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Life After The Refuge

Duffy

I never thought I’d be writing another ‘life after the refuge’ post, about a different dog, but you never know what’s round the corner, so here I am.

 

We lost our lovely SPA adoptee, Mattie, in March ’17.   Mattie loved to chase cars, and one fateful day she chased one for too long, and lost. Our other dog, Skype, was with her when it happened.  Afterwards he became very calm and just like us, he grieved. It was obvious that he missed his canine companion, so we started talking about heading off to Carcassonne to find him a new friend.

 

Scanning the SPA Carcassonne site, we saw a puppy that looked quite cute, but when we got there, the puppy had been adopted 35 mins before.  It just wasn’t meant to be.

 

Then Darcy bounded up to Annette (a known fan of long eared hounds), and pretty much said “Have I got the dog for you!!!”. The dog in question still had her stitches in from sterilisation, and the wound was a bit of a mess, but “Paige” was bouncing around a park like she was made of springs. Our first impression was that she was a gorgeous, so we took a walk. Paige was interested in everything except us, so we went home in a bit of an unsure frame of mind. It took 10 days to decide that we wouldn’t want her to go to someone else, and home she came.

 

Noises

The first thing we found out about the newly renamed “Duffy”, is that she is scared of everything. Not as badly as some dogs, but gunshots two villages away would make her cower, tremble, or even try to escape out of a window; blades of grass in the wind blowing the wrong way would make her jump, and any noise from the TV would necessitate leaving the room in haste. Conversely, she moves around in almost complete silence. We have both tripped over her a number of times, purely through not hearing her walk up and sit behind us. She also has in inbuilt ‘off’ switch, and sleeps as soundly as anything if she feels safe – off in to the Land of Duff.

 

Names

The name Duffy suits her very well, but has so many diminutives, rhymes, and other plays on words that it’s a wonder she responds to shouts of “Duffy!” at all. A non-exhaustive list: Duffy, Duffs, Duff the Fluff, Fluffy, Doofus, Doofus Faloufus, Doofaloo, Ninja, Ninj, Evil one, Duffaflump, Flump, Duffalo, Fluffalo and Thing, to mention the main ones….

 

Training

Duffy clearly had none at all.  She has quickly learned to sit for food and a few other rules are slowly starting to sink in.  She can be quite headstrong, but sometimes she just sits and stares at us (or the fire) with a far-away expression, so ‘slowly’ is definitely the word …

 

Crate training

The first night in her crate, Duffy was as good as gold. The next nights, she was panicked and yelled the place down. She’s bent the door of her crate and even managed to bend Skype’s Rosewood crate (apparently one of the strongest on the market). We tried leaving the crate open and the office door shut, but she tried to batter down the door.   She hates to be trapped and we were losing a lot of sleep so we came to an unspoken compromise. Duffy now goes to bed quite happily, but we barely engage the bolt, so she can break out easily and fairly quietly. We sometimes come downstairs in the morning to an open crate but Duffy still in it, fast asleep. The scariest moment (for her as well I suspect) was when she got out of her crate and tried to come upstairs by jumping over the stair gate. She got stuck between the slats with paws hanging in the air, suspended by her tummy. Lots of screaming and a quick rescue, but she’s never tried it again. She can still get through it if panicked (like in a thunderstorm) but we have no idea how!

 

Walking

Over the Summer we walked both dogs together, but as soon as the hunting season started, Duffy started refusing to go out in the morning; she would hide and tremble, even in the car. Evening walks were better, but there were still traumas. We made the decision early on to not let her off the lead, as a single gunshot or car backfire could have her taking flight and hiding in a different Department in a few minutes.  I am fortunate in that I have clients with big enclosed gardens that are happy to let the dogs have a run off the lead, so we do let her off and see her in full flight occasionally.

 

Dog jealousy

Skype’s initial reaction to welcoming a new dog into his home was not as calm we expected.  Thankfully, within 48 hours that changed and they have been friends and playmates ever since.  Duffy is so affectionate and such a cutie that she gets away with an awful lot of things she shouldn’t!   Simply with a flick of the ears and a wink of an eye people instantly love her. However, the 2 dogs are now happy to use each other as pillows, and even sleep sharing a crate (usually his).  She’s incredibly playful and we think she has a lot of puppyhood to catch up on – and usually Skype obliges to be the punchbag.

