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Search Results for: FILOU

Updates as promised!

In last night’s blog I promised that we would catch up with news of out travelers. Yesterday was not a good day to be traveling in France, the weather was poor and there were mega delays. Despite this all of our dogs reached their destination later than planned but hale and hearty. Disco, Fanta and Mojo are now enjoying life at Animal Trust and Stivel is now in Germany…phew! There has already been a reservation but that is Darcey’s news to tell!

It is of course fundraisers like yesterday’s Puivert event that allow us to send dogs abroad. Its worth every minute of effort to see these dogs beginning to enjoy life again.

As these dogs move on, others have of course arrived. Lets hope that none of them have a two – four year wait like Disco ad Fanta did! Sad as it is, the refuge can be a haven for lots of dogs, they are fed regularly, given vet care and of course assessed so we can ensure that they go to the perfect family. The SPA is like a stepping stone towards their future and without it many would simply die on the streets. Whilst in our care we aim to make their life as comfortable as possible. This where the volunteers really make a difference, a nice walk or a cuddle makes such a big difference to their day. They know who are volunteers and who are likely to take them for a walk. Some dance with glee when they see you coming, other literally leap in the air with excitement but it’s the ones who hide at the back of their kennels who are most worrying and who need one to one time spent socialising them.

So lets be proud of days where we have people out supporting us and consider every euro donated means that either a dog can move on or we can make life a bit better for them whilst they are with us.

Here are our arrivals…

Filou…a lovely pup!


Moby…a recent arrival


Jason, another arrival



After adoption support…

Tonight I thought that I would talk about a side of our job that not many people know about. The post adoption days, weeks and sometimes months when you work with families to keep the dog in the family and prevent its return to rescue.

So the adoption went well, the pup was a great match for the families lifestyle, they were delighted to have found the pup of their dreams….what could possibly go wrong?  This is very objective and very dependent on expectations and previous doggy experience and how the family manage the new pup from day one.

I have to admit when I see an email from new adopters my heart is in my mouth. Is it to say, all is well, thank you so much or is it to say help…we are struggling to cope!

We always encourage new adopters to call or email us us as soon as they experience behaviours out with their expectations. We much prefer to spend as much time as needed talking through behaviour problems than risk a dog being returned.

So what issues are we giving advice on? The most common are anxiety and fearfulness, food aggression, resource guarding, leg lifting, toilet training and separation anxiety. We will be covering each topic in future blogs.

A lot of the time the problems are very objective. What is perfectly normal to some adoptants is totally unacceptable to others. As well as basic management of any situation we work until we get to a place that is acceptable to everyone concerned and then they can start bonding and enjoying their new life together.

If we can’t come to a solution we can ask our dog trainer or behaviourist to visit (provided you are relatively local). It’s often much easier if someone sees a behaviour first hand and can advise accordingly.

In a very small percentage of cases, no matter how much work we do, we have to step in and take the dog back. Filou is back after several months. We knew that Filou had bitten ( not badly) but he hadn’t for 8 months in kennels. When a couple who had taken early retirement came along, with doggy experience, an enclosed garden, home all day, no visiting children and a daughter who is a dog behaviourist and wanted to give Filou a chance it seemed like a great chance for him!

They were very aware that he had bitten and we discussed the risks, management to keep everyone safe and coping skills. We have learnt that Filou has severe guarding issues of people, objects and food. Despite lots of work and management, his behaviour became very extremely unpredictable in the home environment and the safest thing to do was to bring him back.

This is heart-breaking as you have a family who gave it their best and a doggy with yet another failed adoption behind him….

Our adoptions to the English speaking community are usually very successful due to good communications post adoption. We are very proud that our return rate is less than 5% and as we  too are learning all the time…..we hope this gets even lower!




Happy day at Donkey Sanctuary

Despite the less than optimistic forecasts and huge overnight downpours, the weather yesterday was fabulous. One of the associations who was due to take part had more faith in the forecasters than we did, and they cancelled at the last minute. So it was left to Le refuge des Grandes Oreilles, les Calèches et les Chevaux, Dog Rescue Carcassonne and Felines de Caunes to benefit from the marvellous weather!

