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Hidden gems

A Hidden Gem – Popeye

Popeye has not been at the refuge for very long, but he is a DRC favourite and we would like to help him find a wonderful new home as soon as possible.

Popeye was brought in at the end of December with his sister, Olive, who was rehomed almost immediately. As is often the case, the boy has been left behind. In fact Olive and Popeye are almost certainly the siblings of recently homed Tom and Théa, and probably of Tom and Tommy too. Someone had an unwanted litter and rehomed the pups very badly; something that makes dog lovers and those in animal protection very frustrated.

Popeye is lively and attentive

The couple who brought Olive and Popeye in were very unclear about where the dogs came from and what their behaviour was like. They just said that the woman had developed a sudden allergy and that the dogs were a nuisance. It is hardly surprising that two untrained adolescent dogs in a house would soon become unwelcome.

Despite being somewhat wild on his arrival, Popeye has become just about everyone’s favourite dog to walk. It is amazing how much a dog’s behaviour improves when he is getting regular exercise! Popeye is now wonderful on the lead. He trots along at your side, and is extremely attentive, especially if he thinks a treat may be on the cards. This could be thanks to his breed.

We know from DNA tests carried out on one of the siblings that Popeye is 75% labrador, and he has many of the breed’s traits. He is very affectionate, and highly motivated by food. This makes him easy to train and he is quickly learning all the basic commands.

Popeye is excellent on the lead.

After Olive was adopted, Popeye had to make new friends, and this proved to be no problem at all. He is currently sharing with one of the refuge’s timid (mistreated) border collies and helping to give her confidence. And he is happy to walk alongside any other dogs, no barking or lunging towards them, just a well-mannered slightly curious sniff.

Popeye is quick to learn and loves showing off his new skills

Popeye is fine with children and non- reactive towards cats. He would be an ideal family dog and would make a great companion for walks. His sister Olive (who was adopted two weeks ago) is already walking off lead, and we suspect that Popeye will be equally biddable.

Adoption fees at the ScPA have recently increased to €190, but as he is a DRC hidden gem, we are happy to pay towards Popeye’s adoption. Just get in touch. And of course Popeye is fully vaccinated, identified and castrated.

Popeye is light on his feet and dances along side his walker

Let’s find this hidden gem a home!

A Hidden Gem and Urgent Appeal- Graf

It has been a little while since we brought your attention to one of our hidden gems, so without further ado, please meet Graf.

This English setter is one of the most gentlemanly like dogs at the refuge and although he is not particularly elderly, he has just passed the ScPA’s criterion to be a senior dog. So Graf is both a Hidden Gem and an Urgent Appeal. This means that should you wish to offer him a home, you can receive a helping hand with the fee from DRC, but of course that is no reason to adopt a dog. Once you read about Graf you will see that there are many other good reasons to do so.

english setter

Graf is attentive

Graf is a setter who was born in May 2011. He was brought in for rehoming by his family who were unable to cope with this dog’s tendency to escape from their garden. But this is his only fault, and it is one that can be solved by having a well enclosed (really well enclosed) garden. Once this problem is solved, you will not find a better dog than Graf.

Graf is fine boned and light on his feet and he does not pull at all on the lead. If we hadn’t been informed about his Houdini tendencies, we would never have guessed. Even on a 10 metre lead he remains close to his walker’s side. And if he does walk ahead and you call his name he comes back immediately for a pat. Walking him is a real pleasure.

Graf never pulls to the end of his lead and always keeps an eye on his owner

Graf is fine with other dogs and is currently living with one of the refuge’s very nervous dogs to help her to gain confidence. And of course he is doing a great job. We don’t know how he is with cats, but we can check this out easily enough.

He is wonderful with children and just the sort of dog who would help little ones overcome any fear of dogs. Although he spent over 8 years with his family, he spent most of the last two years chained up to prevent him annoying the neighbours. So although being at the refuge is hard on him, it is definitely the first step to a happier life. And whoever adopts Graf will be extremely lucky indeed.

Graf is a very handsome lad

I cannot stress enough the need for an enclosed garden. Graf has already worked out how to slide the bolt to open his kennel door. He loves being with people, and cannot be left outside on his own unless the drawbridge is definitely up! However that is not the hardest problem to deal with, and as Graf is such a wonderful dog to walk, he would be fine with a small garden plus regular outings.

Come and meet lovely Graf and fall in love just as we have all done!

A Hidden Gem – Banksie

I made no secret of my love for this dog when he was at the refuge last time, and I was delighted when he was adopted at the end of October. However he is now back, and so I thought I would feature him as a hidden gem, in the hope that he has more luck next time.

