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Three adoptions!

Today was a great day for a special girl and for a lovely family who is awaiting her arrival in the UK. This summer a family came to the SPA to visit with perhaps a view to adopting a dog. Dad and the three daughters had been working on mum for ages, and she finally relented, providing the dog was small enough.

They immediately fell in love with Fifi, and then went through several agonising days worrying if Fifi’s owners would come to find her. The ten days passed, during which the family visited almost every day, sometimes stopping just briefly on their way back from the beach, sometimes grandma was with them too. This is very much a family affair! Their holiday ended, but a week later mum and dad were back for a further week with friends and again, high on their agenda was to visit Fifi.

Today was the glorious day! Thanks to an appeal for help with transportation, a friend of volunteer Julie’s offered to take Fifi back to the UK, where her new family is waiting excitedly. The Scott family have been in regular contact and by all accounts the three daughters are practically holding a street party to welcome her! No doubt news and photo will follow. Yes, this tiny girl risks being spoilt, but Dad assures us that she will be going to dog training and that Fifi will be no lap dog! Hmmm.

Nice to have some good news for a change, isn’t it?

And that is not all, not by any means.

I could be wrong, but I think this is the only time that the SPA Facebook “Dog of the Week” has been adopted during the week when he was featured. Yes, beautiful Iron left today, to live on a huge estate. This boy had a terrible start in life. He was one of only two puppies who survived being thrown into the rubbish dump at Trebes. He was subsequently adopted when he was tiny but then brought back to the SPA having been given away to someone who did not want him either. It was all the harder to see him at the refuge, knowing that his brother, Kobi, is living a life of luxury with volunteer Rosa.

But now that is all over, and Iron has finally found love.

But there is more!  On August 11th a very poorly little dog arrived at the refuge. Reggie was in a terrible state, with what was clearly a serious neurological problem. Our main priority was to find out if he was suffering and if anything could be done to help him. The answer to both questions was no. Happy though he is, Reggie is wobbly when he walks and his condition is irreversible. But that does not mean he is not worthy of being rehomed and loved.

Enter SPA supporter Marieange, who spends her time caring for animals in distress or who are deemed unadoptable. She wrote to us some time ago to say that she had room for a small dog, regardless of age or handicap.  After Reggie’s magnificent “makeover” on Tuesday, this little boy was ready to leave, and off he went today. I cannot put into words how grateful we are to Marieange, nor how much contempt we feel for Reggie’s former owners, who left this tiny dog to fend for himself when what he needed was help.

Two of yesterday’s entries (the two that we did not have photos of) were reclaimed, so although the numbers are a bit up, they are not as bad as they were. And we had an excellent reservation….and it won’t be long before you know who it is!

Fifi starts her journey with Bruce!

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Reggie when he arrived in mid August

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And leaving today after a lovely makeover (thanks to Sabrina and Stephane)

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Four dog Friday!

There was a time when we could expect great things from the start of the weekend, with blogs entitled “Five dog Friday” and so on. Nowadays just having one adoption seems miraculous. So I personally would have been reasonably happy with today’s first miracle; the adoption of Cola! This is a fabulous dog, who much to my surprise had been at the refuge for nearly four months before being adopted. On photos she looked like a big girl, and it was only when you saw her in real life or in a photo next to an object whose size was familiar, like a car tyre, that you realised how small she was.

As many of you know, there is currently building work taking place on the refuge. One of the jobs being carried out is the partition of the lower kennels with proper walls so that the dogs in neighbouring boxes do not see each other. During this time, there is a fair amount of “dog juggling” going on, as clearly the workers need the boxes to be empty when they are laying concrete. Some dogs are in the parks and others are in kennels elsewhere on the refuge, wherever there is space, in fact.

It was while Cola was in the upper kennels that someone finally noticed her. In general the lower boxes are used for bigger dogs, and many people do not go down there. The fact that Cola was sharing with Tanguy meant that she was in a “big dog’s” kennel, rather than with the medium dogs. So although she has had more space while she has been with us, she has perhaps stayed longer than necessary.

However, none of that matters now, Cola has a new home!

