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The Dreaded Parvovirus; What is it?

Today is Thursday and as there have still not been any adoptions this week, Moira and I decided that we better blog before you all think that we have fallen off the map! Sadly the subject is not a joyous one, but concerns something that is very topical.

Many people are aware that there is an outbreak of Parvovirus in the area, and whereas it has so far not touched the ScPA Carcassonne, one never knows. Everyone is being super vigilant and with any luck we may escape this time, but it is as well to be aware of the illness, how it is transmitted and the damage it can do.

To quote Vet Med, Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can be life-threatening. The virus attacks rapidly, dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problem. If the dog survives at all, that is.

The symptoms of parvovirus are lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite and bloody foul-smelling diarrhoea that can lead to life-threatening dehydration.

Not nice, eh? The disease is extremely contagious, and can live in the environment for many months. It can survive on food bowls, clothes, concrete, grass….in fact just about every surface that is found at refuges. The higher the concentration of dogs, the higher the risk of infection, obviously.

Any dog who does not have his two vaccinations can be infected, and at the ScPA, where numerous dogs can arrive on any given day, there is always a number of dogs at risk. It takes a minimum of three weeks for each dog to have his two vaccinations. Puppies are most at risk, but the disease is also caught by adults, especially those with compromised immune systems due to old age or being underweight as well as having infections. And that can apply to many of the new arrivals.

It is easy for those who don’t know how refuges work to say “yes, but surely you keep them in quarantine and everything is fine”. Except the dogs have to be taken to and from the vet, meaning there is always a risk of cross contamination, no matter how careful people are. Especially as symptoms can take several days to show, typically 3-10 days.

Some refuges refuse the entry of all non-vaccinated animals during a parvo outbreak. The ScPA does not have this luxury, as we act as the Pound for a huge area. As I say, so far all is well at the ScPA and we plan to keep it so. If you are visiting please listen carefully to any instructions from staff about which dogs to take out, as we really don’t want any of our dogs to get ill.

We will have news of an adoption tomorrow, we promise, but in the meantime, take heed, and please vaccinate your dog; you just never know.

Adoption of Falbala after over 6 months

Today brought the wonderful news of the adoption of Falbala, and guess what? She is another black dog, making this a great week for dogs of this colour.

Falbala has been at the refuge for over six months, and when you consider that she was only a year old at the time of her arrival, that means she has spent a third of her life behind bars. However it has not all been bad; Falbala has spent quite a lot of time out on walks and in the parks, and this is just as well, as she is a very lively girl, and like most young dogs at the refuge, has lots of energy.

She was adopted very briefly at the end of August, but was brought back soon thereafter as her enthusiasm might have got the better of her when meeting the family’s cats. This despite passing the cat test at the refuge; a sad reminder that sometimes it takes a bit of time and patience to settle dogs in when cats are involved. And of course if the risk is too great, a return to the refuge often follows.

Today Falbala’s wait came to an end. Plenty of lovely walks await her as she settles into her new home in the country side. Needless to say everyone at the refuge is delighted for her, as we are for all the dogs and cats who leave for new lives.

Black shiny dog

Falbala – ADOPTED

Keep your fingers crossed for another black dog who, if things go well, will be leaving tomorrow.

Adoption of Rambo and catch up on Laika

Today a very lucky little old man left the refuge for a new home. Rambo arrived last week following the death of his owner. Tragedies like this do happen and are particularly sad when, as well as the family, dogs are also often left in mourning. Plus in many cases, in their grief dogs are often uprooted and left homeless. Such was the case with Rambo, who, at 13 years old and with a heart murmur, was brought to the ScPA. It is easy to criticise family members at this point, but not everyone is able or willing to take on a dog, and in fact Rambo’s “sister”, a much larger dog, was offered a home. But how would Rambo fare? Well, very nicely as it turns out.

Rambo is a bright and perky lad who gets on with other dogs and cats. Yes, he does have some health issues, and has a treatment for life, but there was no reason at all why this little lad couldn’t be rehomed just like any other senior dog. And today, less than a week after arriving, Rambo’s new life has begun.

