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Three out but three in

When we have a new litter of pups at the SPA there is always some small wager as to which of them will be adopted first. Well, today the first of the Apple Litter found her new home. No, it was not Granny, so recently featured on this blog, but her sister Reinette. All of them are adorable, of course and we are happy that the first of these pups has been homed, just four days after being put up for adoption.

The Apples arrived just a couple of days after the day’s other adoption. Little Zouzou found her home too. We are surprised that it has taken so long, as she is cute as a button. But as mentioned in last night’s blog, puppies who are in foster have less chance to be seen by visitors to the refuge. This time we have Aurélie to thank. I am sure she must have become quite attached to Zouzou during the weeks that she was her “mummy”.

The third dog to leave the refuge today was Pompom. Someone contacted the SPA Facebook page today to tell us that she knew the dog, and sure enough he was collected this afternoon. Far be it from me to judge, but what took them so long? Pompom has been with us since Monday. If I had lost my dog I would be frantic, as would almost everyone I know. Takes all sorts, I suppose!

Of course the news was not all good. When is it ever? We had three new arrivals today, all females and all adults. Photos of two of them are below and we will try and catch up with number three tomorrow.

So numbers stay the same. It has been a terrible week all in all. Will tomorrow be enough to change this?

Reinette – ADOPTED
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Zouzou – ADOPTED

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Pompom – RECLAIMED

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New arrival number one

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New arrival number two

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A new Sanders plus two more arrivals.

Who says you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? I mentioned yesterday that young Sanders was off to MagDog and he came back looking absolutely stunning. Yet again, another of our dogs was given a gold star for good behaviour. Many thanks again to the one and only MagDog!

There were two arrivals this morning but they left this afternoon thanks to being identified. Phew. Then there were two more arrivals this afternoon. So numbers are up by yet another two.

One of them, Balou, has owners whom we are hoping to trace (he is identified but the phone number is not correct) and the other is a puppy who has gone home with Marie-Pierre. Another border collie. Hmmm. I have said it before and I will say it again, whoever is breeding them, you can stop now. France seems to have reached saturation point!

It is just a question of luck and timing as to which puppies go to foster families and which stay at the refuge. Puppy Flip arrived when all the foster families were full up, so he is at the SPA, as are the Apple Litter. I know where I would rather be if I were a pup!

However being at the SPA is not all bad. Flip, who was terrified when he arrived, is now leaping up with glee when people go to see him. Plus he is living inside the nursery, with some of the recently arrived cats, so is protected from many of the microbes at the SPA. And the Apple litter are all together in the cat house, so they too are reasonably protected. And of course the pups at the SPA can be seen by visitors without having to arrange meeting times with fosterers.

Pre-adoption visits are still organised, as is the case for the majority of pups in foster. Just because they are not with families, it does not mean that they are not loved as much as any other puppy who is in the care of the SPA.

In a perfect world, there would be no puppies arriving at all, of course. But we are a long way from that utopia.

Sanders – Before

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And after (thanks to Chauffeur Estelle and MagDog)

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New arrival  Balou

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New arrival – another border puppy

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And puppy Flip – making huge progress at the SPA

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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.

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This little chap came and left (already identified!)

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Alouette – ADOPTED

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Filou gets a makeover and it is apple season!

The two-woman whirlwind that is made up of Karen and Sabine has been hard at it. First it was a car boot sale on Sunday, selling €40 in books, and today it was collecting Filou from the refuge and taking him to Magdog Carcassonne for a pampering.

Magdog in Limoux “do” our mutts for free, as you know, but Sabine is a sponsor mum who takes her role very seriously, and she wanted to pay for Filou’s pampering. He has turned out to be quite a stunner under all that fur. And according to the groomers, he was a very easy customer, good as gold and welcome back at any time. Let’s hope that he finds his new home before there is a “next time”, however. With regular brushing there is no reason for a dog to be in poor condition. However Filou is not an easy dog to home, as he needs experienced child-free owners. Many thanks to Karen and Sabine for making him at least look like a normal dog!

There is someone out there for you, Filou, we just know!

Elsewhere at the SPA one of yesterday’s arrivals was reclaimed and there were no entries.So it was a much better day than yesterday.

The four puppies that have been with us for a month or so are now up for adoption so I thought you would like to see a photo of one of them. They are all girls and will be of medium size. They are known as the “Apple Litter” and this little girl is called Granny, believe it or not. A granny at just three months old!

