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Author Archives: Moira

On The Black List!

We do in fact have two black lists at the SPA but the one which is growing fastest and is the most concerning is the list of black dogs! Looking around the kennels today I couldn’t help but notice that about 40% of our dogs are black, At the SPA we have certainly noticed that black dogs are harder to home than light colored dogs. Maybe this is down to superstition and people associate black dogs with evil or maybe because they are harder to photograph so look less attractive on our web or face book page.  Could it be that most of our black dogs are also big and people are scared of them because the mean dogs in movies are always black?

Personally I love black dogs and have 2 big black Labrador crosses.  I love how black dogs coats always look shiny and how their teeth look sparking white!  Another distinct advantage is that they hide dirt well and they are very easily spotted in the snow!  Maybe we could promote them as status symbols; after all black pearls are certainly the most expensive!

In the last week alone 9 black dogs have arrived and they may have a long wait.  So why should we love our black dogs….because they need us to!

There was however good news today when Constance, one of our lucky black beauties was adopted! This is great news for Constance who has just recently recovered from mange but is now looking fantastic.

Constance who was adopted today!



Here are a few of our SPA black pearls who have been waiting a long time, if you could offer any of them a home please get in touch.

Louve – Its such a shame but at only two and a half years old, this is Louves second time at the refuge! She was adopted but her owner developed a terminal illness so she had to come back. She did stay with a neighbor who had children who she loved; unfortunately she did not like their cat!



Toby – Toby is only two and has been  at the refuge for over a year so has spent most of his adolescence behind bars! He is now sharing with another dog and is steadily improving on the lead. With a little training he will make a super pet!



Solo- Another two year old who has been with us for at least a year and really needs a family of his own. Solo is very sociable with other dogs and has learnt to walk nicely on the lead. He’s a very clever boy and learns very quickly!




A busy day!

Today started off well with Geo being reunited with her owners. Geo was one of the lucky few dogs who don’t spend long at the refuge before being reclaimed. Then along came a super reservation of one of our pups which you will hear about next week.

Geo heading back home!



Then there were three fantastic adoptions.

The first one was of a tiny pup called Phoebus who arrived last week.  He was bound to be adopted quickly as he certainly had the cute factor! Phoebus, like a lot of our pups was in a foster home so as well as this being great news for Phoebus it also frees up a foster place for another needy pup!

Phoebus leaves for his forever family!



Next to go was Lola, a 13 year old Yorkshire terrier. At 13 years old with a few health issues we thought she might have a long wait but thanks to our volunteer Melanie she is off for a very comfy retirement.

Lola is next to leave.



Then there was really good news when our stunning one year old Beauceron, Rocky was adopted. He was abandoned when a new baby arrived. This is a story that we here all too often but luckily Rocky hasn’t had more than a few weeks to wait for a new home.

 Rocky smiling as he leaves!



All that good news was indeed too good to be true and three other dogs one of them a puppy arrived.  Still, that was four out and three in, we have had worse days!



SPA Flooded with Abandoned Dogs

We are now full to bursting point with abandoned dogs!  More dogs are arriving every day and despite a super reservation today our numbers are still on the increase. This is the reality of summertime in France, where people with no scruples whatsoever simply abandon their animals whilst they head off on their summer holidays.  How can they possibly relax by the sea or have a cocktail by the pool whilst their loyal friend is either starving to death or dying from dehydration, in the woods or on the streets, wherever they have dumped them!

Despite campaigns run by animal charities this is still happening and is in fact on the increase. Why is this? When will people realize that owning a dog is a lifetime commitment and if you go on holiday, have to move house, have to go back to England, whatever your change in circumstances you have a responsibility to that animal.

I do agree that it is better to take your dog to a refuge than tie it up in a woods but do you know the life that your animal will have at the SPA?  Dogs can wait a long time to be adopted, years in some cases.  They will be lucky to get one walk a week, will be boiling in a concrete kennel in summer and freezing in winter. Is his truly better for the dog than organizing your life to accommodate your dog?

Here are a few of the dogs who have been waiting a long, long time. If you could offer any of the following dogs either a foster or forever home please get in touch!

