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Meet new arrival Hvala

Of course not every day can be like yesterday, with its multiple adoptions. For the most part we are happy when a day passes with no new arrivals, like today.

Moreover there were plenty of volunteers out dog walking, including yet more people who are visiting the area for the holidays but who have come along to lend a hand at the SPA. Many thanks to you all. Mind you, with weather such as we are having at the moment, who wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon out walking a dog or two?

There were several families visiting the SPA with a view to adopting a dog. It struck us yet again how few females we have compared to males. We thought it might be worth showing you a picture of recent arrival Hvala. She arrived on Thursday just before closing when it was too dark for us to take any photos. As you can see, she is a lovely girl, with classic black and tan colours. We are sure she will be very popular, especially as she makes up an elite group of less than 20 female dogs out of the 100 dogs we have at the SPA!

People often state that females are gentler and easier to manage than males….Is this true? The oft-quoted maxim that male dogs wander in search of females on heat is of course not valid for castrated males (and all our dogs leave having been neutured). And some of our males are incredibly gentle. Just give them a chance to prove this to you; you may just be surprised!

Recent (female) arrival – HVALA
black and tan dog

Boxing Day Adoption Boom

In the UK December 26th is called Boxing Day and is a bank holiday. In France the day after Christmas is a working day just like any other, so the SPA was open for business as usual. And boy oh boy, were we ever glad!

Today we had three incredible adoptions, so even if these dogs were not in their new homes for Christmas itself, they are so now.

First to leave was lovely Dumbo. He had been brought in at the end of August and has been very popular with everyone who has met him. A gorgeous Anglo, Dumbo is a huge gentle baby who has so much love to give. His adopters have visited the SPA several times. They wented a small, calm and gentle dog, but after a lot of thinking (and several long periods spent gazing at Dumbo through the bars of his cage), they realised that what they really wanted was a gentle dog, the calm and small were not as important. After a short walk when (as we all knew) Dumbo behaved impeccably, he had a quick wash and then it was off to his new home. More than a few tears were shed, and not just by me. I think I started everyone else off, though.

Whilst Dumbo was busy winning the hearts of his new family, another deserving dog was doing the same thing with her new owners. Hyde was adopted briefly in October after more than a year at the SPA. She was brought back as she was not house trained, but as we said at the time, every failed adoption teaches us something about the dog. Hyde’s new family are not at all phased by this “failing” as for them her gentle nature was far more important.

Last to leave was Scampi, a lovely border collie cross. He arrived last month and although he hasn’t been with us long we knew something about him thanks to the people who found him and brought him in. A young dog who is fine with children and cats as well as having some basic commands is quite a find, and we hope his new family is as happy with him as we are that he has found a home so soon.

A great Monday!

huge tricloured dog
























And Scampi – ADOPTED



Joy at Christmas

As per yesterday’s blog, we thought it might be nice to share some festive photos with you…..dogs who in some cases are celebrating their first Christmas in their new homes. Thanks to everyone who sent us photos and Christmas greetings. We will probably do a similar blog on New Year’s Day, so please send us your festive photos!

After over four years at the SPA, Glamour is finally happily homed and is experiencing her first family Christmas in Belgium. 
Dog wtih Xmas tree












Kohl is ready for Christmas, as is Skippy. Flora and pal Baxter are looking pretty excited about Santa too!

dogs in Xmas bandana dog wearing Xmas capeFlora















It is Gawan’s (ex Duracell) first Christmas in his new home, too, and he has dressed up specially. Very distinguished!

black lab wearing bow tie











Napolean and Bill are old hands at the Christmas thing, but the novelty never wears off!

yellow lab weraing xmas hat yellow lab











Despite over three years of happiness, Lily- Blue still hasn’t forgotten her friends at the SPA.















These are just some of the lucky ones, but plenty other fabulous and deserving dogs are spending Christmas behind bars, either at the SPA Carcassonne or in refuges elsewhere. Please spare a thought for them as you enjoy your






A Nice Christmas Adoption for Powell

It is customary for us to have at least one adoption on Christmas Eve, and today was no exception. Today’s lucky dog was Powell, a Brittany spaniel who has just turned five years old. He arrived at the SPA a bit by accident at our usual first Sunday of the month open day, when volunteers Francine and employee Angelique went off on a “Pinder hunt”. Instead of returning with Pinder, they came back with this lad. He is very friendly and affectionate and it is surprising that no one came to collect him. But it has turned out well, as not only does he have a new home, but he is going to be living in Nice! What a lucky lad.

