pick a family dog. With two toddlers of four and two years old this was one adoption that we could not afford to get wrong!

The family have lots of doggy experience, have looked at our website, thought about breed and breed traits, how much time they have for exercising the dog and the practicalities for walking and training a dog with two youngsters in tow.

They thought about the garden and will make sure that it is entirely enclosed, what areas of the house that the dog would have access to keep housetraining and chewing manageable.

It was very sensible to bring along the two children as their reaction to any given dog was crucial and very interesting. Some children are terrified at the barking and kennel chaos but these little girls were very brave and enjoyed looking around the rows of kennels.

We had already complied a short list of dogs and sure enough it was these dogs that drew the family’s attention. One dog was a bit timid but the older little girl was drawn to it, one was quite hyper but mum was drawn to it. The pups proved popular too!

So todays words of wisdom are to do what this family are going to do and think long and hard about any decision. With such young children it’s a major decision and one that all the family must be in agreement with.  We don’t want children scared of dogs or indeed dogs scared by the children so we need to teach children how to behave around dogs.

When a family with young children adopts from us we take a lot of care and are always ready to gove advice after adoption too.

We will probably know tomorrow who they choose but I have a sneaky feeling I know who it will be…..

Teach children ro respect dogs..it can save a dogs life!





Fantomette Leaves and A Fun Fundraiser On Saturday!

For those of you who have not yet planned what to do on Saturday (18th), we are holding a  fundraising event in aid of Dog Rescue Carcassonne and Twilight! This will be in the Salle de Mairie in Puivert from 10am – 2pm.

There will be cakes, greeting cards, clothes, crafts, gifts and a raffle. Teas and coffees will be served all day as well as English sausage baguettes for anyone feeling a bit ‘snackish’ at lunchtime.

The display board will be there for everybody to see our wonderful dogs and we will be available to answer questions about them too.

The last Puivert event proved very popular so please come along and support us and bring some friends!

Its only because we have fundraisers dog Rescue Carcassonne can function the way it does. Every euro raised goes to the SPA Carcassonne and helps make lots of dogs life just a little bit better. We use these monies to recompense adoption fees of dogs going to associations, travelling fees and to castrate as many dogs as possible!

Its only through sterilisation that we can make a difference to the amount of stray and abandoned dogs in France. Already all females leave the SPA sterilised and a high percentage of the males too. We would like this to be 100% and we ae getting there but this takes money. Education also makes a huge difference so please advise all your friends to sterilise their dogs unless there is a medical reason not to.

Today Fantomette, the very cute beagle pup left with Deborah from Toulouse. This lady was sure that she wanted Fanny so it just goes to show you that until you meet a dog you can never be sure how you will feel. Lucky Fantomette is off to Toulouse to live I am sure that we will have regular updates from Deborah.

Other than that two dogs were reclaimed who had not even made it onto our website, a Yorkie arrived and we are looking for the owners of a very handsome Husky who arrived chipped but the details are not up todate!

Saturday Details



Famtomette left today.



The handsome Husky..

2014-10-14 13.56.47

Feline Friends

Although we are Dog Rescue Carcassonne you will be amazed at how many emails we get about cats and one of the most common is ‘ we have been here for the summer and have been feeding kittens / cats in our garden, we are going back to the UK, can we bring them into you’?

We do realise that people do this with the very best of intentions but this creates a nightmare situation for us. Theses kittens are usually at least 6 months old, never been to a vet thus not vaccinated and we will be lucky if the females aren’t already pregnant! To make it worse these kittens aren’t used to being in a house, are often not socialised and have never learnt to fend for themselves as they have been given food.

So when they arrive at the SPA they must be isolated in a cage until they have been tested for feline leukaemia and fully vaccinated. This takes at least 3-4 weeks.

All that is presuming we are not full up. We can’t take animals if we have no place to put them and this year so far too many kittens have arrived and our foster families are full so there is no guarantee we can take the cats.

So, what should you do if you find kittens? First thing is to contact your local Mairie. It is their responsibility to make arrangements for their care but failing that contact us.  We prefer young unvaccinated kittens to go to a foster home where they will be cared for until fully vaccinated. Once they have had their second vaccination they can come to us they can go right in with the other kittens without any risk.  This also give the ‘cat team’ time to arrange the logistics of their arrival. If they have to come into the SPA as we have no foster families they must be isolated until after their second vaccination and thus will  have to endure 3-4 weeks in a metal cage. This is no fun for these kittens!

In most villages in France there is a ‘wild’ cat problem with some colonies being really quite large. So what can you do about this? The first thing is to make sure that your cat is sterilised, the second is to report it to your Mairie. Most Mairies have an annual budget to deal with this and it’s their responsibility to do so.  Failing that there are various associations who can help so ask at your Mairies for their contact details. They are mainly charitable associations who trap and sterilise the stray cats but they too are stretched and have limited resources!

If you do email Dog Rescue Carcassonne about cats please be patient. We have to translate the email into French and send it to the French speaking cat team and wait for a reply. It really is best and quicker if you email them direct spacarcassonne@yahoo.fr.

There are stray cats everywhere in France!



I am fostering these 3 beauties..only 5 weeks old but available soon!


Rose Leaves But Six Arrive!

Today was a chaotic day at the SPA. Only one adoption, two reservations but six arrivals, two of which are pups and one who is an elderly lady! Despite the holidays being well and truly over we are definitely having more than usual arrivals for this time of year!

