We set off from our house in Esperaza, on a very hot August afternoon to visit Malaga (now Maddie) a young Griffon Bleu de Gascogne who had been abandoned by the Chasse and was being cared for at the SPA in Carcassonne. On arrival we waited for about ten minutes behind an English family that seemed to be very excited about getting a dog from the refuge. After they left we met Moira who set off to get Malaga from her kennel. I was quite taken aback as to how terrified she was of us and was concerned she would break out of her collar in an attempt to get away from us. Moira quickly suggested that she take her to an enclosed field where we could try and get to know her. She was so terrified she just ran around the perimeter of the fence and we went and sat in the shade under a tree and had a good old doggy chat.
I remember giggling at the dog in the next field who was playing with a rubber kong in a paddling pool, very scruffy looking and covered in mud. ( turned out it was the dog that was going to the family before us in the queue….Pitchou). He was having a great time in the water and about to go off on a new adventure to his new family. Malaga however was still circling the park keeping well away. We continued to chat about the dogs and after about 20 mins she came and sat beside me. Decision made, she was coming to Scotland. Moira very kindly arranged transport for her and when she arrived at our house she was still quite traumatised, constantly circling… she was too scared to come in the back door and she was so thin she could run through the bars of our garden gate.
However two months down the line with a lot of patience and lots of cuddles she has transformed into quite a rowdy but extremely lovable dog. Very boisterous first thing in the morning throwing her toys around and galloping around. She loves to chase the rabbits round our (large) garden. She comes back 99% of the time to a gundog whistle even though she’s a hound! She sits (for a bit of sausage) and walks relatively well on the lead. She loves to go walks and is keen to meet other people but still is a bit wary of strangers if they try to speak to her. Every day she is getting better though. A lot of the credit for her quick transformation must go to my lovely two Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens who are very relaxed and calm and have shown her the way – oh and yes the hubby too. I do think however they were secretly hoping that she was only staying for the weekend. She still needs to meet more people and experience more things so we have decided to enrol her at a local training class. Maddie is a joy to live with, very affectionate, very inquisitive, very funny and happy to please. We are very lucky to have her and we must thank all the good folks at the SPA for the fantastic work they do.