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Adoption of Oscar

Oscar’s time at the refuge has been typical in some ways and very atypical in others. He was seen straying in a terrible state and brought to the refuge thanks to the perseverance of a volunteer (in this his story is exactly identical to that of Melba, and several other dogs, mostly but not exclusively, hunting types). He was terrified on his arrival and the employees and volunteers did wonders in bringing him on.

He was adopted and brought back about three weeks later due to a “change in circumstance”. Grrr. And as he was absolutely terrified to be put back in a kennel, it would have been far better for him had the first adoption not taken place at all. This was in late September and it looked like Oscar could be in for a long wait.

However his luck changed when a woman came to visit him a couple of days ago and offered him a new home. She is not from the area, but had seen Oscar on line and paid him a visit while she had other business close by. Rather than her drive back, it was agreed that the ScPA (in the form of Carole) would take Oscar to his new home. As was the case with Arthos and Indian, this enabled a pre-adoption check to take place at the same time, which is very reassuring.

This afternoon the refuge has already received pictures of Oscar on the sofa, so it looks like he has got the hang of things pretty quickly. Anyone who might think that hunt dogs are made to live outdoors, think again!

griffon cross


There have been lots of adoptions this week, but the good mood at the refuge has been tempered by the news that Canelle, the young malinois who was adopted on Monday, was killed on the railway line just 48 hours after leaving for a new home. Her new owner is very upset, as of course are the staff and volunteers. These things happen, as we know all too well. It is so tragic that Canelle’s wonderful new life was cut short.

We are hoping that good news tomorrow will raise morale again a bit.

And three more are off!

Three more dogs left the refuge today, so the week has been an excellent one so far, despite a couple of disappointments, and inevitably several new arrivals.

First of today’s lucky leavers is Gucci. He is the third of three dogs (the others being  the already adopted Angie and Chanel) who arrived after a case of neglect. There is a difference between neglect and mistreatment, though, and Gucci, like his “sisters” was not particularly nervous of people, at least not once he was out of his kennel and on a walk. It was thus that he found his new mum, Jayne, who came along just for a look, but who happened upon the dog of her dreams straight away. Clever boy, Gucci, and we hope you and Jayne have many years of happiness ahead of you.

fluffy poodle cross


Second to leave was Pretoria a young black and grey Breton spaniel. We get quite a lot of dogs of this breed at the refuge, with the black and grey ones being a bit less common. A tiny one like Pretoria was never going to have a long wait. You might have guessed that she arrived on the day of the rugby world cup final, so not long ago at all. She is a real live wire and her family will adore having this ball of energy to play with!

black and white spaniel

Pretoria – ADOPTED

Last but not least we said a happy farewell to Impala. For the second time, as it happens. Except last time she was called Pirouette, the puppy who arrived with her mum Noisette (who is still waiting) in September 2018. Pirouette was adopted fairly soon after her arrival and was brought back a year later as she had been chasing deer.

Now I am not saying my dogs are perfect, but if them chasing deer were a problem, then I would stop them being able to chase deer. I would not bring them back to a refuge. And the renamed Impala is hardly a hunt type breed, so there were clearly management issues. However, as we often say, there is no point forcing people to keep a dog who is not wanted, whatever the reason. Impala could do better.

And today she has done better, finding a new home some six weeks after being brought back. She is a wonderful girl with amazing body language, and has been really popular during her time with us.

shepherd cross

Impala – ADOPTED

Let’s see what the rest of the week brings, but it hasn’t been too bad so far!

Five leavers including the Wolf Dogs after almost three years!

Anyone remember that (admittedly rather cringing) song called “You Left me, Just when I Needed you Most”. Well that could be Max’s theme tune. This purebred jagd terrier was taken to the vet to be euthanised two weeks ago because he had gone blind. Max is only eight years old but apparently it distressed the owner so much to see his “beloved” dog in that state that being put to sleep was the “best thing”. Very luckily for him he was taken to the ScPA’s vet, who immediately contacted the refuge and arranged for Max to be brought to us.

When his album was published on Facebook many people wrote to tell us that they had a blind dog, and that this does not stop their dog from having a fabulous life. And someone else who agrees is the wonderful association Miss Marple’s Universe, who got in touch with DRC to offer a home to Max. This association specialises in rehoming blind dogs and cats, and has a network throughout France.