Banksie is a very handsome lad with a slightly whistful air about him

Banksie spent almost a year at the refuge before being adopted, which is a long time for a great little lad like this. He was found straying in a village where he had presumably been abandoned. So although we don’t know his real age or anything about his history, we got to know him quite well before his adoption. And although this adoption has failed, it does mean that we know far more about him now, and hopefully his next family will be better suited to him. And he to them, of course. A good adoption is a two-way street.

The family who brought him back are heartbroken. They adored him and bringing him back was not something they did lightly. They, like everyone at the ScPA, would love him to find a new home soon. They wrote copious notes on the rehoming form, and talk of the hours they spent cuddling him on the sofa and the joy he brought to their lives. However they have a toddler and another child on the way, and although Banksie is fine with older children, he is not a fan of little ones. He prefers to avoid their company, which was not possible with a toddler who wanted to play with him all the time.

Banksie loves his walks

Banksie is an extremely quick learner, and would like an active family who will take him out and keep him occupied.  The garden of his recent home was not adequately enclosed and Banksie had a habit of taking himself off on walks, much to the annoyance of the neighbours. So an enclosed garden is required, although this does not mean Banksie is a runner by nature; he was off the lead on walks and stuck close to his owners at all times.

Banksie can live happily with other dogs and his family describe him as being a very sociable dog. On his return to the refuge he went straight in to share with another male dog. He does not like cats. Obviously he is house-trained and his family inform us that in the house he was very calm and never destructive. He is quite small weighing about 18kg.

Banksie loves home comforts and adores the sofa, where he lay for hours being cuddled

Banksie loves to play and especially loves to chase tennis balls. He loves long walks and has good recall. According to the vet, Banskie was born in December 2012, making him just over 7. However he could be younger than this estimate, which was based on the state of his teeth and paws when he arrived. And as we know that he had been straying, this might not be the best indicator.

It is sad for a dog who is so close to being perfect to be back at the ScPA. And sadder still that his family really did love him. However he proved while he was with them that he is really is a wonderful dog and hopefully finding him a new home will not take as long as it did last time, now that so much more is known about him.

Please help Banksie find a new home either by sharing this post or by talking to friends and acquaintances about him. Or why not come to the refuge and meet him in person. He might just be the perfect companion for you!

A Hidden Gem – Mirabelle


We thought it was about time to present you with the next DRC Hidden Gem; the lovely Mirabelle.

I know for a fact that Mirabelle is a hidden gem, because even when people come to the refuge and specifically ask for a young, medium to large female, everyone always forgets about Mirabelle. And I include myself here, too. I have no idea why this is; yes, she is in one of the lower kennels which are less visible to visitors, but that is no excuse. Mirabelle is a fabulous dog and should really have been adopted before now, so let’s hope this “spotlight on” article gives her the boost she needs to find the home she so deserves.

Mirabelle is a very smiley dog

In fact Mirabelle did have a home until the middle of September when her owners moved house and decided not to take her with them. This is something that seems inconceivable to many of us, but as we are not in the family’s shoes, we are probably not best placed to judge. I like to think that it was a tough decision for them, because it has certainly not been easy for Mirabelle.

When your DRC friends first met her, this poor girl was cowering in the back of her kennel. She was sharing with another dog, but definitely did not feel like meeting new people, or even showing her face to the world. Moira and Jane persevered and finally coaxed Mirabelle out for a walk, and once she was out of the refuge, her behaviour changed completely. The shock of being in a noisy refuge with lots of other unhappy animals (as well as lots of happy ones, of course) had had a very bad effect on her.

Mirabelle on her first walk with volunteer Jane

Since this time, Mirabelle has settled in well and is now happy to go on walks without too much coaxing. In fact she is currently helping to “bring on” a very timid dog and is often seen in the park when there is group playtime. She really is a lovely girl.

Mirabelle was born in August 2016. According to her documents she is a malinois cross, but I am not sure about that; she just looks like a lovely mix of various shepherd-types to me. She is medium to large size and very gentle, not at all pully on the lead and already with good basic training.

She will be devoted to her family

We are sure that whoever adopts Mirabelle will be delighted with her. She would be fine as an only dog or would fit in well with a new pack.

Please help us find a wonderful home for Mirabelle. Please share if you see this post on Facebook, share it to pages for dog lovers, share it far and wide. All it takes is that one family to see the post and Mirabelle’s life could begin again.