Here is Todd who arrived two summers ago. A Berger cross and at only four years old he has spent half of his life in kennels! Todd is very affectionate, so much so that he grabs you and wont let you go. He is now sharing his kennel with Melba who will be leaving soon so it would be great to get him out too! He is castrated and micro chipped so ready to go!



Uta and Ugo are ten year old Shepherd crosses who were adopted from us as puppies. After eight years of being loyal family pets they were abandoned when the family moved into a new house!  Uta gets on well with everyone but Ugo  can be very protective of her . They make a great couple and are easy to walk on the lead.   I’d love to find them a home for their retirement!



Chico is a tricoloured cross who has also been with us for two years and like Todd that is half of his life! He is a lively, happy boy who needs an enclosed garden and a playmate.  An active family who were prepared to do some training with him would be perfect!



Three More Arrivals But A Foster Family For Django

Today there were three more arrivals but we also had some good news!.  Those of you who remember the photos of Django when he arrived will hardly recognize him now. When he arrived he had a badly hurt leg and was absolutely emaciated. Then to add to our concerns the vet told us he also had a heart condition. At 8 years old the future wasn’t looking too bright for this handsome boy but today he has been fostered by two of our volunteers Susan and Mark! This means no more baking in a concrete kennel, no more stress from 100+ dogs barking but instead a calm happy household with lots of walks and cuddles on demand. He is indeed a lucky dog!

Django when he arrived , just skin and bones!




Django Leaving Today 


At the SPA, like most refuges, times are tough and we could certainly do with all the help we can get. This might mean making a donation, sponsoring a dog, becoming a volunteer or fostering one of our dogs or cats.  Lots of our volunteers also fund raise and these monies really are a lifeline to us.

Karen, one of our other fantastic volunteers is having a fundraising barbecue this weekend. There will be great food, music, a raffle and all in a stunning setting.  There are still a few tickets available, 10 euros each, so if you would like to come along and join us we would love to meet you.  You can get tickets by emailing Karen : karen.pead@orange.fr


A Busy Day after Carcassonnes Fireworks Display!

Today has been a very busy day at the SPA. As well as another pup arriving we have had fourteen reports of lost dogs after last night’s fireworks display.  At the moment only six of the fourteen have been found so there are a lot of very worried doggy owners out there.

When disaster strikes and you lose your dog it’s very easy to fly into a blind panic and have no idea what to do. Even the best trained dogs can be distracted by a sudden noise, a really good smell, a rabbit or deer and we all know accidents do happen where a lead is dropped or a door is left open.

Most dogs come back on their own but if your dog doesn’t return here is who you need to contact with the dogs breed, colour, sex, age, identification ( microchip or tattoo number), collar and disk details.

-Let the local Mairie know.

-Contact the Police Municipal.

-Call the local vets.

-If your dog is micro chipped or tattooed call the database provider and let them know it is lost, where it went missing and make sure that they have all of your contact numbers.

-Register the lost dog on chien perdu (http://www.chien-perdu.org/) This is the French equivalent of Dog Lost UK.

-Call or email the SPA  Carcassonne 0468253545 /  website@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk

-Visit the SPA in person.  Take a photo and leave details of you dog and your contact details. Walk around the kennels and look in each cage. Return in a few days and do the same. Keep going back.

If you French isn’t good enough to do these things don’t despair, we will help. We have numerous English volunteers who will assist.  Just drop us an email or when calling the refuge give the receptionist your number and an English speaker will call you back.

Posters are a great idea and you can print them directly from the chien perdu site. Speak to other dog walkers and let everyone know to keep their eyes open.

If your dog is micro chipped and it’s a British Chip the refuges or vets here will struggle to locate your details. Even if we can see that the dog is registered for example with Pet Log, you are reliant on refuge staff or the vet speaking English so that they can contact them. We are lucky as we do have English speakers but many refuges don’t.  There is a very easy solution to this. You can register the dogs chip on the French system whilst leaving it on the British one. Any vets can give you the forms to do this and means that if your dog is lost in France you can be contacted very quickly!

Adele, 4 months old pup who arrived today.



Grizzli’s Great Adventure!