Max was initially due to leave for a foster family last week, but when the perfect forever home was found, it was decided that it would be better delay his departure for a couple more days and only move house once. So this morning a very lucky Max was taken to his new home under the watchful eye of Jane Marple herself. That is what I call a rescue! Many thanks to all concerned.


small black and tan dog

Max- left thanks to Miss Marple association

The afternoon brought more good news, including an adoption of two dogs who have been at the refuge for almost three years and whom almost everyone knows.

Arthos and Indian were two of five dogs who arrived together just before Christmas 2016. Their three pals were homed relatively quickly, but Arthos and Indian have waited and waited. They are Czech wolf dogs, a breed that is not for everyone, but which has become very popular with a lot of people (including lots of the wrong people) as a result of Game of Thrones. They are complicated dogs, and cannot be left with just anyone. Moreover these two are particularly close and it has been impossible to separate them.

Arthos and Indian – ADOPTED together after 3 years

So who was going to take two dogs of this breed? They need a lot of space and have been occupying a park 24/7 since their arrival. And although they have had lots of walks (let’s face it, who doesn’t feel ten feet tall when walking a dog this imposing (and therein lies a lot of their appeal)), they are both very affectionate. Or have become so, since living at the refuge.

But finally their day has come. Their owner has been to visit them several times whilst enclosing his land, and today a couple of SPA employees delivered Arthos (who is now 9 years old) and Indian, (now 6) to their new home. The end of an era!

Two further dogs left as well. Luma, a fabulous husky who was abandoned just a week or so ago. As with the wolf dogs, this breed attracts a lot of attention thanks to their stunning looks, but their needs do not make them ideal pets for everyone. Having said that, Luma had an excellent CV, fine with dogs, cats and children, and we are delighted that she has found such a wonderful home so soon.



Last but not least we said goodbye to Gafarot, a sweet fox terrier cross who arrived in a very poor condition at the start of September. His fur was in such a state that the only option was to shave him, and although his fur is still in the process of growing back, he was much happier after this was done.

Gafarot was one of the ScPA “Ambassadors” at the stand on Place Carnot this weekend, where he behaved impeccably. Although his adoption so soon afterwards was just coincidence, it was high time that he found a new home.

fox terrier cross

Gafarot – ADOPTED

So five adoptions was great news although there were several new arrivals too. Not to mention the sad return of Gaspard who was in supposedly long term foster. Finding good long term foster families is not as simple as it seems….

Still, onward and upward and hopefully more good news tomorrow.


A good start to the week.

It is always nice when the week starts with an adoption or two, or as was the case today, THREE! Especially when we all needed some good news after a less than happy end to the week.

Today’s three adoptees were all girls, all very different in terms of both looks and character. But that is the great thing about visiting a refuge where there are 100 dogs; plenty of choice!

First off was Canelle, a fabulous young malinois who was brought in for rehoming along with her pal Mabrouka back in mid September. Of the two dogs many of us expected Marbrouka to leave first; she is older, calmer and wonderfully sociable. But malinois, like Canelle, certainly have lots of admirers. Appearing very nervy on her arrival, Canelle soon perked up on walks and is a fabulous girl. We hope she and her family enjoy a long and happy life together.

Canelle – ADOPTED

Next up was Tara. She is a young black crossbreed who arrived as a stray in late October. She is a fabulous girl who quickly adapted to refuge life. Being black can result in a long wait for certain dogs, but lucky Tara caught the eye of a family today and was delighted to leave to confines of the refuge.


Third to leave was one of those dogs who has caught the eye of many people since her arrival at the end of October. She had supposedly been found by a family who kept her for a couple of weeks before deciding that they didn’t want to keep her. She had some bald patches which could have been due to fleas, so perhaps this was the reason why she was no longer welcome. Who knows. Their loss is someone else’s gain!

Maggie appeared to be very timid, but out on walks it is a completely different story. She is absolutely adorable, and it is no surprise at all that she has been adopted so quickly.

brown and white dog

Maggie – ADOPTED

So it was a good start to the week. And we know there is good news on the way tomorrow so see you then.

Adoption of Goltenk and Lazare’s dream is over

Today’s adoptee, Goltenk is one of the many dogs who is incredibly lucky to have made it to the ScPA. He was brought in towards the end of August by a woman who had heard his cries and helped rescue this young crossbreed from the bottom of a well. Goltenk turned out to be identified, but as his owner had been trying to give his dog away free on the internet, it was no surprise that he did not come to reclaim him. Although we are assured that he was not responsible for Goltenk’s being down the well. Hmmmm…..