He has gone to live with two other dogs and two cats with Bev and Phil, a family who is well known to us at DRC. We are already in regular contact as one of their dogs happens to be my dog Bella’s puppy, with whom she was abandoned over 9 years ago. Bev and Phil adore animals and Rambo, now renamed Bramble, is sure to be very happy.

Rambo (with new “dad” Phil) – ADOPTED

There is also another adoption to catch up on, and this one took place on Monday, so apologies for the late news. It would have been better to have caught up yesterday, actually, as the lucky dog was another of our Black Beauties!

Laika, a young shepherd cross, was brought in by her owner for rehoming at the end of July. Although it took a while for her to get noticed (a common problem for black dogs) her wait was not a long one. Moreover she has a wonderful home and this is all just before reaching her first birthday. Her 2 months wait for the right home will soon be forgotten, we are sure.

black dog

Laika – ADOPTED (2 days ago)

Let’s hope for more adoption news tomorrow!

Adoption of Tommy on International Black Dog Day

I am really happy about today’s adoption, mainly because the dog in question, Tommy, looks like a clone of my boy, Caillou. So much so that when volunteer Shirley came in last week she initially thought I had brought him back! AS IF! But seriously, there is a pretty good chance that they share a mother, and just sad that whoever this dog is, she is still having unwanted puppies.

Tommy arrived in early August, and like Caillou seemed a bit wary of people. He got over his fears in double quick time, however, and was soon sharing his kennel too. He proved to be great on the lead, and today when a family came to meet him, he passed the cat test too. Hmm, perhaps he is not related to Caillou after all! Ha ha!

In any case, it is wonderful that Tommy has found a home so quickly. And what a home! Tommy’s new owner is a young woman who has a French bulldog, but who wanted another more sporty dog to accompany her on her horse-riding expeditions. We are sure he will have a whale of a time.

The adoption of Tommy is also quite apt as today is international black dog day. Okay, Tommy isn’t all black, but mostly! This is a day when shelters the world over promote black dogs, as they are the ones who have the least chance of being adopted. Incredible thought it may seem, even in the 21st century, superstitions still abound that black dogs (and cats, of course) are harbingers of ill fortune. Crazy, isn’t it?

Tommy’s new family will be busy discovering how much joy a dog, “even” a black one, can bring to their lives. Many thanks to them, and we look forward to news and pictures.

Black dog with white bib


Adoption of Moon and Ruben

Yesterday was even better than we thought, as there was another adoption which for one reason or another failed to make the blog. Just a couple of weeks after being returned to the refuge, lovely Moon was rehomed. She was one of five dogs who arrived together at the beginning of 2018, and when she was the first to be rehomed, everyone assumed that would be her sorted for ever. Sadly it was not the case; her new owner changed jobs and had no time for Moon.

The ScPA was sad to see her back, but that has changed to happiness now that Moon has found love once again. She is a fabulous girl, fine with other dogs, fine with cats and fine on the lead. This time surely she has found her forever home!


Another dog who left yesterday was Pandora, who arrived identified under the name Staffia. Yesterday was day 10 of her pound time so her owners were cutting it a bit fine, but of course it was wonderful news that this greying black labrador was reclaimed.

Staffia (aka Pandora) – ADOPTED

Then today it was the turn of little Ruben, a young pup who was found and brought to the refuge some three weeks ago. As a single pup this young lad has not been very happy; it is tough for the youngsters to be alone, but important that they are not exposed to disease. The last week or so has been far better for Ruben, and today even more so, as he has left with his new family.

small brown pup


The sun was shining and there were plenty of volunteers out walking the dogs. So it was a good end to the week, with hopefully more good news on the way.

Daisy leaves as do three other dogs!

Today was a busy one at the ScPA and in this case it means lots of adoptions. Four, in fact, which is wonderful news. Especially for the dogs in question, but also for their new families. After all, what is more exciting than having a new dog?