Photos of the other new arrivals will follow, I promise.

Filou on his way to the beauty parlour

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And on his way back

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One of yesterday’s arrivals, Pompom

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And the most beautiful Granny in the world

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Miserable Monday

Today has been amongst the worse we have had for a long time, with eight new dog arrivals at the SPA. Three of them were subsequently reclaimed, and we had an adoption, but numbers are up by four, a huge number for a refuge that was already pretty full.

Moreover the dog who was adopted was tiny and easy to home, and had only arrived on Saturday. Although the adoption of little Kelly is great, it was hardly complicated. A six month old yorkie cross who was abandoned due to the fact that her son was allergic was never going to be difficult to rehome. In fact we could have done a home to home, but we wanted to be sure she was sterilised before leaving. And can you blame us, bearing in mind all the dogs who arrive all the time?

As we say so often, the SPA walls are not made of elastic. And whereas there is no legal limit on the number of cats who we are allowed to keep, the same is not true of the dogs. So we need to get more dogs homed, and homed for life, not just until people are bored or move house.

One girl who has attracted a lot of attention is Daisie. She is going to be sterilised tomorrow, and after this she will have to be kept dry until she is healed. So today was the last possible day for a wash, and we were lucky enough to have a volunteer toiletteuse come in today to beautify Daisie. Her fur was full of burrs, poor girl.

Just look at her now!

Another far scruffier dog is going to the parlour tomorrow, courtesy of two more volunteers, and I can’t wait to see him on his return. We have “before” pictures, and both those and the “afters” should be on the blog tomorrow, along with pictures of the new arrivals, all being well.

Bad bad day. But Kelly has a good home and Daisie must be feeling a lot more comfortable. Crumbs of comfort.

Kelly – ADOPTED
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Daisie – Groomed and Gorgeous!

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Asking the Audience.

On Friday Moira mentioned that it was the night of the SPA Annual General Meeting. Several people have asked about this: What went on? What did we discuss? How did we vote? Who are the new members of the board of directors?

Well, of course the SPA is an Association, and as such all this information will be available at the Prefecture. However if you were an active member, not only would you be invited to the meetings, you would be able to take part in the voting. Plus you would have a copy of the minutes delivered to your door (or inbox).

The SPA relies heavily on donations, many of which come through membership fees. There are three levels of membership, non-active (and non-voting) for €16 euros a year, active (voting) for €26 a year, and benefactor (also voting) for €85 a year. Of course you can donate more if you like!  If you want change or would like to join in the sometimes quite lively debates, why not join us?

Don’t think that if you pay to become a member that the money will not be used to help the animals. It all goes to the same pot. The Association is run by volunteers, and all the administration is done for free (minus the cost of stationary and stamps). Your money will still go towards all the things that we so desperately need; staff costs (yes, they are paid by the Association), vets bills, dog and cat food, electricity and other utilities, as well as the vehicles we need to take dogs and cats to the vets. Think of us as being like any normal household, just one with 200 animals to feed as well as everything else!

In general if anyone makes a donation above €26, we make them a member automatically. The reason for this is that the more active members we have, the more powerful we are. It is a bit like “ask the audience” on the TV programme “Who wants to be a Millionaire”. If you ask a large group of people for the answer to a question, there is a more than fair chance that the answer will be right. We call this the wisdom of the crowd.

Plus don’t forget that if you pay French income tax, then at the end of the year the receipt that you will receive will entitle you to 66% of the amount back! Bargain!

If you would like to join, just pop into the SPA or send a cheque to SPA Carcassonne. Route de Berriac, 11000 Carcassonne. And please tell us your email address so we can save on postage and have even more money for the animals that rely on us.

Dog Rescue Carcassonne is also a registered association, and so if you prefer you can join us instead/ as well. We only have one level of membership which is €10 per year. And of course all that money goes to the SPA too, for specific campaigns such as the Homeward Bound appeal to take dogs to the UK under TRACES. Just contact us if you would like to join!

Please support us so we can help them them!
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Tears for foster families

As you know, last night was the SPA AGM, which I will tell you more about tomorrow. What we need tonight is a catch of on news from the refuge itself

Yesterday saw the sad return of Dundee. He had been adopted about a month ago by a lovely couple, but their male westie refused to accept another male in the pack and kept attacking the new arrival. Every failed adoption tells us more about the dog, and we now know that Dundee is clean and calm in the house, fine with other dogs and is a real gentleman.