The jugglers had a minor car accident on the way, so they didn’t make it either, but there was plenty of entertainment for all, with donkey rides for the children and a buffet area for the adults. Plus there was car boot sale, which was a huge success, at least as far as DRC was concerned, with several of our larger, bulkier items selling and thus making some much needed space in our garages!

We were visited by several ex SPA dogs, including Moos (ex Tonerre), whose owner, Victorien, helped out at the sale. We also saw Cassie (ex Callie), who was adopted in March, and of course Filou, Chanel, and Jessica’s other dogs, all of whom are ex SPA.

The only negative point of the day was the arrival of a very sickly little kitten, who was found on the road in Caunes Minervois. He was covered in fleas and his eyes were glued shut due to Coryza. But this illustrated perfectly the importance of associations such as Felines de Caunes, and it was they who took the little kitty off to the emergency vet.

Small associations such as this need support. “Wild” cats and kittens are the offspring (perhaps second or even third generation, but the offspring nonetheless) of domestic cats who were not sterilised by their owners. Their well-being falls under the auspices of the Mairies, who work with associations to catch and sterilise and stop this never ending cycle.

Apart from this blip, the day was overwhelmingly positive, and the Mayor of Caunes came along to pledge his support next year. So yes, we plan for this to be an annual event.

There are far too many people to thank, so I won’t bother even trying. You know who you are. None of it could have happened without Jessica and her family, and of course the day would have not worked without everyone who came along to support us all.

Let’s hope the next event, on 6th September in Quillan is just as much fun! You may have noticed that the website has been changed slightly and now has an “events” section The Vide Grenier at Quillan is the first entry!

A proper SPA catch up tomorrow, but there were no entries and three reservations, so it was good for a Monday!

Jessica leads a donkey ride.

Jessica leads a donkey with a young girl riding. Beautiful countryside int eh background







Checking out pictures of dogs available for adoption at the SPA

A group of people looking at pictures of dogs and choosing goods to buy









This arrival of a tiny kitten illustrates the importance of local associations

Tiny kitten with gummy eyes being held











And our next event

car boot sale poster, 6 September in Quillan



Six Arrivals. Gulp!

Today wasn’t the best day to be at the SPA, as we had no fewer than six arrivals. Three of them are identified; two whose owner’s details are not up to date, and one who is a regular visitor to the tennis club at Conques, where he tries to steal the balls to play with. His owner picks him up from there regularly, but today someone brought him to us, and unless he is either kept in a secure garden or at least given a collar with his name and phone number on it, I am sure this will be the first visit of many.

We are definitely in mid-holiday mode as we see the same pattern every year; the number of adoptions drops as people make plans for their summer get-aways, and others realise that taking a dog with them or organising for someone to look after their dog is too much like hard work, so the refuge is used as a dumping ground.

All of today’s arrivals are fabulous looking dogs, so if they are not reclaimed, we hope that they are homed very soon.

Not only did we have all the new arrivals, but it was raining as well. However rain in summer is quite different than rain in winter, and I am sure that neither the dogs who were walked today nor the volunteers who took them out minded the rather more refreshing weather!

We had some sad news yesterday to temper our elation at the departure of Filou. Some of the longer-serving volunteers might remember the beautiful Ariegeois, Jojo, who was adopted by our good friends at Doglinks just over five years ago. Well sadly he had to be put to sleep yesterday following a short illness. Incredibly this boy lived to the ripe old age of 14, which is not bad for a dog of his size, especially one who had such a terrible start in life. Our thanks and sympathy goes out to Evelyn and her family who made Jojo so happy for so long.

Bad news today, but into each life a little rain must fall. Let’s hope for brighter things tomorrow, and let’s not forget that for many dogs, like Jojo, the SPA is a stepping stone to a much better future.

One of today’s arrivals, little Orion (not identified)












New arrival Athos (identfied)










And new arrival Dick – I stray to play!










