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One new arrival on a fun and sunny Sunday

Today was our usual first Sunday of the month opening, despite the fact that we are also opening next Sunday for “Animal Christmas”. We did debate whether or not to open today, but it has become a regular fixture, and we all seem to enjoy it, so why change a winning formula? In fact there were people already waiting at the gate when we arrived just before 14H00, so it was the right decision, especially as these first visitors ended up reserving a dog!

We had another reservation too, of a dog who has been at the SPA for quite a long time. That makes us all very happy and although he won’t be leaving for a few weeks, we know he will be very happy, as we know his new family already.

We nearly got away without any bad news, but two minutes before we closed a dog arrived having been found in Arzens. He was found this morning but the person who found him was hoping he would get on with her own dog. Sadly not. Or maybe this is good, as perhaps there is someone looking for him. We can but hope! No surprises for guessing that he is not identified.

It was a much warmer day today, thankfully and hence far more pleasant for dog walking. And there was quite a bit of that, thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers! What a team! Thanks also to everyone who came along to donate food, or blankets or just to show us their ex -SPA dogs.

This boy was found in Arzens.Does anyone recognise him?

pal dog with brown ears

Arrival of La Beaglette and the Christmas Tree is up!

Today was a cold one with a biting wind, so many thanks to the people who came along to walk dogs. It makes such a difference to them; as well as keeping them socialised, it helps to remind them what normal life should be like. And although there were no adoptions, but a couple of people did come along to meet dogs with a view to adopting in the future.

The refuge has started to look a lot more Christmassy now that the tree is up. Thanks to everyone who has bought baubles for their favourite dogs. and of course thanks to the employees and volunteers who have been making them.  They are beautifully decorated and that all takes time as well as commitment. Pretty soon we hope that the tree will be ladened down with gifts for the dogs and cats of the SPA. Because yes, after some initial difficulties the team has been able to source baubles for the cats, too. 😀

We did have a new arrival at the SPA today. Now, I may be slightly biased, but is there anything more wonderful on God’s green earth than a beagle? Of course not! And just look at this girl. She has already attracted some attention, a family is just waiting for her to see the vet for the first time before confirming their reservation. If her owner doesn’t reclaim her first, that is. Why a gorgeous dog like this is not identified is hard to comprehend. However whether she leaves with her old family or a new one, she will be identified before doing so, that is for sure.

Don’t forget that we are open tomorrow from 14H00-18H00 for you to come along to meet the dogs and cats, or maybe just to buy them or your own animal a present in this season of good will.

The Christmas tree is up!
Xmas tree












A basket of baubles

treat filled baubles











Arrival of La Beaglette

beagle dog


Adoption of Flynn and Womack

Today we had two adoptions , which we hope bodes well for the upcoming open weekend.

First to leave was Womack. He arrived in the middle of October and we are so happy that he didn’t have too long to wait. He is a fabulous looking dog, and still just a baby. He is always looking for affection and we are sure that he will have plenty of that in his new home.

Next to leave was Flynn. He arrived fairly recently too, and we are pretty sure that the man who brought him in knew him rather better than he claimed. I still remember the cries and distress of Flynn as this person walked away leaving him to his cold lonely incarceration. Estelle was the first person to take Flynn out on a walk (once he was fully vaccinated), and she came full of praise. He was obedient and attentive, and a joy to spend time with.

In other good news lovely Milli was reclaimed. She arrived on Monday and was identified, but we had trouble contacting her owner. In fact the person on the central database had given Millie away and the new owner had not done the paperwork to update the details. This meant a bit more work, as we had to make sure that we returned the dog to the right person. Still, as is well that ends well. And of course we are all very happy that Millie is back where she belongs. It was heartbreaking seeing her behind bars; she wouldn’t stop crying and we were all desperately sad for her.

We had a resrvation too, so it was a good Friday! Don’t forget we are open both tomorrow afternoon and Sunday. Let’s hope for more lovely adoptions. As the weather turns wintery it is horrid to think of the poor dogs out in the cold.

Womack – ADOPTED
hairy tricoloured dog










malinous cross








Millie – ADOPTED

black griffon cross

Adoption of Ondine and Shaylee

We had two adoptions today, one which took place at the SPA and one that took place directly from a foster family.

As there is only one dog in foster right now (or rather in foster pending adoption, as opposed to in long term foster for health or age reasons), you have probably guessed who it was. Yes, puppy Shaylee who has been living with Isa and her family ( and their dogs) found her new home today. She is a gorgeous little girl, full of confidence and energy and she is surely going to delight her new family. She will have other spaniels to play with, one of 14 and one of 4 years, which is perfect for her, as she is very used to playing with other dogs and would have missed canine company otherwise.