Thanks to everyone who came along to walk dogs today, despite the imminent festivities. The refgue was very busy with people delivering last minute gifts to dogs and cats or just coming to say hello.

For those of you who don’t know, tonight is a big night in France with the main family Christmas meal, just as tomorrow is a big day in the UK. So the blog will be a bit patchy, as Helene and I coordinate (or don’t) our free time and sober moments. A short one tonight and probably just some photos of happy dogs tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.

Powell – ADOPTED
Brittany spaniel

Two fabulous adoptions, including EZIO!!!

Despite several new arrivals, today was great, because we had two lovely adoptions, including that of Ezio. This boy has been with us for 13 months and when you consider that he is not even two years old, that is over half of his life. Living at the SPA has not been easy for him; he has been so desperate for a home that he was often seen standing on his back legs scrabbling at the door to his cage to attract attention. Very off-putting to visitors. However he was a big hit with many of the volunteers as well as the employees, and recently has been allowed to run free while the refuge is closed, giving him the change to show what a great dog he is, even if he is little more than an overgrown puppy.

A family came to walk him on Tuesday and decided to adopt him, and today was THE DAY. Not a moment too soon for this beautiful boy who has so much love to give. He was recently made DRC’s urgent appeal, and volunteer Patricia has also been sharing his pictures far and wide. Perhaps it was the power of all this positive thought that helped find Ezio his new home!

Second to leave was Jonny, a very handsome spaniel cross. He was quite stressed when he arrived, but soon settled down and did not have long to wait. He has been with us for “just” seven weeks today. He has marvellous manners on the lead and at only just over a year old has been very lucky to find a home so soon, and just before Christmas, too!

The new arrivals threaten to put a damper on the day, but for Jonny and especially Ezio, this must be the best days of their lives!

Ezio – ADOPTED (after 13 months)
big shepherd cross










black spaniel cross

Two “dangerous” dogs leave and so does Tosh.

Today we had two adoptions and two dogs were reclaimed.

Izis, a three year old rottweiler was abandoned at the start of November when her owners’ relationship ended. She was left alone in an apartment for a week before finally arriving at the SPA, and understandably she was terrified. We were told she was not good with either dogs or cats, however in a less hostile atmosphere (and yes, the SPA is better than some places!), she was fine with both. However it was not until Alizee published some professional quality photographs of her that Izis’s life really changed. On Saturday about four different families contacted us with a view to adopting her. However the first family already had the required permits for a Category 2 dog, and so Izis was able to leave in double quick time. All that remained was for her to be assessed by a vet, and this was done yesterday. So today off she went to her new home.

Her family did not come to the SPA alone on Saturday, either. They brought along some dog-loving friends for a look round, and this family reserved Tosh, who also left today. He, too, has a checkered history, arriving in a terrified state but quickly gaining in confidence once he was away from his former owner. For both these dogs the SPA is probably the best thing that could have happened!

Now the reclaimed dogs. One was identified and was a quick in and out (but of course this is good news none the less), the second was much bigger news, as it concerns a category one dog, Pablo, who has been with us since early November. He is now “en regle” and left with his owner who now has all the required permits and insurance to own a “dangerous dog”.

One dog did arrive but the day was very positive, with lots of volunteers out walking. And it is good to see people’s visitors being coopted to dog walk while they are over here supposedly having a relaxing Christmas holiday! Thanks Karen and family!











A Festive Food Reminder

The adoptions that I thought were taking place today are in fact happening tomorrow, and as there is no news from the SPA, we thought it might be good to once again remind people of Christmas foods that are toxic to dogs.

Moira posted earlier today about a dog who has just undergone kidney dialysis after having eaten a large amount of raisins which were intended for the Christmas cake. Raisins (and indeed grapes) are one of several seasonal foods which should not be given to your pets. Mince pies and Christmas pudding (both traditional British treats) all contain raisins, obviously. Others no-no’s include chocolate, and alcohol. Just because we enjoy it, it does not mean it is suitable for dogs.

We tend to eat a lot more meat at this time of year, too, so please keep a careful eye on how you dispose of bones.  Once cooked, bones become brittle and splinter easily. This can lead to larger fragments getting stuck causing obstructions. Smaller pieces can cause gut irritation and perforation.  And Christmas favourites such as turkey, chicken and goose are all hollow-boned animals, meaning these bones will splinter either raw or cooked. They must never be given to your dog.