Grizzli, our enormous Newfoundland was adopted a few weeks ago but things just didn’t work out as the family had seven other dogs who Grizzli teased relentlessly.  This 3 year old has had no training or rules to follow and still thinks he is a puppy.Now although we all love playful dogs a 50kg out of control Newfie is really quite daunting!

Yesterday I had a call from a lady who lives in the country with her hubby, two other dogs, cats and donkeys and they were very interested in Grizzli. They were experienced with both Newfies and rescue dogs so in order to observe Grizzli’s behavior in situ it was agreed I would take him to their house this afternoon so we could test him with their animals.

I had a quick peek at the meteo and saw that today was going to be another scorcher and I know that Newfies do not do well in hot cars so I decided to be brave and actually reverse my car into the garage last night to make sure it was nice and cool. With the air-conditioning at full blast I drove to the refuge to collect Grizzli, he jumped into the car and off we went.

Doggy paradise is the only way to describe what awaited us. There was an enormous enclosed field leading down to a shady pool in a river. In the field were 7 donkeys, cats, chickens  and the family dogs.  Grizzli leaped out of the car and was very keen to meet his new playmates. He was very well behaved with all the animals so we carried on down to the river. What a relief this must have been for this enormous Newfie who had just come out of a concrete kennel in 35 degrees heat! After a dip in the river, we sat in the shade and it was very apparent that the new family were delighted with him. So Grizzli has a super new family and the potential of a really fantastic life. Let’s hope that he behaves himself this time!

Grizzli with his new family!


Dyson and Crackle Leave but Lots More Arrive!

Despite the soaring temperatures lots has happened at the refuge today. I will start with the good news. Dyson, the dynamic black and tan Pincher has been adopted. This is wonderful news as he had recently been returned to the refuge after a marriage breakup and this must have been very traumatic for this young chap. Never mind he’s off to a super home where he will be really appreciated!


Dyson’s departure was quickly followed by that of Crackle, a really sweet and gentle Yorkie. Not much more than a pup and immaculately groomed, it seems incredible that no one has come looking for her.  Hopefully Crackles stay at the refuge will soon be nothing but a distant memory!


On the downside, we have had lots and lots of entries. So far this year our numbers far exceed that of last year and we were in crises then. This doesn’t ode well for the rest of the summer!


I also popped up to Toulouse to pick up lots of stuff a lovely volunteer called Leanne had collected. You can see how full my car is of crates, beds, bedding, leads and collars, grooming equipment, toys and treats! So a massive thank you to Leanne and Julie, we are always grateful for such support. If you have stuff that you no longer need and think that we could put it to good use just drop it in or send us an email and we will pick it up. Our fundraisers have regular car boot sales so if our have stuff we could sell there, that too would be very, very welcome!

Dyson’s departure

Dyson leaves


Then It was Crackes turn



Thank you Leanne and Julie

My Car5


35 degrees and a good day for Sangria!

Sangria arrived with another pup about two weeks ago and they have both attracted lots of attention.  They were only 6-8 weeks when they arrived but they are chubby, happy, healthy looking pups who are full of puppy fun and nonsense! A family who have recently relocated to this area spotted her on the website and their two little girls fell in love with her right away.  Unfortunately for the girls they did have to wait the statutory 10 days but today the wait was finally over. With excitement, as well as the temperature reaching fever pitch , off she went!

This is the time of year when we see an influx of both puppies and kittens coming into the SPA. I have to admit that I love the fact that I can cuddle and play with the puppies – but at the end of the day I don’t have to be responsible for caring for them and turning them into good canine citizens.

Many people come to the SPA specifically to adopt a puppy, and sadly the older adult pets are often overlooked. I, for one, would much rather adopt an adult pet, and I would encourage everyone to consider doing the same.

Here’s why:

 What you see is what you get: I often hear people say that they would rather adopt a puppy because they want to mold his or her personality and behavior. I do understand this but only if you are prepared for the hard work needed to toilet train, educate and adequately socialize a young pup. With older dogs, what you see is what you get.  From the start you know how big they are, their personality and behavior, and grooming requirements.  Knowing these things makes it easier to pick the perfect pet for you and your family.

You can teach an old dog new tricks: Adult dogs have much more focus and are calmer than their puppy counterparts. They also have more experience reading people and understanding what is being asked of them.