On the other end of the spectrum in terms of confidence is little Ondine. But she too found a home today. Ondine is one of the dogs from Ste Eulalie, and although she was undoubtedly one of the prettiest, she is also one of the most timid. Some of these dogs have been adopted and are doing well. Others have been adopted and are doing less well (notably Pinder, who went missing a couple of days after his adoption, never to be found. And yet more are still at the SPA, still being socialised even after all this time.  Some dogs have suffered so much before the SPA that they have a long road ahead of them.

Ondine’s new family have been well briefed as to her character by employee Angelique who, along with several volunteers, has spent a lot of time trying to help Ondine on her way to a better life. Fingers crossed that all goes well for her.

We have a couple of new arrivals to show you in due course, and we had a reservation too. More good news on the way….

Shaylee – ADOPTED (thanks to Isa and her family yet again)










Ondine – ADOPTED

small fluffy ratier

November brings joy to Auguste

We had another wonderful adoption today. After four months at the SPA Auguste found a new home today. Despite his name this lovely shepherd cross did not arrive in the month of August. He in fact got his name due to his resemblance to SPA resident Cesar. In fact there are many dogs who look a bit like this, and our hearts always sink when new ones arrive. Looking a bit unusual can definitely be a good thing at the SPA, when each dog is effectively competing for the attention of visitors.

Auguste’s new family did in fact look at a couple of dogs of the same type, but they finally chose Auguste and we are delighted for him. We suspect that he was left behind when some travellers passed through the area, and he has not enjoyed being locked up. His new family promise lots of lovely walks and outdoor activity, and Auguste should have a great life with them.

Tomorrow is December 1st, and that is Auguste’s third birthday, according to the vet’s estimate. What a great birthday present he has had. Other dogs are hoping that Christmas brings them joy, even if it is only in the form of a Christmas bauble! Although of course an adoption would be best of all!

There were no arrivals…let’s hope this carries on. More dogs in the warm is what we all want.

Auguste – ADOPTED

big dog with couple


Adoption of Gertrude and Operation Christmas is launched

We said that Justin’s owners had visited and were quite taken with the thought of another spaniel. Well today they came to offer a fabulous new home to lucky Gertrude. They had taken her for a walk with three of their dogs on Saturday, and although they were also drawn to both Risette and Lutine (yes, they REALLY like spaniels), they felt that old lady Gertrude needed them most. Great that the first adoption we have had for several days is such a lovely one.

Sadly Gertrude’s place in the heated infirmary was immediately taken by a new arrival, whom we have named Gino. He hasn’t seen the vet yet, but the feeling is that he will be the oldest dog at the SPA. Unidentified, of course, but maybe someone is looking for him. And he is small, which might help him find a new home if one is needed.

Little jack russell Masha was reclaimed, as was fabulous lagotto romagnolo Julo, who only arrived this afternoon.

Moving on, those of you who have been following the SPA or the blog for a while will know that usually at this time of year we launch our Christmas bauble appeal. The SPA will soon put up its Christmas tree, and we hope to adorn it with a bauble for every single dog who is sadly destined to spend the festive season with us.

These baubles are filled with dog treats and each will be labelled with the name of the lucky dog. As in previous years they cost just €4.50 and of course you can purchase them for your own dog too. For obvious reasons we are unable to send them by post, though. The SPA now has a Paypal account, which is spacarcassonne@yahoo.fr or if you prefer to send your money to DRC we will of course buy the bauble on your behalf. Please don’t forget to state who you want to receive the treats. Or if you have no preference, just say so and we will make sure that one of the forgotten dogs (yes, there are always a few, sadly) has a gift after all.

Many thanks in advance. Let’s get that tree loaded!

Gertrude – ADOPTED










Gino – new (old) arrival

Old dog









Christmas baubles can be bought for your favourite dogs



Dog Park 11 Donates!

The week got off to a very positive start with news of the faboulous donation by the supporters of Dog Park 11. You many remember that their walk planned for 11th November was postponed due to poor weather. Well yesterday was THE DAY, and believe it or not this group of dog lovers collected a massive 280 kg of dog food for the SPA.

Many thanks to Fabrice and his team. Incredible result. And it looks like they had enormous fun too. Fundraising is always best when it is a pleasure, not a chore.

There were no adoptions today, but a couple of “maybes”. And for anyone who saw the post on the SPA timeline yesterday to notify us of the arival of a boxer and a rottweiler (found wandering lost on the road to Villemoustassou), they were both identified and have been reclaimed by their owners.

So not a bad start to the week, although of course what we really want as the weather turns colder is lots of lovely adoptions!

Honestly, I promise I can be trusted alone with this lot!
Malinois delivering food

Hunt dogs as pets

Next Sunday and the one following that the SPA will be open, so today the volunteers are enjoying a Sunday afternoon at home, many of us with our own dogs.