 

The right decision

Welcoming Duffy into the family has been great for us and for Skype (and hopefully another doggy has benefitted from the space left in the SPA).  Duffy, 16 months later (her Gotcha day was the 24th april), isn’t scared of TV noise unless it’s a really noisy war film, she’s as affectionate and cuddly as you could wish for, and we count ourselves very lucky that there has been no sign whatsoever so far in either dog of aggression to other dogs or humans. She’s also gained quite a few kilos so her ribs are no longer sticking out like sticks.  She does jump up for cuddles with strangers, and can be quite insistent, but once the ears have been scratched, she’ll settle on a dog bed (or usually a sofa), and go off to sleep and snore in the special Land of Duff.

Duffy and Skype are great friends!

 

Life after the Refuge – Frisbee

Many thanks to Jemma for this article where she writes about her family’s reasons for wishing to adopt from the ScPA and the whole adoption experience.

If you would like to write an article about your ex- ScPA dog, please get in touch!

We’re a young(ish!) family with two children, Patrick and Aimée.  We had Molly, a slightly overweight, always hungry, water loving Labrador for 12 years. We added Rosie to our family, a kind but a little grumpy Labrador a few years later.

Rosie

The truth of the situation is we bought these two wonderful dogs as we were worried, with young children, that an adopted dog may be aggressive or unpredictable.  Finally, we saw Cookie (previously sage), a Labrador cross puppy on the SPA Facebook page and we couldn’t resist adding yet again. She looked so sad on her photo that I knew I would do anything to see her happy.  She is the happiest, craziest dog you will ever meet, so we quickly wondered why we waited so long to adopt.  We made a pact that in the future we would always adopt. We were a happy three dog family for a few years.

Cookie – adopted as a puppy from the ScPA

In March this year, we had to say a tearful goodbye to Molly as age caught up to her and she was in pain.  Of course, we knew how hard it would be to say goodbye, but we grossly underestimated the pain and loss we would feel.  Our children were inconsolable and whilst we tried to be strong for them, in the evenings while they slept, we too cried tears of sadness.

yellow lab

Molly

We imagined that we’d wait a few years before adopting another furry friend, in fact I remember saying that I couldn’t go through that pain again so I was unsure I could ever have another dog.  However, as it happened, over a few weeks, we noticed that Rosie and Cookie were also suffering, they were so used to being three that they seemed lost and lonely.  We quickly realised it was the same for us.  We spoke for a long time and decided that the time had come to adopt another puppy.  We were happy to wait as long as needed.  In fact, we didn’t need to.  As soon as I messaged the ever helpful Darcey, and mentioned Gary also loves Alsatians, and that we were more than happy to have a cross again, she sent a photo of Frisbee.  She was 6 months old and it was love at first sight.

Frisbee, adopted from the ScPA

We were in Holland on holiday but we had to meet her asap, so after a ridiculously long drive, we turned up at the SPA with the kids.  We were a bit naughty , we told them Darcey needed our help walking a few dogs (as we’d done this before) so she gave us Frisbee and sent us off into the fields.  Patrick and Aimée were taken with her straight away.  Frisbee was kind and gentle, but very shy and looked like she needed a good dinner!  She was nervous, but walked beautifully with us.  She seemed particularly nervous of Gary and if we moved our hands too fast, she backed away and went low.  She didn’t show any signs of aggression so at only 6 months, we decided that we could show her she could trust humans.  The kids were ecstatic when we said we’d adopt her.

Aimée and Patrick with their beloved Frisbee 

After Frisbee was sterilised, she came home with us to recover and from the start, created a firm bond with Cookie, running around our garden, wagging and play fighting.  The relationship with Rosie took longer as she’s so damn grumpy!  But I’m pleased to say they’re now good friends.

After a couple of weeks with hugs and fusses, Frisbee grew in confidence.  She looks at us adoringly and quickly grew to love us all (although she’s a Daddy’s girl!)