Sometimes when a dog arrives you just know that it won’t have long to wait. Such was the case for Rose, the really pretty shepherd cross. Being young, blonde and very good natured, she was quickly snapped up and reserved during our Open Weekend. Today she left with her new family!

After all last weekends adoptions we thought that we would mention what to expect when you get your new dog home.

Some of our dogs have been in kennels for some time so it’s natural that the house environment will be strange for them. Some dogs settle very quickly, loving their new home comforts and others take some time. Patience is the key to success, don’t rush this process but allow the dog to develop at his own speed.

Toilet training is a one of our most commonly asked questions and we advise that you go back to basics and treat the dog as you would a pup, so out every hour or so and lots of praise when they get it right, If you have adopted a pup, you should have got our guide to house training, if not please just ask.

Whilst in the refuge your dog will have had a daily feed of Royal Canin kibble. You can change this to whatever you like but please do it slowly to avoid upset tummies and more clearing up!

It exciting taking your new dog out and about and regular exercise does everyone good. Unless we have told you otherwise your dog is vaccinated and ready to go! This should be a pleasure so please take time to leash train your dog. We have no idea how good the dogs recall is so please err on the side of caution and don’t let it off leash until it has settled and you know it will come back to you. Its well worth the effort to practice in the garden or with a long line and always reward when the dog gets it right!

It a an exciting time when you bring a new dog home and time spent will be rewarded with a bond based on love and respect.

Don’t forget that you contact us after adoption for advice so please don’t struggle on with a problem!

Rose was adopted today!


This elderly girl arrived


Another arrival


Another pup arrived


And another



It’s That Time Of Year Again….

It seems a long time ago that we had ‘Manic Monday’ blogs where there were lots of adoptions and unfortunately today there were only two arrivals. Now that ‘la chasse’ or hunt season has begun we are expecting regular ‘lost’ hunt dogs from around the Aude. All hunt dogs should of course be identified but as this is seldom enforced most aren’t and owners rarely come looking for them.

September means the start of the hunting season in France, or la chasse, and it can be quite a shock to see a group of hunters heading past your house.

Each Sunday you will see the countryside dotted with vans and cars and will hear the distinctive howl of hounds as they flush out or chase the game. You are sure to cross a group of hunters heading off into the woods with guns slung over their shoulders so if you are out walking it’s wise to wear bright clothing.  I would strongly advise keeping your dogs on the leash, one in case they are ‘accidentally’ shot and two because the hunt dogs have on many occasion swarmed my dogs and some dogs could find this very intimidating. You would think that the hunters would have trained dogs so could simply call their dogs away, not a chance! Most chasse dogs are hunting by instinct alone and have had no or little training!

So it is no great surprise that when the dogs are following their instinct, lots get themselves lost and that is why we at the SPA dread this season. We will soon be inundated with hunt dogs, who have only known life in kennels and are fearful of humans and often other dogs!

All chasse dogs should be identified but very few are, as this legislation, like lots of legislation regarding the chasse in France is not enforced. This unfortunately makes it very easy for the hunters to abandon dogs who aren’t good hunters, who are too old or are hurt and need vet treatment.

Luckily ‘hound’ type dogs do seem to have become favourites with us Brits and below are some of our lucky ‘hounds’ who have gone to fantastic families in the UK.  Seeing how well these dogs have settled down into family lives really validates the effort of getting the dogs there and when you compare their previous lives to what they have now you really realize how much better off they are.

Today one lucky ‘hound’ type dog was reserved and will be leaving for the UK in October. This lucky boy will be going to live with Harlequin, one of our border collies who was adopted about 18 months ago!

A common sight here in France!



Munro has really thrived in his new family



As has Jaffa







Two Adoptions, A Reservation and A Lucky Girl!

Today was a great day for two little girls who were adopted! We had an exciting reservation and a dog stolen yesterday in the Ardeche turned up at the SPA Caracssonne!

Ten days ago a family came from Toulouse to meet puppy Julia, sister of recently adopted Jade. Both pups had been lucky enough to be fostered by one of our volunteers, (in fact it was she and her husband who adopted Jade), and when the two families met, it was clear that Julia, too, had fallen on her paws! Julia is used to other animals and children. And her new family has animals and children! This is quite a coincidence, lots of people have children, but not everyone has guinea pigs! Marie- Pierre and her husband were all too happy to keep Julia until her new family was ready for her, and today was the big day! They kindly offered to drive Julia to her new home, which has a huge enclosed garden and sounds like paradise. What is more, mum is home all day. Julia has been renamed Rosie and we are looking forward to news and photos of this lovely girl as she grows up. Thanks to Marie-Pierre for yet another successful fostering!

The next little girl to leave was Anis. This is the little girl who was abandoned at the refuge when her owners were going on holiday. She was very thin and in need of a good grooming but thanks to our tlc and to Melanie’s expert grooming skills she left today looking really well. She has gone to stay with an older lady and her daughter who were devastated when they lost their old Yorkie so Anis will get to be the lap dog that she so wants to be without any competition from other dogs or cats!

The next excitement was the arrival of a dog who was reported stolen in the Ardeche yesterday. Lady luck was certainly shining on this girl and we immediately contacted the owner who will come and pick her up tomorrow. Why she was stolen and then dumped is anyone’s guess but this time tomorrow she will be back home safe and sound!

Julia, adopted today!



Anis, adopted too!