Mirabelle is alert and active, is fine with other dog and already has good basic training, including being perfect on the lead

Hidden Gem Prune has now been adopted

Today we give you the second in our series of hidden gems. As we said last week, the goal of these blogs is to draw some attention to dogs who risk not being noticed by visitors. This might be due to their colouring or their behaviour in their kennel. And sometimes it is just because we at DRC love this particular dog and want him or her to find a home in double quick time.

Prune has been at the refuge since the end of October. I was there the day she arrived; brought in by someone who had found her tied up in his village and who had kept her for a couple of weeks before bringing her to the refuge. During those two weeks he had not taken her to the vet to see if she was identified, and when it emerged that she was microchipped, there was hope that her owner would come to collect her, but alas not.

Prune looking a bit nervous on the day of her arrival


So although we do not know anything of Prune’s background, thanks to her microchip we know her real date of birth (15th July 2017), and her breed, or at least the breed her owner registered her as being (a labrador/braque cross). Prune is magnificent to look at. Mostly jet black but with a speckled grey bib, she is fairly tall and has a very regal look to her.

Prune already has good basic education; she will sit, she will lie, she gives her paw. She plays fetch and will bring you her favourite toy to initiate a game. She is very playful and hugely affectionate. Prune is fine with other dogs and is often mixed with several others for playtime in the parks. When I was passing by earlier this week I stopped to say hello to her and she pushed herself up against the bars so I could pat her properly.

Prune is very affectionate

This is the sort of dog, the sort of behaviour, that keeps a dog in your mind and gives you sleepless nights when the weather is bad. Prune has no business at all being in a refuge. She is an eminently adoptable dog.

Prune loves her walks and although she is often at the far end of her lead, she does not pull. A quick call of her name (and it is her real name)) and she is back at your feet.

Prune loves her walks

Prune would make a great companion for just about anyone looking for a dog of medium to large size. I would say that Prune weighs about 30 kg or so, the perfect weight for her build. Yes, being a braque she will have a bit of the hunting instinct, but that is tempered by the labrador part of her, which keeps her close to whomever she is walking with.

Please share for our hidden gem, the lovely Prune. You can contact us here at DRC or the SCPA direct. Or if you are unable to adopt her yourself, please share.

black dog

Hidden Gem Tom has now been adopted

This is the first of what will be many longer pieces about dogs in whom DRC has a particular interest. For which read “A particular love”. On many occasions we have described a dog as a “hidden gem”, and our goal is to tell you more about these dogs and hopefully find them new homes quicker than would be the case otherwise.

This is Tom

Today we would like to introduce you to Tom. Unusually for a refuge dog, we know exactly what breed he is. This is because some great supporters of DRC adopted his sister, Théa (now renamed Betsy) a month or so ago, and they did a DNA test. Tom is 75% labrador and 25% mastiff. And this is a fabulous mix!

From the back he looks pure labrador, although one from working line, ie lower to the ground a stockier than their cousins from the beauty line. His head is squarer than a lab’s would be, and this is where the mastiff shows. He is all black apart from a bright white bib area and the tips of his toes, plus one bright white “sock”. He is simply stunning.

He is a stunning lad who was born in February 2019

Tom was born in February 2019, and so he was just out of puppy-hood when he arrived at the refuge at the start of October. But wherever he was before that, there was no mistreatment involved. Tom is a very sociable lad, with great body language. He likes children and although he can be a bit brusque when meeting other dogs, if introductions are done properly he mixes fine. He shares his kennel at the refuge. He seems intrigued by cats, as opposed to being aggressive, but further tests will be needed if he is to be awarded “cat-friendly status”.

He is wonderful on the lead, I took him out today on a long line but he chose to stay close to me. When I stopped and called his name he came to my side, leaning against my legs. Now who doesn’t like a dog that leans? Tom loves a cuddle, loves to have his belly rubbed and his back scratched. He is still quite puppy-like and has lots to learn, but he sits down when you ask him too and although he does jump up a bit, it is never aggressively.

Not the best photo in the world, but look at that beautiful smile!

We at DRC are in close touch with Tom’s sister’s new family, and we know that Betsy has been perfect from day one. She was house-trained and has fitted into their lives as if she has always been there. They are delighted with her and, like us, they adore Tom and want him to find a new home soon.

If you are looking for a young dog who already has some basic training, please consider offering a home to Tom. DRC would be happy to meet you at the refuge and help with any introductions, or if you would like any more information first, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Like all the dogs at the refuge, Tom is fully vaccinated, identified by microchip and castrated. He weighs about 20 kg (yes, he is not as big as you might expect) His adoption fee is €170. He really is a hidden gem; let’s get him adopted soon!

Look at his long sock!