I teach children aged 5-16 on Wednesdays and adults all week.  I really wanted to socialise Frisbee more and as her trust in us grew, so did my trust in her.  I let her meet all my adult students and she rose to the challenge, sitting in front of every new person allowing them to fuss her freely – whilst trying to sneak in the occasional lick!  I then moved on to introducing to her to my younger students in groups of 8.  Some of them are scared of dogs, especially bigger ones.  For these kids, I assured them if they stood over the other side of the classroom, I wouldn’t allow her near them but those who wanted to fuss her could do this one at a time, sat down.  Frisbee was simply amazing, she sat in front of each child individually, nuzzling their hands gently and calmly.  It’s like she could sense some of them were nervous so she was as calm as possible.  It was a beautiful sight to behold and pretty unbelievable for a 7 month old puppy!  Now I only have one child who remains terrified of dogs, the rest have fallen in love with Frisbee and happily fuss her every week.

Happy dogs mean a happy family!

The whole experience of adopting has been wonderful for us, and although we still miss Molly incredibly, Frisbee has helped to heal our broken hearts.  Dogs are with us for a short time, but the memories they bring us make the pain worthwhile.  We’ll continue to adopt as we lose our furry babies, and in the meantime, try to help the SPA when and where we can in their mission. Their advice and help has been invaluable to our family and we’d encourage anyone to contact them to find their perfect animal member of the family.

 

 

Arthur..

The joy of our life, Arthur was adopted by us in October 2016 from the SPA in Carcassonne. We wanted a dog since moving to France and we trawled the internet looking at various dog sites to find the perfect match. We went through the idea of buying a puppy and decided we wanted an older dog and therefore, why not a rescue dog? It just made a lot of sense to have a rescue dog. My husband who should have been a vet, couldn’t stand the thought of all those rescues out there without homes. The sadder the situation the more his heart opened. We nearly settled on a poor 9 year old dog who had had a rotten life, but she was taken before we got our act together.

 

This time wasn’t wasted, as we were able to be acquainted with the various problems that rescues can come with, and also we started to mentally collect our shortlist together. Meanwhile we were chatting to Moira at the SPA at Carcassonne but we couldn’t settle on the ideal dog. I remember this time of going on to their website and learning off by heart the details of each dog as we were on there every day. We also sorted out what was important to us, we are able to take our dog for walks everyday, had a large garden, but didn’t want to be out there for hours. Finally, we took the plunge and drove down to Carcassonne to see the dogs upfront. We kade a pact that if there wasn’t a dog that appealed we would drve back empty handed rather than taking a second best.

 

We live in Brittany and the SPA was a good 8 hour drive away. We bought doggie things some sensible, others less so! Then we were off to see the SPA. I was first taken aback by all the barking when we arrived at their compound. Barking to me is a no-no with my dogs so a bit hard to adjust. I have since learned that compound dogs do this to attract your attention, so be warned! We met Moira and she suggested that we walked round all the cages before making up our minds. By the time we finished our rounds my husband was convinced to take them all back with us! We were toying with the idea of two dogs, and fortunately Moira talked us out of it, and she was right, the settling in period is very important for a successful adoption.

 

A scruffy looking dog in a cage on his own took my eye, and while Moira and my husband were discussing doggie things, I walked over to see this large ball of scruffiness. He didn’t bark like the others as he was a new dog, just in last week. We fell in love with him straight away and knew that he was the dog for us. Moira suggested a walk with him, and joy oh joy he never pulled on the lead, not once!

 

He came home on the freedom van, they delivered right to our doorstep. And at 7 years of age, Arthur started his new life with us. It took him about 3 months to settle in. He never barked, and never pulled on his lead. We learnt that he had an amazing habit of doing his toilet on top of things, like a rock or shrub or even tall grass. Once in a motorway services area he managed to put an artistic gathering of poo on top of one of the large kerbside stones! I scooped it up immediately, hoping to goodness, that no one saw us. But he could have got 9 out of 10 for artistic merit!!!

 

Arthur slept in his own bed in our bedroom and there was never a toilet mishap. As he grew more confident he started to pull on his lead, so much so that I couldn’t manage him. I was conned by an expert! We devised a Halti with harness system and he is unable to pull, only to stop and try to pull off the Halti. He still hasn’t accepted it, but puts up with it on our daily walks through the countryside.

 

Everywhere we go everyone wants to stop and pat him. Particularly in England. His breed is the oldest in France, especially bred for hunting, a Griffon Nivernais. Unfortunately, their hunting trait is so good that even now if Arthur picks up a scent he wants to be off. This is a downfall for recall though! Sadly, we cannot let him off the lead outside of our garden. He does eventually come back but it may be hours.