Please keep an eye on the decorations, too. And not just the chocolate ones. Mistletoe is poisonous to dogs and can cause stomach upsets, as can poinsettia. And make sure your dogs don’t eat tinsel….

Gosh, reading this makes you just want to forget the whole Christmas thing. Seriously, though, with a little bit of extra care and attention, pets can have a wonderful festive time along with their owners.

Last week a visitor to the SPA told us how on Christmas Eve, each of her animals is given a small portion of foie gras and smoked salmon, both traditional seasonal foods in France. Neither are harmful, (unless of course you happen to be the goose or fish who has produced the food) and there is nothing at all wrong with giving your pets some extra treats so they can join in the celebrations.

Of course the best seasonal treat for a refuge dog would be to have a new home for Christmas, and there are still a few days left for this to become a reality.

Most of these foods are poisonous to dogs.
(Oh good, more for me!)

Xmas food

A dog is reclaimed and another beaglette arrives!

This is the first day for well over a week that there has been no adoption to tell you about! Hardly surprising given the weather; we had very few visitors, and only a couple of hardy volunteers out dog-walking. Looking on the bright side, tomorrow is the shortest day, after which we will be on the way to spring! 😀

Before the rain really started to come down we were able to get pictures of yesterday’s arrival. It is like deja vu all over again, as they say! And those of you who missed out on the lovely Beaglette (now happily homed and renamed Lady) may be interested. Our newest arrival is another fabulous female beagle! Well, maybe her ears a tiny bit too long, but Cerise (as we have named her) is a lovely gentle girl who has gone to share her box with timid little Perou. We will have more information on her in due course.

Apart from that there is no news. A medium sized brown dog arrived having been found in Conques sur Orbeil, and the nice policeman who brought her in waited for her chip to be read and took her straight back to her owner once the SPA had made sure he was at home. That is service for you!

More adoptions on the cards for tomorrow…who else will have a home for Christmas?

New arrival – CERISE









And this girl arrived and was delivered home again!

brown medium sized dog

“Mona” reclaimed; Fido adopted

We mentioned last week that the owner of Mona (in reality Arteris) would collect her this week, and sure enough, no sooner had the week begun than this gorgeous gentle dog was back where she belongs. Many of us were bowled over by this girl, who despite her relatively young age (she is four), has a wisdom and calmness about her that is often only seen in older dogs.

The arrival of Fido four weeks ago was a bit of a mystery. Dogs like this are usually brought in from villages or by people who have found them following a hunt. What on earth was a dog of this kind doing in the centre of Carcassonne? Fido was not identified, but appeared to be used to affection, which again is not always the case with hunt type dogs. So was Fido a missing family pet? If so why was no one looking for him?

In any case all those questions are irrelevant, as Fido left for his new home today. Great news for this dog. Please do not be put off by the whole long ears thing. Yes, dogs of these breeds might be led by their noses, but most of them are extremely loving and desperate for affection. Without naming names, a couple of volunteers accidentally let go of Dumbo’s lead while walking him on Saturday, but it didn’t even occur to him to run away!

We had a couple of new arrivals, one of whom is a puppy, and we will get news on them tomorrow.

Mona (really Arteris) – RECLAIMED
Mona - female shepherd cross










Griffon cross

Sunday adoption of Lyndee

Despite the fact that today is Sunday, we have an adoption to tell you about! Lyndee arrived just ten days ago having been brought in by the Police Municipal who found this eight week old pup alone in the road. She may well have escaped from a local garden, as a dog of this age is unlikely to travel far under her own steam. Interesting that no one came to the SPA to reclaim her; perhaps the thought of having to pay a vet to have the puppy identified (a legal requirement) put them off…..How sad!

In any case, Lyndee had the good fortune to be taken home by volunteer Isa. Yes, yet again Isa and her family offered to a short term home to a puppy, meaning that the puppy goes from one loving home to another, with no time spent at the SPA. The adoption process takes place as for any other puppy, except it is Isa gets to choose the family that she feels is most suitable for the pup. Often she has several families who want the pup, and if you were one of them and were not chosen this time, perhaps you will be right for the next pup. Like people, pups all have their own characters!

This morning at 11 o’clock, Lyndee left with a family who have wanted a dog for a long time. Their excitement at adopting Lyndee has inspired the family’s grandparents to adopt a rescue dog too, so an adult dog from the SPA in Milhau (where they live) has a new home too.

Many thanks again to Isa and her family (and their dogs) who again have the house to themselves …for now at least!

Lyndee with her new family – ADOPTED
family of 4 carrying puppy Lyndee