But the BIG adoption of the day was that of Tina. She used to belong to a homeless person, who collected her each time she arrived at the refuge. Apart from the most recent time, which was in August 2012.  Yes, over two years ago! Tina was timid and had never seen a lead before. It took a lot of patience and love from both employees and volunteers alike but Tina became gradually less nervous of people and finally she captured the hearts of two of our volunteers, and today she was adopted.

It is always wonderful when volunteers adopt; we know it is not a passing whim, as they know the dog in question well, and have taken the time to reflect before making their choice. I am sure Tina will be very happy, but I hope that we don’t lose two such fabulous volunteers! Please keep coming; we need you; the dogs need you!

Not only that, but Gloria’s owners had second thoughts and came back to get her. Plus we had the adoption of a puppy as well, so it was Four dog Friday, which isn’t too bad!










Tina – ADOPTED (after 2 years)













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Ichimi – ADOPTED



A bit better, but we are still very full…..

Today was not as bad as yesterday…..the little pinscher found her home (but not before Moira had time for a cuddle, little Nina was just adorable), and another little dog was reclaimed too. Things at the refuge remain critical, however, with very little space remaining, and yet more people contacting us about dogs they no longer want. It must be understood that days like yesterday, with its 7 arrivals, 3 of which were critical mistreatment cases, must always take priority over dogs who already have homes but whose owners do not want them.

We need to keep at least a couple of boxes free, otherwise what do we do when the police or mayors arrive with dogs? We cannot put animals into the parks, with storms raging all around as they are right now.

The three boxers who arrived yesterday will be homed via a specialist association; I won’t post photos as no one needs to see things like that; adult boxers who weigh 12 kg are not a pretty sight. All three will be fine, though, and in a week or so will be strong enough to be vaccinated. Yet another three dogs who are better off at the SPA…..

On the subject of which, Gus is looking much better. Today he was given a long lasting anti flea collar; due to being underweight on arrival, Gus has still not had his second vaccination, so walks are still not allowed. But cuddles are! Here he is, complete with his collar. Thanks again to Jane and friends for sponsoring this lovely boy.

We had a reservation today, just a small dogs, but she is very unhappy at the SPA, so it is great that she will be off soon. I wonder if you can guess who it is?


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Guess – RECLAIMED (she is not blurry in real life)













And Gus with his new anti- flea collar. Feel the love!

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One out but five in :(

Those of you who live anywhere near Carcassonne will have seen and heard the enormous thunderstorms this afternoon. Not exactly the ideal weather for the animals at the refuge or for visitors either. However despite the torrential downpour, there was some good news!

Today saw the departure of Mirza. She had been found and brought to the refuge on August 28th. As there was no room inside at all at the time (puppies need to be indoors for their own protection as unvaccinated puppies have virtually no immunity), Mirza was taken home by Fabrice to foster. As we suspected, it did not take long for this little girl to catch someone’s eye, and today Mirza left for her new home. She probably spent a total of 30 minutes at the SPA; when she arrived and when she left.

Oh, if only it could be like that for all the dogs and cats!

Sadly four more puppies arrived today, and unlike Mirza they will not go to a foster home. I have lost count of the number of puppies who have arrived this year; but sadly I am all too aware of the number at the refuge. All are gradually growing older and missing out on all the fun of puppyhood. And of course each time a new, younger litter arrives, the “older” pups become less attractive in the eyes of many adopters. And as for the adults, their chances don’t get any better either; it is all too easy to fall for the charms of a puppy!

Three little boys and one little girl have made up the “sushi litter”. They appear to be labrador crosses and look suspiciously like they are related to Jade and Julia. We also had the arrival of a n adult and I will get information about him tomorrow.  Another bad day, for both dogs and cats (a mother and her 3 kittens). Yet again it is due to people not sterilising their animals.

But don’t worry, tomorrow there will be good news, I promise!

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One of today’s four new puppies


Skipton skips off and a collection at Maxi Zoo

Those of you who do not have Facebook but who follow this blog, may not be aware that the lovely people at Maxi Zoo in Carcassonne are hosting a collection on behalf of the cats of the SPA. A further day is planned for the dogs later in the year, and of course anything that benefits the SPA helps both dogs and cats…The more money we save thanks to donations means the more cash we have to spend elsewhere. So if you can pop along to see us tomorrow, whether you are a dog or cat lover, your support would be very welcome.