 

One unusual habit that he formed in the back of our estate car is to lick the side windows, going from side to side to lick them with a high pitch squealing sound! We haven’t resolved that one yet but giving him less room slows him down a bit. When we got our other rescue dog, he learnt that he can bark at other dogs! So he can be a quick learner if he wants to. We drive up to the UK frequently and he is a good sailor as well as learning that motorway driving is sleeping time.

 

One cat of ours likes to snuggle up to him in the evenings when we are settled on the sofa, Arthur doesn’t mind at all, but when the purring drives him mad, he leaps off and makes himself comfortable somewhere else. The same cat though plays ‘Chasey’ through the house with him, they take turns chasing each other. It is hilarious to watch a 25 kg dog being chased by a 5 kg cat!

 

Our lives have changed since we got Arthur, we have a furry animal that loves to be with us and curl up beside us when he wants some company. He is our watchdog when it comes to strangers, dogs and the occasional attack by a local cat he warns us with his loud, deep bark. He is great with children, friendly with other dogs and our family and friends. What more could a dog owner want?

 

The choice of having a second dog was confirmed quickly as he made friends and became best buddy with our other rescue dog straight away. There are times unfortunately that we can’t take him on our travels, so having a ‘sister’ is good company when they are put into boarding kennels. As you can see, she has taught him some naughty tricks but that is to be expected. We went back to the SPA Carcassonne to find our second dog, but there were none suitable at that point. However, Moira came up trumps hearing of a dog on her doggy grapevine. All has worked out well since. And when the sad time comes when he passes on to doggy heaven, we will be in contact with the SPA Carcassonne again to have another rescue dog.

Arthur…a happy boy!

 

Life of Brian

Today the refuge is shut, so we are happy to share yet another tale from our section devoted to Life after the Refuge. Tonight’s guest blogger is Kim, who, with husband Arthur, adopted Gino a week or so ago. All is going well, as you can see below.

Brian (fomerly Gino)

Well, where do I begin. My name is Brian. I was adopted from the SPA in Carcassonne on Friday 9th February 2018, so only a week or so ago and I already have my paws well and truly settled under the table.

My original name was Gino, but my new feeding lady had to change it because every time she called me she would start singing the Geno song from the 1980s, it was driving her madder than she already is, though that isn’t difficult, it doesn’t take much for her to be a bit batty.

I have a new sister called Roxy, she’s lovely most of the time, we have had a few spats but it soon calmed down, especially when the feeding lady said she wouldn’t give us a treat, blimey, that was a shock to hear, no treats! but I love my bits of apple and stuff she sneaks to me.

Ain’t I cute? And look at my sexy bum!

She whispers in my ears that I am a lovely boy and she will love me forever, not just me Roxy as well, she thinks we’re the bees knees (I didn’t know bees had knees)

I get fed twice a day, which is brilliant, feeding lady mixes grated carrot and chopped apple in with my biscuits, AND, I get sardines or yogurt in it as well, Roxy only gets fed once a day but that’s because she’s smaller than I am and fatter but don’t tell her that. Oh oh oh, we get to go for 2 or 3 walks every day, unless it’s raining, then the mad lady only get to take us once if she’s really lucky, I don’t like the rain much and my new bezza mate hates it, so we get to stay warm and very farty in the house, it’s brilliant.

Here I am, all warm and farty

The weather up here is wayyyy colder than it is in Carcassonne, I get to wear a new coat every day but sometimes the sun shines and it’s lovely and warm so I go on more walks in the forest and by a canal somewhere oooh I nearly forgot, Roxy likes rolling in poo nearly as much as me, the thing I don’t understand is why the feeding lady goes a bit weirdly batty, all I can hear is ‘NONONONONONONO’ this is when I decide I can only understand French, it’s great being a bilingual dog, I can get away with selective hearing.

In the snow with my friend Roxy. She’s okay….

There’s only a few things I don’t like very much, mad feeding lady cleans my ears out twice every day and puts squidgy stuff in them, not only that she cleans one of my eyes and puts stuff in that as well, she tells me it’s going to stop my ears itching and my eye will feel better, oh the price we dogs have to pay just to keep you humans happy!