RIP Gentle Jojo, here putting a comforting paw on one of his many doggy pals




Alouette, gentille Alouette

First an apology to Magdog; there is only one of you. I don’t know why I have got it in my head that there was one in Carcassonne and one in Limoux. I guess it goes to show how often my dogs get pampered!

It was the turn of Sanders today, and we are looking forward to seeing him tomorrow in all his fluffy glory. Unlike Filou, Sanders is reserved, and we want him to look his best for his new home.

Okay, to the day’s news. I arrived the same time as a big but very thin dog who had been found straying around the Grazailles area. He is a lovely boy, but is clearly in need of some TLC. Unidentified, of course.

One dog arrived this morning and left this afternoon, thanks to being micro-chipped. Take note all of you who love your dogs!

Although the weather was fabulous, that is not what makes a good day at the SPA. What cheers us up are adoptions, and we had one today. Lovely Alouette finally found her home. She arrived in early December, complete with collar and lead and terrified out of her mind. We were sure that she would be reclaimed, as she was small and really sweet, but no one came. She has made enormous progress since her arrival, and has turned into a joyful happy girl. This is thanks both to her kennel mate and to the staff and volunteers who have shown her that there is no need to be afraid.

Today Alouette left for what we hope is a long and happy life.

So one small dog out and one big dog in. We are waiting for a day when the numbers start to go down…..

New arrival – Theo.










This little chap came and left (already identified!)













Alouette – ADOPTED


Bond….You Only Live Twice!

Today, after nearly two years of waiting in kennels we are absolutely delighted that Bond has been adopted! This really is his second chance and this lucky boy has the most fantastic forever family imaginable.

Bond was found straying and brought to the SPA in 2012. He settled well into kennel life, happily sharing his kennel with whoever came along. Months passed and numerous kennel mates were adopted but poor Bond seemed to be invisible to potential adopters and despite the fact that we assured everyone that he was an easy, friendly boy there seemed to be no one interested in him.

That is, until Many Tears Animal Rescue in Wales agreed to give him a second chance! This super rescue in Carmarthenshire offered both Babette and Bond a lifeline, so we arranged for pet passports, organised their travel and off they went to a refuge where the dogs spend the days together in large parks and where there are experienced staff and volunteers to continue their socialisation. Whilst there, they are taken out and about on walks, in cars etc and their behaviour is thoroughly assessed so that the perfect family for each dog can be found.

Babette was adopted within a couple of weeks and Bond followed her today, only 8 weeks after arriving there! We are so very grateful to Sylvia for offering them this opportunity and we will definitely be working with Many Tears in the future!

At the SPA we also had a super adoption! I know that a few of our English volunteers will be delighted to hear that Filou left today after only a couple of months at the refuge. We were astonished that it even took two months as this four year old certainly had the cute factor!

Tomorrow being the first Sunday of the month we are open from 2pm-6pm.  There will be volunteers on hand to show you around and answer any questions so please feel free to come along, say hello and meet the dogs and cats!

Bond – a family at last!



Filou adopted too!



A terrible couple of days

Well, I promised a catch up on refuge news today, but in a way I wish I hadn’t. Nine dogs arrived yesterday. This is a complete disaster, and just shows that however hard we work, however optimistic we are, something always happens to burst out bubble.

Two dogs were identified and left immediately, but that left seven more, including three abandoned dogs plus a mum and her pup. It is all incredibly depressing and the good news is far too little to compensate. One of the abandoned dogs was adopted very recently from us as a puppy. Who remembers Catherine? Well, she is now six months old now, and is back at the refuge. We know that she is good with other dogs, because yesterday night she was in a kennel alone, and this morning she had joined Niagara and Dusty in theirs! All three are getting along fine, so we thought we would just leave them!

Good news: Wasabi was adopted yesterday. This young dog arrived at the end of November last year, and he is  black so we knew it would be hard to find him a home. He nearly left to the UK a couple of months ago, but there was a question concerning an old fracture in one of his back legs, so he was left behind. His turn finally arrived, though, and he left the SPA yesterday for his new life.