Maxi Zoo can be found at 170B, rue Alessandro Volta, ZAE La Ferraudière, which is close to the airport area (Decathlon, Tridome etc). We will be present from 10H00-19H00. Come and say hello. And if you prefer to donate something for the dogs instead of the cats, we will not turn it down, although as I say, a dog day is planned for a bit later on.

At the SPA, little Skipton, the Yorkie, was adopted, having arrived on August 10th. That means he was with us for 19 days. This is quite long enough for his former owner to have come to reclaim him, even in summer. Despite some of the comments on Facebook, we cannot possibly keep dogs indefinitely just in case his owners decide to come looking three weeks later. The same ten day rule applies to small dogs as to big ones. It is not necessarily the case that a Yorkshire terrier is more likely than a big dog to have a good owner. Skipton had the offer of a new, loving home, so we let him leave and we wish him well.

There was one new arrival, but I have no more information than that, so all I can say is that pictures will follow.

We hope to see you either at the SPA or at Maxi Zoo tomorrow; or maybe even at both!

Meet us and see pictures of the SPA cats tomorrow at Maxi  Zoo from 10H00-19H00











Skipton – ADOPTED and now at his home!



Just walk away, Renée

A mixed day at the SPA today. Someone left an empty cage in one of the exterior boxes, so we will never know what small animal escaped from it. The owners did not have the courage to walk in and hand the animal over to make sure it was safe. And no, they were not donating an empty cage, as there was food left inside, and sawdust. So some small creature (a kitten, a rat, a ferret?) is now lost in the middle of nowhere, or perhaps already dead. For every wonderful person out there, there is always someone who makes you despair at their idiocy and selfishness.

In better news, Ilda left the SPA. This is the little girl who was brought in on August 19th by the police of Limoux after being abandoned by her owner who no longer wanted her. Dog Rescue Carcassonne knew of her plight before she was brought in, but did not manage to find a “home to home” in time. However once she was at the SPA and we were able to meet her and take some better photos, Moira’s plotting came to fruition! Ilda has not left for her forever home, but is being fostered by Elinor, a great supporter of the SPA and adopter of Maddie (ex Malaga), who is going to give her loads of love and then deliver her to Scotland when she and her husband return home in a couple of weeks.

We will have an official adoption announcement when she reaches her final destination, and in the meantime we will have news and photos thanks to Elinor. The first one has arrived already. Ilda has been renamed Renée which of course means “reborn”. And she is already looking a lot happier, isn’t she? Great work Team!

Two dogs arrived today. Copernic is a lovely looking cross breed and we will have more information about him in due course. Who knows, perhaps his owner is looking for him……And then we had a tiny female yorkie brought in having been found in Palaja. She, unlike Copernic, is identified, but the details on her tattoo are not up to date. Let’s hope her owners think of contacting the SPA, otherwise she will be looking for a home at the age of ten years.

Ilda, now Renée – in foster before moving to Scotland!








Copernic – New arrival










And a ten year old female yorkie- another new arrival





A very special guest blog

Tonight we have a guest blog, so without further ado, I will hand over to Jane. Her words speak for themselves, so I will just say a very big “Thank you” to all concerned, and our sympathies once again.

For nearly ten years now I have had the good fortune to be a member of a very special online community of some sixty plus wonderful men and women. Brought together by our love of food and cookery, we stayed together via various forums and Facebook by our mutual respect and genuine friendship, despite the majority of us never having the opportunity to meet. Two weeks ago, one of our members died suddenly leaving us all grief-stricken. Darren was a gentle, sweet and generous soul who had an affinity with dogs. He once told me ‘I am almost embarrassed by how much I love my dog – almost…’

Once we had got over our initial shock we knew we had to do something meaningful to honour this incredible man, and asked his partner for suggestions. It was easy – Darren would have wanted to help a dog refuge and I was suggested as the person who might know of a suitable rescue centre. Well, I certainly did. I have been associated with the SPA for a few years now; I adopted my dear, quirky Rookie in March 2012, and try to do what I can to support fundraising events. I have seen first hand how hard the staff and volunteers work to care for their dogs, with all that this involves and well as lavish as much love on them as they can. They are miracle workers!