I am sure that thanks to yesterday’s blog you all knew that Daisy would be leaving today. As you know, this little girl arrived pregnant with five pups, and has done an amazing job of bringing them up. Well, she had more than a little bit of help from foster mum extraordinaire, Cyndy, who has loved and looked after Daisy and her pups, finding each and every one a wonderful home. Daisy has had perhaps the best luck of all, as she has gone to live with Muriel, whom we here at DRC know well. She has been a supporter of the association since the beginning and is also a personal friend of both Moira and me. And we have very good taste in friends!

Here is Muriel and her mum together with Daisy. There will be lots of news, naturally, and we know that Daisy will be adored. Muriel has been looking for a dog like this for a very long time, and we are delighted that she finally has her dream dog, and that she came to the ScPA to get her.

dog on knee of Muriel


News of three other leavers is just as wonderful!

Little Sharpei cross Plume has a new home, after just a week or so. She was brought in by her family for rehoming due to her not being good with poultry. She is a gorgeous, affectionate and socialised dog and it was clear that she would not have long to wait for a new family. We are assured that her new home is feather-free; apart from Plume herself, that is!

sharpei cross


Next off was Muse, one of several beautiful breton spaniel crosses at the refuge. Muse arrived with her brother (we assume) Pegasus, in mid July. As usual the female has found a home first, but Pegasus is just as stunning and we are hopeful that he too will find a home soon. It must be hard for him to see his sister leave, but such is the fate of many “couples” who arrive at refuges the world over.

Breton Spaniel


Today also saw the adoption of DRC’s current urgent appeal, Ben. This is particularly good news, as he, like Pegasus, saw his siblings leave before him. What’s more he was adopted soon thereafter and brought back 24 hours later as the family cat was not pleased. It is a shame that some dogs are not given any time to settle in, as quite often a bit of patience is required at the beginning. However today Ben’s turn came again and he may be better off with his new family.

His new mum is delighted with her new boy, as well she should be; Ben is a lovely young lad. DRC has duly updated its urgent appeal and we now have our fingers crossed for Jax.

pointer cross


Many thanks to her and to all of the day’s other adopters. Days like this gladden the hearts of staff and volunteers. And the week hasn’t even finished yet! What will Sunday bring?

Adoptions of Soda and Pablo

After a couple of quiet days, today two lucky dogs left for their new homes. Both of them are relatively new arrivals, and although it is particularly wonderful when long termers are adopted, it is also fabulous when young, well socialised dogs do not have to spend too long behind bars before finding happiness.

Soda is a smallish black shepherd cross who arrived about three weeks ago having been found tied to the refuge gates. Not only is this unnecessary (there are kennels there which keep dogs safe and secure), it could also have been fatal. This is because the sliding gates are operated by remote control and had Soda not been spotted before the gates were operated, she could have been dragged into the mechanism. There is a sign specifically telling people to not tie dogs to the gates, but perhaps people who tie dogs to refuge gates don’t worry about what happens afterwards.

In any case, Soda proved to be a delightful little girl, happy and energetic and fine with other dogs. It is fabulous that she has found a home so quickly.

There are a couple of other black (or mostly black) females of the same type at the refuge, so if you missed out on Soda, take a look at the photos or get in touch.

black female with white patch


Second to leave was Pablo. He arrived at about the same time as Soda, and he too has been lucky to find a home so soon. But when Moira and I met him on Tuesday, we somehow knew he wouldn’t be waiting long. Pablo has incredible body language, wiggling his whole body with pleasure when anyone approached his kennel.

He was spotted by a family who have been back a couple of times to introduce everyone and to make sure of their choice, and today was the day. Pablo has wiggled off to a new home, and we look forward to news of him, just as we do of Soda.

brown dog with black muzzle


The weekend starts here, and we already know of one adoption that is due to take place. It is of a little girl who has been busy bringing up her babies, but who is now going to a home of her own. Can you guess who it is?

For followers of DRC, we can a

Adoptions of Jack and Bolide

There were two adoptions today, one of a small dog who everyone knew would find a home easily and the other of a dog who risked staying for a long time, but who hit the jackpot after a relatively short time.