In any case, today Goltenk had yet more good luck. Today he left the refuge for a new home and we hope a new life of love and happiness.

mid brown dog with pointy ears

Goltenk – rescued from a well and ADOPTED

We thought Lazare had found the same, but it was not to be. Anyone who expects a dog to adapt immediately to life outside after being in a refuge for almost 6 years has unrealistic expectations. Either of their own abilities or of the dog’s. And sadly there is a big difference between having good intentions and having the patience and understanding to allow a dog to settle in. Yes, Lazare is back, his hopes (and ours) dashed after just 3 days.

I don’t know how many times we have been disappointed like this, yet in our naivety we still believe in miracles. I guess this endless optimism (all too often unfounded) is what enables volunteers to continue bashing their heads against a brick wall.

German shepherd cross

Lazare is back. – A patient Foster family is required.

Talking about heads and brick walls, the numbers quoted in yesterday’s newspaper article concerning the ScPA collection in Place Carnot make for quite sobering reading. So far this year 610 dogs and over 400 cats have arrived at the refuge. That is a record breaking number, and the year is not over yet. And remember the ScPA is but one of many hundreds of refuges throughout France. These high figures are not unique to our region, and we are sure that the trend of receiving far more older and sick dogs is a nationwide one. No money for vets bills as well as new mobile phones and Netflix accounts, presumably.

Let’s hope that things cheer up next week.

Mixed news for Amstaffs

Today was…how can I put it….mixed!  On the good news front, the sun shone brightly and the event on Place Carnot was a huge success, with plenty of interest shown in the ScPA, and lots of visits from adoptees and their new families. Photos will be posted in due course, I am sure.

Now onto what happened at the refuge. Getting the bad news over with straight away, employees and volunteers said a sad farewell to Oxmo, who has gone to the big kennel in the sky. This very old American Staff (identified) was found in a nearby village and although it was possible that his owner would reclaim him, seeing the state of Oxmo, a one-way trip to the vets seemed the most likely outcome. Just a shame it had to be with relative strangers, rather than with his real owner. This is sadly indicative of the moral courage of certain individuals.

Although his time at the ScPA was brief, Oxmo touched the hearts of many people, and of course he did not die alone. Many thanks to the employees who accompanied him on his final journey.

Oxmo – RIP

Next up good news. Aiko, an Amstaff of whom we have no pictures, left for a long term foster family. This is because he is very seriously ill, despite being just two years old. He is lucky enough to have found a family to take care of him knowing that he has limited life expectancy. Huge thanks to them.


Aiko – Long term foster

Finally after almost a year Julia left the refuge. This American Staff arrived in early January and was the first dog to be put into the ScPA’s album of miraculous survivors. When she arrived she was absolutely skeletal after severe neglect; hard to imagine that she was not a stray. Less than two months later and she was a different dog, full of life and fat as butter. Yes, that is all the time it took for her to recover, thanks to the tireless efforts of the ScPA.

emaciated dog

Julia when she arrived in January

It may surprise you to know that she has now gone back to her original owner. But don’t worry, this is not the person responsible for Julia’s terrible condition; all the mistreatment happened after the couple separated. Photos taken before this show Julia to be a much loved member of the family, and we hope that is what she will be once again. The ScPA will be monitoring her progress and Julia will always have a home back with us if ever she needs it.

Fat dog

Julia 6 weeks later and now RECLAIMED

As I say, it was a mixed day, but there was a reservation and perhaps another wonderful one to come.

Adoption of puppy Texas

When puppy Ranger was adopted yesterday everyone was delighted…..apart from one poor soul, her brother Texas, who was left alone looking through the bars of the park. Yes, there is always a first and a last to leave of any litter, and when there are only two pups, it is even sadder, especially as it can be days or even weeks between the two adoptions. Not so in this case, however, as just 24 hours after her brother left, it was Texas’s turn to start her new life.

So less than two weeks after being found lost and alone in a forest, these two gorgeous pups of some 3 months have both been happily rehomed. That is quite a turnaround in fortunes for these two gorgeous pups.

Black and tan puppy


In other news, for anyone who is local to Carcassonne, the ScPA will be in Place Carnot tomorrow to show off some of the wonderful dogs who are waiting for homes. So if you plan to visit the market or maybe do a bit of (very early) Christmas shopping, why not go and say hello and meet them and some of the team. It is a great way to find out more about the refuge and the work it does at Christmas and throughout the year.