So my friends and I decided to sponsor an SPA dog in memory of Darren. Rowan helped us chose Gus, a beautiful laborador cross who was brought to the refuge because he had been badly mistreated. Left tied up on a short rope to starve, he arrived at the SPA in a very sorry state. Covered in fleas and ticks and half starved. Desperate to escape, he had rubbed his face and ear until it was raw and bleeding. When Rowan told me how gentle Gus is, despite all that he has been through, I knew that he would be the perfect dog for us; the word we have all used to describe our dear friend was ‘gentle’. It seemed fitting.

Sponsoring an SPA dog is incredibly easy; once we had decided all we had to do was inform them of our choice and they did the rest. The sponsorship turned from an idea (thank you Evie) to received funds in a matter of hours. The SPA (via DRC) are keeping our donations separate for Gus and we will decide how they are spent. The top of our list, once he is well enough, is to get him castrated.  This way he can be integrated with more dogs – his time spent at the refuge more enjoyable and he’ll be a more attractive prospect to potential adopters. It’s our great wish that this sweet boy is rehomed to a loving family, as all dogs deserve, and in the meantime we hope to help make his stay at the SPA as comfortable and happy as possible.

Sponsoring Gus has given us a purpose during our grief – we feel that we are doing something positive and worthwhile to remember our friend. We hope you are proud of us Darren; we miss you dreadfully but we will do our best to make a difference for Gus in your memory.

Darren Mann. 2nd December 1974 – 10th August 2014. Missed by all who knew him












Gus. A gentle soul












And Jane’s dog Rookie- just because Darren loved him


Tayson is back….plus three in and three out.

On August 17th DRC put out an urgent appeal for someone to collect former SPA resident Tayson from a refuge in Department 07, where he had arrived as a stray. Any dog adopted from the SPA Carcassonne will always have a home with us. I lose count of the number of dogs who “belong” to other refuges who refuse to take them back when they show up at the SPA Carcassonne. Pleading over-crowding is all well and good, but do you really think things are any easier for us?

In any case, within 30 minutes of the appeal, we had no fewer than three offers of help. Many thanks to Steve and Sue, Pauline and Wally (both couples have adopted at least one dog from the SPA Carcassonne) and mostly to Muriel’s parents, who were first to respond and so, based solely on that criteria, were the ones “chosen” to rescue Tayson. I am sure that the French network would have come up with a solution pretty quickly too, the SPA Carcassonne is blessed with fabulous supporters for whom animals are a priority.

You will all be relieved to know that Tayson is now back at the SPA, very thin and undernourished, but at least he is safe.

So how did this situation come to pass? Why was Tayson left to wander for we suspect several weeks with his owner failing to notify us? Had we known we could have put out appeals on Facebook for people to keep an eye out for this boy; after all he is a big dog and is friendly and approachable. I suppose the new owner did not wish to admit that he had lost Tayson. We know that Tayson likes to wander and we emphasised this when he was adopted; some people hate admitting they are wrong, even when a dog’s life is at stake!

We do not refuse to let dogs leave our department like some refuges, citing the difficulty of follow-up. We home dogs all over France and abroad, too. Quite often the further away the dog, the more news we have; look at the wonderful photos we have of the dogs in the UK and Belgium, sometimes years after they were adopted. So no, this experience will not change the way we rehome our dogs. But we perhaps need to emphasise to people that if there is a problem, keeping quiet about it is not an option. The appeal to collect Tayson proved that we can sort out most messes, even if in a perfect world every adoption would work out first time.

Shockingly this is Tayson’s fifth time at the SPA. His next home has to be the right one. When we say that a dog needs a well-enclosed garden, we are not saying it because we have shares in a fence company!

There were three adoptions at the SPA today, just to brighten things up. Guismo left after having been spotted yesterday by the adopters of Granite (now Whisky). They wanted an older dog to be company for Whisky, but he or she had to be housetrained and cat-friendly, which we knew to be the case with Guismo! The other lucky dogs were Yorkie and Stella.