So, a week of living with feeding lady, Roxy and beardy bloke, I think I’ll stay, I’ll let you all know how things go but I reckon I’m gonna be happy here. Sorry, I have to go, I was sure I heard something that sounds like food, I need to rest my head on anyone’s knee to help them feel sorry for me, maybe if I breathe in I’ll look like a little waif! that might work, Bye for now.

Life is GOOD!

Lots of love Brian

Once upon a time..

Once upon a time, there were two little Border Terriers, Gimli and Hector , who moved from their home in London to their new home in SW France. They were so happy when they arrived to find that their humans had bought them a lovely little farm, with lots of lands to run around, explore and have adventures! They settled in very quickly and soon Hector was regularly bringing mice in from the barns, happy days .

Tragically, after only 3 years in their new found paradise, poor Gimli had to be put to sleep, a chronic spinal problem, leaving an utterly devastated Hector. For over a month he pined and only left the house to do his business, leaving his humans even sadder. They could take it no more, so started to research adopting a puppy. A litter of Griffons needed homing from the SPA near Bergerac and so it came to pass that Porthos came to cheer Hector up and bring the sparkle back into his life! As soon as they met, they became real buddies and they played and they played!

About 18 months after Porthos arrived, there was a terrible problem in the garden with foxes coming in and out in broad daylight, trying to steal the chickens. Both dogs were very good at guarding the chickens and after about 3 weeks of constant raids by the fox, both dogs took chase one afternoon and disappeared! After a week of searching and agonising, Porthos just trotted up the garden one afternoon! He was definitely worse for wear, but home in one piece. Hector had gone on the chasse of his life ……

There is a happy ending to this tale, but you’ll have to wait a bit, and you may need a box of tissues! Porthos continued to live happily enough with his humans, except to say that he had started fitting occasionally. The vets did tests but said that as he was so young he would probably grow out of them. He did n’t. One night he passed away in my husband’s arms, unable to control or stop the massive and fatal fit that just kept going on and on. Absolutely heartbreaking. And then there were none, no dogs at all, and the house was still. But we still hear them, don’t we?

The humans were too heartbroken and needed time to grieve. But as the months passed, the void needed filling, so enter SPA Carcassonne ! It was time to give an older dog a new start and the story of Shadow, with his little face looking at us out of the website, had us sold! His papers say he is a Pyrenean Berger X , so he’s a medium-sized dog, and the vet said he should weight about 20kg . When we adopted him, he was just over 30kg !!! Lots of short walks and a controlled feeding plan slowly got his weight down, improved his fitness and therefore his joie de vivre! He wasn’t always the easiest at the beginning, as he was the best thief I have ever known, and once he had something in his mouth he would make a terrible noise until left to eat it at leisure – whatever disgusting object it was! He must have the most amazing constitution! Anyway, we love him dearly now and so much so, it was decided to get him a pal.

Shadow

SPA Carcassonne came good again with a super young Griffon who we have named Dreyfus ! He was only just over 2yrs when we adopted him. I was always sure he was a lovely boy, but when he first came to live with us , he was incredibly timid. More of men than women. The saving grace was that he really wanted to stay close to home, to us. So when people came to the house, we would make sure that he was free to hide or come and say hello as he wished, and over time this did the trick! A good ignoring by guests was always the best way for him to find the confidence to say hello. He is an absolutely adorable chap and loving constant attention from us now, we are never alone !!!!

Dreyfus

Ah, that happy ending, I hear you say! Not just yet! Wait for it ………

One rainy day in May 2017 , we went up to the village for a coffee. But en route was noticed a scruffy, fat little dog in the rain, by the side of the road. I told my husband to stop the car, which he did, I opened my door and called “Hector” !!!! Within 5 seconds he was on my lap going crazy! It was our Hector! Still wearing our collar, although a bit tight as he was so fat! So, 2 years and 7 months later, we found him !!!

Hector

A Chien Perdu notice appeared the next day, so I managed to find the lady who had kindly taken him in. It transpires that an elderly man had found him and taken him in, and kept him for 2 years as a lap dog and companion until he passed away. The family didn’t want the dog, so Videane offered to look after him for a couple of weeks until a more permanent owner could be found. That’ll be 7 months then! She is a really lovely lady and was delighted to get “Dog” as she called him, back to his rightful owners. She pops in regularly to say hello, and he is always very pleased to see her.