 Puppies are a lot of work: Don’t get me wrong, I think puppies are adorable and lots of fun but they are also lots of work!  Older pets don’t require nearly as much monitoring and training, and many of them are already house-trained, which means fewer “accidents”.

 Older dogs settle in quickly: Adult dogs have been around the block and know how to be a part of your pack. They should settle in and become part of the family pretty quickly.

 Adult dogs are better couch potatoes: Puppies can definitely run you ragged and we’ve seen many pups returned to the SPA by families who didn’t realize what they were getting in to. Adult dogs are still active, but they also know how to lounge next to you on the couch while you watch TV, check your email or read a good book.

As I write this, we have lots of wonderful adult dogs who are looking for forever homes so please don’t  pass them by simply because they aren’t puppies anymore. Please come to visit, meet  them… and hopefully adopt one too!

Sangria on her way home.



Hot, Hot….Hot!

Today it was very, very, hot at the refuge!  We are lucky as we can escape indoors but there is no escape for the dogs. We do try our very best to keep them cool and some of them really love the mist spray on the hose whilst other hide at the back of the kennels until the kennels have been cleaned and then creep out to lie on the damp concrete.

On a happy note, we have had lots of updates from people who have recently adopted from us. I am sure that many of you will remember eight year old Hercules (now Bill) , a Montagne de Pyrenees who was abandoned in a very poor condition, painfully thin and in need of some serious tender loving care. Well you will be delighted to see how well he looks already. He has another Montagne de Pyrenees as a playmate and just loves his new garden and walks. This is fantastic news and ensures that his retirement is spent as it should be, far away from the noise, heat and chaos of the refuge!

Bill and Belle enjoying the garden

Bill and Belle 2


Dic and Doc two striking Spaniels arrived at the refuge after their owner became very ill and the family couldn’t take care of them. It was apparent that they were devoted to each other so you can imagine how pleased we were when John and Barbara decided to adopt the two of them together! John is a walking guide so these lucky boys are sure to enjoy lots of long walks. They settled into the house and home comforts really quickly and love nothing more than curling up on the sofa in the evening.







Although Chanel, our lovely golden Labrador was chipped when she arrived there was no reply from her previous owners and it soon became evident that they simply did not want her back. Fortunately for Chanel she was quickly spotted on the website by Julia and David. This couple couldn’t wait to meet her and rushed down from the Dordogne right away! They cannot believe what a happy well balanced dog she is. Calm and gentle, she is everything you imagine a Labrador to be. She was only adopted on Tuesday but has already been to a party, found two handsome boyfriends, met the chickens and horses and has been swimming in the lake. Now that is truly how a dog’s life should be!

Chanel looking very pleased with herself!



One thing that the SPA can be sure of is that summer time in France means that lots of puppies and kittens will be abandoned! This year has been no exception and lots have arrived already. When these babies arrive we much prefer that they go to foster families as the refuge is a dangerous place for unvaccinated pups or kittens.

Many of our volunteers at the SPA are also foster families for these pups and kittens as well as for dogs who arrive needing a little bit more tender loving care than life in a kennel can offer.  These foster families provide an extremely valuable role which helps us assess the dogs’ reaction to a home environment and lets us know which areas the dog may need a little help with. It’s not unusual for dogs who come into rescue to need a little help with toilet training, socialization or recall and being with a fosterer who will help with any issues, gives these dog a much better chance at a successful adoption. All of our foster families are very experienced and most have well balanced dogs and cats of their own which provides a perfect environment for a needy dog. Lots of our foster families have children who are very dog ‘savvy’ which provides fantastic socialization for our dogs. The foster family can give us a real insight into the personality of the dog which makes it far easier to find the perfect forever home.

Sometimes, well often actually, the inevitable happens and the fosterers fall in love with the dog and become the adopters.

This has of course happened in a lot of our foster families and I do understand why. When you have nurtured, socialized and loved a dog it is very difficult it give it up. Sometimes you just know that a dog is right for you and your family and so there is only one option, to adopt it!

Below are some of our happy dogs who have been adopted by our fantastic volunteers who also foster.

Benson who was fostered and then adopted by Rebecca




Brody who was fostered and then adopted by Rob