Just to balance things out, though, three non-identified dogs were brought in. Photos of them to follow tomorrow, all being well.

Tayson looking for a lift home












And on his way, looking happier already with Muriel’s mum!










Guismo – ADOPTED









Yorkie – ADOPTED












Stella – ADOPTED



Better Off With Us..

Lots of people are understandably horrified when they come to the SPA. There are lots of dogs, barking and circling in cages who are desperate for attention and for some people this is very overwhelming,

I remember the first day that I came along to volunteer I was really shocked at how small the kennels were, how big and bouncy the dogs were, how little exercise the dogs could get and how stressful an environment it was for any dog, but then as I learnt more about the reality of rescue I realised that these dogs were the lucky ones!

Lots of dogs are living in home environments which are not ideal. The dogs are neglected and left to their own devices, are allowed to stray, are not trained or even given basic vet care and when dogs are allowed to do as they please its an accident waiting to happen in more ways than one! Stray dogs cause accidents and are killed on the road, toilet where they please and as most of them aren’t sterilised you can imagine the consequences there…..

When some dogs are brought in by either a member of the public or the police municipal we really hope that they are not claimed by their irresponsible owners. This gives us a chance to get them seen by a vet, get them vaccinated and sterilised, provide them with regular meals and get to know them whilst we look for a forever family where they will loved and cared for. Its sad but amazing how trusting a dog becomes when he realises that food arrives every day and its really heart-warming to see a dog who arrives just skin and bones, flourish and relax into refuge life!

These dogs thrive when they go to their new family and really appreciate being cared for and looked after. They become loyal, faithful companions who will stick to you like glue, after all they have seen how hard life is as a stray and they don’t want to go back there ever again!

Being the 15th August, a public holiday in France, the SPA was closed so tomorrow we will catch up on the coming and goings!

Stivell – skin and bone when he arrived!


He is thriving now and waiting for his forever home!














Pip’s Long Journey Home…

When Pip arrived at the SPA in April a tiny, terrified pup, little did she know just how much her luck was going to change!  Foster places for pups are scarce but as luck would have it Lisa our puppy fosterer extraordinaire had a place free!

Lisa is a vet nurse and has four dogs and cats of her own so puppy Pip was ensured the best of care and lots of socialisation.  This is so very, very important for a pup and has such a massive effect on its future that we would love every pup that comes into our care to receive it.

Pip thrived in Lisa’s care and it wasn’t long before she was available for adoption. Angie and family who adopted Garfield and who are massive Brittany spaniel lovers noticed Pip on our facebook page and contacted us right away. The only problem was that they live in Cruden Bay, Scotland and Pip was in Carcassonne, South West France.

Logistics have never been a problem for us at the SPA Carcassonne and if we know that there is an experienced loving home waiting we will pull out all stops to get the dog there. Again luck came into play and as I was driving home to Dundee on the 1st August it was the perfect opportunity for Pip to travel home with me to Scotland.

I collected Pip on Friday afternoon and we set off on our journey later that evening. As it was scorching hot in France, even with air conditioning and cool mats its not comfy for the dogs in the car during the day so we travelled through France overnight. This worked well as the dogs were sleepy, cool and comfy and as we needed fewer stops we made good time, arriving in Scotland 26 hours later!

Angie and her hubby drove down to Dundee and when they saw Pip I could tell that their hearts just melted. Pip was delighted to meet them and jumped in their car without a backward glance. Later that evening she met her new brother Garfield and Angies two lovely daughters Rylee and Brodie. Angie did say that they were at home in bed and I have to say that I thought to myself that there is no way that they will be asleep when they know a new pup is on its way!

Pip is the sixth SPA Caracssonne dog to come to Scotland for their forever family, I wonder who will be next?

There was also good news at the refuge today, Teddy who arrived yesterday after bring found loose was reclaimed which is great news as I am sure that he would have hated being back in the refuge after having a family of his own!

Pip’s First Paws In Scotland



Pip and Garfield – A stunning pair!



Pip, Garfield and Eclat ( Angie’s mums dog, also a SPA Caracssonne dog of course)!