First off was Jack. He is a young shih-tzu who was brought in for rehoming last week because his owner was moving house. Although this is a very strange reason for rehoming a dog, especially a small one, it is obvious in such situations that the dog is better off finding a new home, and luckily for Jack he is just the sort of dog that attracts attention. Lucky boy! His new home looks ideal; a woman who is retired and so is at home all day to cuddle her new companion.



Second to leave was Bolide, a shepherd cross who arrived in mid July. Although he is a very handsome lad, this is just the type of dog who can spend a long time at the refuge. This is for no particular reason, apart from that dogs like this have nothing to really distinguish them for all the other dogs of their size and type.

This is one reason why it is always worth chatting to staff and volunteers. They are the ones who know the dogs best and they can steer you towards some of the many hidden gems. Better still, why not walk any dog you are interested in, and get to know them a bit. This is just what Bolide’s new owner did; he has been along several times to get to know Bolide and today was the day when he finally took his new pal home.

We are delighted for him and wish both him and Jack a long and happy life with their new families.


Adoptions of Betony and Samurai

Today the very last of Daisy’s pups went to her new home. I am told that Betony is the most lively of the litter; and there is always one. You know, the one who is the first to get into trouble, and often the one who gets their siblings into trouble too. Well that is Betony; so it was even more important than ever that the right family was found! Despite her “butter wouldn’t melt” looks, Betony is quite a handful. Sarah is more than up to the task, however, and Betony has gone off to live in the vineyards near to Narbonne where she will have plenty of things to occupy her ever inquisitive mind.


Betony – ADOPTED

To celebrate the departure of the last pup, here is a photo showing all the pups with their new owners. Well done to Cyndy for all her hard work whilst looking after them, and also to her and Moira in selecting their new owners. These pups have had a wonderful start in life, and we hope they know nothing but happiness from now on, too.

Each of Daisy’s pups with their owners

There was another wonderful adoption today, too. Samurai arrived at the refuge in early July, but it was a long time before his photo was put on the internet. This is because this young spaniel cross arrived with the dreaded parvovirus. His arrival could have put at risk the lives of all the other young and vulnerable dogs at the refuge, but of course the person who abandoned him will not have cared about that.

Samourai was rushed to the vets, where he spent several days on a drip. It was touch and go for a while, but as you can see from the photo, Samurai made a full recovery and is brimming with good health and enthusiasm for life. Yet another dog for whom coming to the ScPA was literally life-saving. We say thanks to his new family and look forward to news and photos, as we do of all our dogs and cats.

golden coloured spaniel

Samurai – ADOPTED

There was a reservation too, so more news tomorrow.



A successful and surprisingly sunny Sunday!

As most of you probably know, today was the day of the DRC fundraiser at Chateau Miaou. This was our fourth annual Yard Sale, which combines a barbecue plus book, clothing and bric-a-brac stalls, and yet again it was a great success. Despite somewhat dire weather predictions, we had three hours of good weather (including real sunshine), before one torrential downpour, which saw us all scuttle for the  shelter of Sharon and Willie’s barn. But when you bear in mind that at one stage we had been expecting a deluge, we were delighted.

A very busy Chateau Miaou

Everyone seemed to have a lovely time, picking up bargains, chatting about the world, patting visiting dogs (it was lovely to see Gloubi and Panther, amongst others) and supporting DRC and Cancer Support France, who joined us for the first of what we hope will be many joint functions.

Our new friends, Gail and Jon, from CSF.

The total raised for DRC was just over €650, which as many people said, is not bad for a couple of hours work. But make no mistake, there is quite a lot of effort put into the event, so as ever we must thank Sharon and Willie for hosting us, and everyone who came to man (or mostly wo-man) the stands.

We had visits from ex SCPA dogs Gloubi and Panther, amongst others

As ever huge thanks go to those who donated books, clothes, bric-a-brac or just as importantly time to make the day a success and that of course includes everyone who attended. If all goes according to plan there will be another such event next year, so if you missed out this time, why not think about joining us then?

Dog and Cat in perfect harmony!


We have no news from the ScPA today, so will catch up with any adoptions tomorrow on what will be the start of a new week.

See you then!