And one of yesterday’s dogs (Blandine, who we don’t even have a photo of) was adopted today by a friend of the former owner. So that was another bright spot in what has been a pretty awful couple of days, especially as another dog arrived today. Furthermore a dog who was adopted two years ago as a tiny puppy, is now on the list to be abandoned as being unmanageable. Hmmm. Wonder whose fault that is. Plus a golden retriever of 9 years old, who has been passed between family members for the past two and a half years. He would have been much easier to home at 6 and a half….

In other news the AGM did not go well, with us running out of time and hence unable to conclude proceedings. But on the positive side we have seven new members of the CA, including my fellow blogger, Moira, and six other very active and committed volunteers, which bodes well for the refuge.

One of yesterday’s many arrivals, Catherine, adopted as a puppy, now 6 months old.










Aïda and Bambino, who also arrived yesterday










Another of yesterday’s arrivals, poodle cross Filou













Yukotan who arrived today










But lucky Wasabi has been ADOPTED!


Chips with everything!

Yesterday as well as the adoption of Driver (now Cooper), no fewer than three dogs found their owners thanks to their micro-chips. So today I thought I would explain a bit about the identification of dogs in France. The rules here are very different to those in the UK. Many of you will be aware of this, as you travel regularly with your dogs, but repetition is the mother of learning!

For a start, in France, identification is a legal obligation for all dogs born after 6th January 1999 (and let’s face it, that is most dogs, as 14 is quite elderly!) In addition it is illegal to sell or even give away unidentified dogs, and in theory this is punishable by a pretty hefty fine, so people giving away puppies “free to a good home” are in fact breaking the law.

The most common form of identification is the microchip, which is usually implanted in a dog’s shoulder, and can be read by a special gadget. So if you find a dog, any vet or a SPA will be able to see if he is identified. If he is, the theory is as follows:

All microchips are registered with the SCC (Societe Centrale Canine) in Paris, also known as I-CAD. When a dog is found, the chip number can be matched with this database, and lo and behold, the dog’s owner’s name and address is revealed. Again, very much in theory, the vet or the SPA calls the person who immediately rushes to collect their dog. Et voila!

Things are seldom that simple, however. People move house and forget to update their details at the SCC. This means that we at the SPA have no way of contacting people, although we move heaven and earth to do so. This is thanks to the Internet, Yellow Pages, and various volunteers with lots of time and patience.

If we are still unable to track down the owners of a dog, then after 10 days he is available for adoption. At this time, the dog officially becomes the property of the SPA, and the details of the dog’s new owners will never ever be told to the old owners, should they subsequently show up.

If a dog arrives at the SPA with no microchip, then we still try to find his owners, but obviously it is more tricky! If they come along and can prove that the dog is theirs (vaccination records or photographs or just immediate recognition by the dog!), we chip the dog in their name, which is a legal requirement before the dog can leave the SPA and for which they pay the vet directly, and off they go However if no one comes to claim the dog within 10 days, the dog is up for grabs and again we will chip the dog in the name of the refuge and then this will be changed at the SCC in Paris once the dog is adopted. This usually takes a couple of months, but can be longer, depending on the backlog in Paris. The backlog used to be our fault, but the hyper-efficient Carole has it down to a fine art, now!

In the interim, if a SPA dog is found, it is us who will be contacted, but we know who has adopted our dogs, so we will call the new owners directly so that they can be reunited with their missing mutt!

Some dogs (particularly hunt dogs) are tattooed, and this has both positive and negative sides. If a dog is found with a tattoo in its ear, you know for sure that he has (or had) an owner; Which is great. A vet or an SPA can access the owners via the Paris database. On the negative side, any dog wishing to travel out of France requires a passport, and passports are only issued to dogs with microchips.

I have four dogs, the girls are tattooed (because I had it done the same time as they were being sterilised) and the boys are both micro-chipped. But each of them has a collar with an identification disc on it. This way, anyone finding them can call me straight away, without the need to go to someone with access to the database!