The week is far from over, and of course we are hoping there is more good news still to come.

Adoption of Ranger and a Miracle for Lazar.

Today we had the adoption of Ranger. He is one of two puppies who was found last week alone in a forest and were lucky enough to be brought to safety. A lovely black and tan lad, he is fun and friendly and everything a pup should be. He has gone to live with the family who adopted Tyron towards the end of last year, so he will have lots of canine as well as human companionship. We wish him and his family loads of happiness together and look forward to lots of news and photos.

His sister Texas is still waiting, but we hope that she too will have a new home before winter sets in properly.

black and tan puppy

Ranger – ADOPTED

Yes, the cold weather has arrived with a vengeance. It seems not so long ago that we were complaining about scorching temperatures and admiring the cold water spray system that was installed this summer. Now it is a question of hoping that as many of our dogs as possible find homes before it gets any colder. Yes, there are heat lamps in some of the kennels, but the comfort they provide cannot be compared with that of a loving home.

Lazare was about to spend his 6th Christmas at the ScPA, believe it or not. He arrived in Summer 2014, when he was just over a year old, and a few of us can even remember his arrival, which was due to a divorce. His owner promised to collect Lazare once his life was back on track, but inevitably that never happened.

Lazare was diagnosed with cancer of the toe some time ago, and the ScPA has been desperately seeking a foster family for him. It looked like this miracle would never take place. But then it did! Lazare left today with the promise of gentle walks, a warm hearth and lots of love and affection; all he could possibly need! It truly is a miracle and more than a few tears were shed, including Bénédicte, a volunteer who was active at the time and who now lives many many miles away, but who has never forgotten one of her favourite dogs!

German shepherd cross

Lazare – gone to long term foster after 5 years at the refuge

As for Gucci, no he was not adopted today, but he was reserved, which is the next best thing!

Adoption of Chanel and Angie

Today two dogs from the same family left for new homes. When I say “same family” I am referring to both their own (canine) family and their human family. These two girls were brought in for rehoming with their big brother or maybe father just over two weeks ago. As is often the case, it is the girls who have been adopted first.

Angie is the younger of the two, and she has gone to live with a long term DRC supporter, Sheila, who adopted timid little Maisie from the ScPA about eight years ago. Maisie arrived with about 2 dozen other dogs (no, that is not a typo!) in a mistreatment case, and although she is still timid, she is a far happier dog than she was back then. Losing her pal recently has set her back, so Sheila was keen to find her a new playmate, and lucky Angie was the one who caught her eye.

poodle cross angie


Second to leave was Chanel. She, like Angie, has been neglected rather than mistreated, so it is just a question of lots of love and cuddles, and we are sure that Chanel will be right as rain too.

poodle cross

Chanel – ADOPTED

Many thanks to both of today’s adopters, and if you like the look of these two dogs, please spare a thought for Gucci. He is a lovely boy and he too would love a new home. He was born in May 2011, and like Chanel and Angie is a fluffy smallish poodle cross with fabulous tousled fur. And like the two girls, he has been living with other dogs and cats, plus he is great with children.

Gucci – Still looking for a home. Okay with dogs, cats and children

We are hoping for more good news tomorrow; will that include the adoption of Gucci? Let’s hope so!


Adoption of senior dog, Djux

There was an adoption today, and as it is such a good one, we are doing a short and sweet blog, rather than wait till tomorrow when there will be more good news. Let’s face it, when the weather is like this, we all need a bit of cheering up, so why wait!

Today’s lucky dog, Breton spaniel Djux, only arrived a week or so ago. His family brought him in for rehoming as they were moving to an apartment and didn’t think that their elderly dog would be happy without a garden. Djux is going to be twelve in January, so he might well have been fine. And certainly he would have been happier with his family as opposed to being at the refuge. But ultimately if a dog is no longer welcome, whatever the reason, it is better for him to find a new home.

And to everyone’s delight, today that is exactly what Djux has! Huge thanks to his new family. We hope Djux has many more wonderful years ahead of him, and that his few days at the refuge is soon no more than a fleeting memory.

brittany spaniel

11 year old Djux – ADOPTED

If you would like to offer a home to a senior dog, you might be interested to know that their adoption fee is just €80, for which the dog will be vaccinated, identified and neutered. And as many of us know, older dogs are the BEST!

More good news is due tomorrow, so see you then!