So, there you have your happy ending ! We now have 3 dogs !! They all get on very well, although Hector is top dog! The really lovely thing about our two adoptees is that they haven’t got a bad bone in them, they are never aggressive and get on with every dog they meet out and about. It’s so nice never having to worry.

So, there ends the tale of the three dogs who at this moment are laying in front of the fire, blissfully unaware of what I am writing about them. Occasionally a twitching paw and a little squeak gives away a dream, and I’m happy that they are safe and warm. It’s a dog’s life and I’m glad that their Once upon a time has ended with a Happy ever after 😍

Shadow, Hector and Dreyfus!

 

Faro..

When we went on holiday to see our friends in Carcassonne in June 2015, we weren’t on the look out for a dog. We went to the SPA with my friend who volunteers, to do some dog walking – and we met Faro. A little black, rough haired doggie who was terrified of his own shadow and even more terrified of men… but beautifully well behaved on the lead, he just kept looking up at me with those wide eyes. We were smitten.

When we got home, we couldn’t stop thinking about him hiding in the back of his kennel, and three weeks later had reserved him and arranged travel back to Carcassonne to fetch him.

In my ignorance, I just thought he would love being in a warm loving home on a fleecy blanket with lots of yummy food… but no… to him the SPA Kennel was safety from whatever he had endured in a previous life. He barely moved from the sofa for some time and we had to build his trust and confidence very slowly. Television was super scary and squeaky balls had to be put away. But he always loved being with other dogs and our fantastic dog walker quickly became a third trusted person in his life.

It took some time but I can honestly say it is the best thing we have ever done – Faro has changed our lives and we love him unconditionally. His trust and loyalty in us is amazing and he is now a lively and loving dog who loves nothing more than a big run and then to curl up with his head on your lap (and he now loves a squeaky ball too!!). He still has his nervous moments and doesn’t 100% trust everyone but his progress is incredible and you wouldn’t recognise him as the same dog. He has even been to France on holiday with us last year and took a visit back to the SPA.

The team at the SPA and DRC do an incredible job and their advice and support was fantastic. The best piece of advice was to use a harness and double lead – I can’t imagine what he would have done if he had pulled out of his collar in those very early nervous days. I thoroughly recommend adopting a rescue dog and giving them a new life – we would do it all over again.

Faro…enjoying life like all dogs should!

Jazz…

It’s been 22 months now since that gorgeous sunny day in February 2016, when we made the 4-hour drive down to Carcassonne with our 11 year-old Border Collie, to meet our newest family member for the first time. Just 2 months old, Jazz (Tania) melted all our hearts and we were back again shortly afterwards to adopt and bring her home with us to Charente-Maritime. A mischievous bundle of energy, she loved exploring her new garden and getting to know us as well as her new big sister! With lots of summer visitors to our gîte she is never short of playmates and adores a game of chase on the field, rural and coastal walks, not to mention all the extra fuss and cuddles.

Her legs seemed to grow daily in the early days and it wasn’t long before we began to realise that she was, in fact a border collie crossed with another breed, quite possibly a lurcher, but certainly a sight hound, given her sheer speed and determination to chase rather than herd. Not a problem at all, although as long-time collie owners we knew we would have to change tack on the training front. Recall was going to be a bigger challenge than we expected, but we persevered and she is now much better.

Fast-forward to late summer and we noticed a protrusion when she needed to wee. A prolapse, we thought, so we headed off smartly to our local vet. A thorough examination and an x-ray later, we discovered that we are the proud (if somewhat non-plussed) owners of a dog in a million: Jazz is a hermaphrodite with elements of both male and female organs.  Our vet was amazed and explained that they did not have the expertise to carry out the required procedures to neuter her. Not an issue as we were headed to the UK for an extended visit, so a trip to our old veterinary clinic was duly booked.

Jazz became something of a celebrity as our UK vet had to seek advice worldwide in order to decide on the best course of action to neuter her, so rare is the condition. Her womb was removed along with testes that were found in place of her ovaries! Bless her, she was a little star as she recuperated from her operation although walkies were severely restricted for a few weeks. Repeat visits as she healed ensured she has a special place in the hearts of the vets and nurses back in the UK and they still ask after her. Pleased to report that she is back to her best and an integral part of the clan.