I would recommend a collar with a phone number on it to everyone, even if your dogs are like mine and never stray. Simple but effective!

I haven’t mentioned cats, as this is DOG rescue Carcassonne, but the same rules apply. It is still illegal to give away unidentified kittens for free. For cats, however, identification has only been obligatory since Jan 1st 2012, so there are plenty of unidentified moggies around. At the SPA most of our cats are tattooed, as this is done while they are being sterilised or castrated. And in the case of cats, in my opinion a tattoo is preferable, as people are sadly far less likely to take a lost-looking cat to the vet to see if it is identified!

I hope this information is useful and that it helps reunite you with your lost pets in the future. If you have a chipped dog or cat, make sure your details are up to date in Paris (your vet can help) and for those of you who travel, you can have two numbers on the paperwork, so even if you are at your “other home”, you can be contacted by phone!

Patapouffe reclaimed thanks to his micro-chip yesterday







Filoune reclaimed thanks to her micro-chip yesterday











Basile reclaimed thanks to his micro-chip yesterday




How Much Is That Doggie in The Window?

When people come to the refuge to adopt a dog they often ask, how much does it cost? Some people are so pleased with their new friend that they give you a donation on top of the fee whilst othesr are visually shocked, having expected a rescue dog to be free or almost free.

Perhaps it’s because it used to be in the UK that when adopting a dog from a rehoming centre only a token fee or donation was asked for. This however was a long time ago and these centres received local authority monies!

The SPA is a charity and to exist we cannot lose money. Without the SPA most of the dogs would be roaming the streets and last year alone we admitted nearly 700 dogs. A large percentage of our income comes from adoption fees and donations. To look after 140+ dogs we need staff, utilities, food for the animals, insurance, etc etc. All of our animals are vet checked on arrival, are vaccinated, wormed, have flea and tick treatment, our females are sterilized and all of these things cost money. If we were to then just give our dogs away for little for no fee how could we pay our bills?

Lots of people ask how they can help and we always welcome donations of food, bedding, cages, leads, collars and toys.

If you have time to spare we are always looking for volunteers. Some people volunteer and walk dogs whilst others love to play with the cats.  We are always desperate for foster families who provide a lifeline for many of our dogs and cats and it always frees up a refuge place for another. If you can help please get in touch…we would love to hear from you!

Todays lucky dog to leave was Brioche, a tiny terrier cross who arrived with some strange looking cuts on her neck. All it took was a little TLC and she was quickly snapped up by Jess, the lady who adopted Filou as well as taking the odd pig and goat off our hands!

Unfortunately we have had another 3 dogs arrive but as I keep saying, that is the reality of this time of year in France. The only way we can make a difference is sterilization and education and we do have exciting news on the education side. That however is a blog for another day so watch this space……..,

Tiny Brioche leaves happier and healthier than ever!


Magnificent Monday

Maybe the heavy showers on Saturday had put people off visiting the refuge. In any case, today was glorious in more ways than one, with no fewer than four dogs being adopted.  One of them, Olympique, was expected, as her new owners were just waiting for her to be sterilised before taking her home. This is a wonderful adoption for this dog who has been at the refuge since July last year (hence her name!) She arrived with a badly broken leg, but thanks to the wonderful SPA vet, you would never know that this young cross-breed has a metal plate and a dozen or so screws in her body!
Other adoptions today were those of Flocon, a big overgrown puppy who, by coincidence, is featuring on our Twitter feed today. I am so pleased for him, he was one of many young dogs who were growing up in the refuge. Freedom at last.
Fluffy little Filou found a home too, which is wonderful for him, as he couldn’t understand why he was being overlooked. And finally Bonhomme moved from one home to another; this chihuahua had been in foster care since arriving unidentified at the refuge. As soon as he had been castrated (obligatory for dogs with breeding potential) he was up for grabs, and to his foster family’s delight, he has been adopted by one of our volunteers, so he is still part of the SPA family.
So a good day, all in all. Long may it continue!