Of course there is nothing better than a Sunday walk, especially in these warm and sunny autumn days. However one thing is almost guaranteed to spoil a walk; the sight of men clothed in green carrying guns. Yes, it is the dreaded hunt! Being in animal protection means that by definition the SPA is anti-hunt, however, as far as the dogs are concerned, we know that there are good hunters out there, ones who adore their dogs and treat them well. Their dogs are effectively family pets, but pets who spend lots more time outside with their owners than the average dog. On the other hand (and far more commonly, sadly), we see dogs who are left in appalling conditions, unvaccinated, unloved, undernourished and all too often abandoned when they are no longer of use.

When hunt breeds arrive at the SPA they often share certain characteristics. They are unually unacustomed to being on the lead, and jump and twist to escape. They are often very timid, unused as they are to affection (remember, to many hunters dogs are just tools, and you wouldn’t be affectionate towards a hammer, so why would you be nice to a dog?). Many of them are not housetrained, and far too many of them underweight and / or have had multiple puppies.

There tends to be a mass arrival of hunt dogs at both the start and end of the season, when dogs are tested for their prowess on the hunt. Why keep a dog who is not going to pull its weight? Despite regulations to the contrary, hunt dogs often arrive with no identification, leaving us unable to find their owners, (even if we wanted to). And as you know, collecting a dog from the SPA involves a certain financial outlay,as owners must pay the vet for the dog to be identified. Why would you do that for a dog who is of no use?

Of course there are hunt type dogs who have probably never hunted in their lives, and who have found themselves at the SPA for completely different reasons. They may have been family pets, so are not timid, and they are often house trained. However one thing they will have in common with the hunt “escapees”, is that they will have a tendency to be led by their noses. And it is this instinct which is probably the most difficult to deal with when adopting a long-eared dog.

There are guides to help with housetraining, and overcoming a dog’s timidity is often just a question of love and patience. However the solution to a dog’s tendency to wander is quite often to keep him or her on the lead. However as the hunt dogs are amongst the most beautiful in the world ( and no, this is not opinion, it is FACT 🙂 ), you will probably want to keep them as close to your side as possible!

Recent arrival Ellie. She has clearly had multiple litters and is terribly thin.

tricoloured griffon









Dumbo is quite a different character, friendly and affectionate and probably a family pet, despite his long ears.

Big long eared dog

Look who came to see us!

Well, we didn’t have any adoptions today, but we had a couple of lovely visits that brightened up the day.

Ellen adopted Blue (ex Poilu) last month, and was last seen at Animal Passport Control when, by coincidence, she and Moira were both headed back to the UK. Moira is still on holiday, but Ellen is back in France, and today she and friend Rachel came to the SPA to say hello and to do some walking. Blue is looking wonderful, and apparently he attracted a lot of attention in England. He was a big hit with Ellen’s friends and family, but also numerous strangers approached Ellen to talk about Blue.  One woman even told Ellen that she had only seen dogs of Blue’s breed at Crufts!

Just as well that Blue is not a timid lad. Some dogs would have been overwhelmed by all of that attention, but Blue took it all in his stride. Ellen is delighted, of course.

We then had a visit from Justin. He was adopted in May this year, and his new family are now completely devoted to the Brittany spaniel as a breed. We know many people who become fans of a certain breed, but quite often there are people who adopt a dog, ad even if they keep the dog until the end, they choose a different breed the next time they adopt. However this family’s experience with Justin has turned their heads totally. He must be a very good dog ambasador!

There are quite a few dogs of this breed at the SPA right now, and I have a feeling one of them may be joining Justin’s family before too long.

Other than that we had lots of volunteers out walking dogs, thanks to everyone who came along.

Blue (ex Poilu)
fluffy pale coloured dog










Brittany spaniel

Black Friday Madness!

No adoptions at the SPA today, but no arrivals either.

I am sure that many of you have heard today,the last Friday of November being described as Black Friday. This is the day after the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday in the USA and heralds the start of the Christmas shopping season. Prices are often reduced dramatically and shops are packed  with eager bargain hunters. A few years ago this  made its way over the Pond (as we call the Atlantic Ocean) and has taken hold in the UK and many other European countries, including France.

So what has this got to do with the SPA, you ask? Well, we hate to be left out, so again DRC will offer a bargain rate for any black (or mostly black) dog or cat who is adopted between now and the end of next weekend’s Sunday opening. Yes, we are open as usual on the first weekend of the month, so up to closing time on Sunday 4th December, there will again be €50 towards any black dog and €30 towards any black cat.

And don’t forget, some of the animals are already in the senior category, making their adoption a real bargain. If you are planning on adopting, now is a great time. Why not come along and see us. Please note, however, that good homes only need apply. 😀

All Black has been with us for over a year now. He is just two years old and would love a home.
Scruffy black griffon








Pretty girl Flurry will try to win your heart!

black dog








Ten year old Balou is hopeful too!

black and tan dog