Variety is the spice of life they say, so after another summer of fun and frolics in the Charentais sun we are now temporarily relocated in NE England for the winter, where the beaches can rival anything the French Atlantic Coast has to offer. Daily walks along the sands, chasing a ball and playing with scores of other four-legged friends have become the norm and both dogs are delighted with their new surroundings, whatever the weather. It will be a joy to return to warmer weather, the fields and the peace of rural France in the spring, but for now Jazz and the rest of the family are looking forward to the festive season in NE England. It is, after all, the most wonderful Tyne of the year!

Jazz….like most border collies, a fast mover!

Faro….

We have had Faro since 24th July 2016 after seeing him on the Griffon rescue site and falling in  love.   At first, he was very nervous about everything even other dogs.  Gradually at his own pace, he has come out of his shell, some would say too far out, he is quite vocal about letting you know what he wants.

Although he walks nicely on the lead he really doesn’t like anyone walking behind him even now.  As we do not know his history we have wondered why this was.  Recently he was at the vet’s with a suspected blockage in his bowel, he was given a scan and they found he had thirteen shotgun pellets in his bottom, so I guess this is the reason. (His bowel is fine now).

When we first had him he gobbled his food while watching our other dogs eat theirs, terrified they would take his, but now is much more relaxed.

This is the first Griffon Bleu I have owned and I don’t know if they are all as affectionate as Faro, he would let you cuddle him twenty-four hours if you had the time.  I have had several different breeds of dogs over the years but I have never known a dog look at me with so much love in his eyes. Obviously, he is a failed hunting dog, so he is a nose on legs, but enjoys his walks especially on the beach where he loves to lay down on the water’s edge.  He is a special little character and I wouldn’t be without him, it has been a long road for him but it has been well worth it.

Faro …enjoying life in the UK.

Yoshi…

Yoshi is doing really well, he has grown quite a bit he now 50 kilo`s and really well muscled he is like small tank.

Because of his size and weight, he also has an undercut to bottom jaw I am now convinced that he is actually a cane corso. He is very good natured and gets on with other dogs, he has had his first trip to the UK last Xmas and met a lot different other dogs, unfortunately I couldn’t let him off the lead as my house is on the edge of a built up area, he does get very exited meeting other dogs and can be quite a handful jumping around and wanting to play. He is extremely playful dog, but he is also very cuddly he likes to get on my lap sometimes after breakfast and sometimes of an evening and goes to sleep.

He now has a girlfriend, another rescue dog from Spain. She has been with me since March and has settled in well, and is good playmate for Yoshi, play fighting and chasing around the garden, they both love toys and share them most of the time.

I`ve added some photos as you will see he is much bigger now than when you last saw him.

 

Yoshi. ( left )

Paddington, Texas and Gino…

After travelling around Europe for a few years in our motorhome with our Husky ‘Beau’ we settled on a place in the forest about 7km from Quillan. We are off grid and surrounded by beauty and open space. Unfortunately our dog Beau was killed by a vehicle in May this year. We were devastated by our loss and never contemplated another dog at that time.  Beau was an outside dog and we had failed to realise how much destructive wildlife he had actually kept of our homestead! We don’t like the idea of fences of any kind but the boar and deer soon made their presence felt!

After much consideration, we decided to visit the SPA at Carcassonne and see about perhaps adopting a rescue dog. Diane had spotted a dog on the website who was called Paddington! We visited the SPA and walked him out. We both felt that he was a dog we would get on with and after sleeping on it we decided to see if we could live together. After dealing with the process of adoption which was made very smooth and easy by all the staff at SPA we adopted Paddington.

It took ‘Paddington’ now renamed Hachi about a day to realise he liked us and wanted to stay!! He is the most brilliant dog. After some weeks we decided that we could cope with a companion for Hachi and as Hachi was such a good dog we returned to the SPA. And had a wander around seeing a few potential pals for Hachi. We spoke to our friend and contact at the SPA Moira to say that we were interested in a very sorry looking  Bull terrier, having some experience with the breed but as there were still some issues with his health we were prepared to wait!

Moira mentioned a possible home to home adoption of a very handsome husky cross looking for a new home due to a change of circumstances. We met the owners and Texas came home with us that day, and soon settled into his new home. A few weeks later Gino the EBT was ready for adoption! Well to cut a long story short, we are now 3 dogs richer, all with their own quirks and personalities but our lives are immensely enriched thanks to the excellent work done by the SPA.

Paddington, Texas and Gino..