There were two other arrivals, Falco, a German shepherd who is micro-chipped but is unlikely to be reclaimed and Killo, who was reclaimed today.

Today we had two scheduled abandons, a 5 month old female yorkie (because the son is allergic to dogs). We could have done a home to home on her, but we would all prefer her to be sterilised, so she is spending a couple of days with us before going to a new home. The second arrival is a fabulous Labrador griffon khortal cross, guaranteed to be a favourite with those of us who like dogs with moustaches!

But there was some good news today; despite the fact that two foster families were in tears. Yes, two puppies were adopted. First to leave was Jun, who has been living with Melanie and her family for two months (and believe me, you can get very attached to a dog in that time!). She has been waiting for the perfect home, and we hope that is what she now has.

Second to leave was Busy/ Jelly and now Jess, who has been living with Isa. Had the adopter not been our very own Moira, Isa and her family would never have let this puppy leave! She is perfect in every way, so Isa was yet another foster mum who shed tears today. The SPA can get quite emotional at times!

So two dogs in, but three out. Plus loads of lovely volunteers. Not the worst Saturday we have had.

Dundee is back and it wasn’t even his fault

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Killo – RECLAIMED

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Jun – ADOPTED (thanks to foster mum Melanie)

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Jess – ADOPTED (thanks to Isa and her family)

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A.G.M and D.N.A

Tonight is the SPA  AGM so instead of refuge news  we have a guest blog by Tracy, a lady who adopted a ‘labrador cross’  from us as a pup. I too have cross breeds or just ‘mutts’ and I have to say that I find this subject really interesting!

So here is Tracys blog…enjoy!

You only need to look around the refuge to appreciate the number of different crossbreed dogs there are waiting to be adopted.  Some will have such distinctive markings or characteristics that you will easily be able to identify the mix of breeds but others are just a mystery to all of us.

Having adopted our “Labrador Cross” Rudi from the refuge at the age of 5 months we often tried to second guess his mix of breeds and it was the topic of many discussions.  We were certain that Labrador was the more prominent breed due to his gentle, laid back nature and as he had a docked tail we could only assume there was something like Rottweiler/Doberman/Beauceron in him too.  We were delighted when we found out that it was possible to have our dog’s DNA tested as we wouldn’t have to speculate any longer.  We purchased a Wisdom Panel Dog DNA Testing Kit from Amazon UK who were able to deliver it to us here in France. At the time this kit was on special offer at £44.  The kit contains full instructions, two cheek swabs and a return envelope.

Well now for the dilemma – how were we going to get a sample from the inside of our dog’s mouth without him trying to eat the swab?  There was no need to fret as it was so simple. It wasn’t necessary to open Rudi’s mouth at all, we just lifted the side of his lip and rolled the swab’s bristles between the inner surface of his cheek and gums for about 15 seconds – first one swab, then the other.  We then returned both swabs to the original seller (Mars Veterinary, Leicestershire) in the envelope provided and they then forwarded them to the USA laboratory for testing.  The only other information we provided about our dog was his age and weight.  We received an email confirming that the samples had arrived and three weeks later we were emailed the results – it couldn’t have been simpler.

We were amazed at the level of detail in the results with a family tree showing the mix of breeds going back three generations to both sets of great grandparents plus additional information about each breed of dog contained in the results.  What we found more amazing though was that we didn’t have a Labrador Cross at all.  What we had was a Rottweiler/Vizsla/German Shepherd Cross with a hint of Brittany Spaniel.  It wasn’t at all what we expected but we love him just the same.

Thank you Tracy, a fascinating subject and I am betting that quite a few of us will be buying these kits for our ‘mutts’!

Rudi – Rottweiler/Vizsla/German Shepherd / Brittany Spaniel.

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Rudi’s DNA results!

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Operation Caramel!

Adoptions, not to mention visitors are pretty thin on the ground right now. It is a funny time of year, both in terms of planning for holidays and in terms of weather. Looking outside you could imagine that it is a warm spring day, but the icy wind reminds us that winter isn’t over yet. Brrr!

We had one arrival today; that of a lovely jack russell. When I saw him I immediately went through my internal filing system. Most of us have a mental list of people who are looking for dogs of certain breeds, just in case! But in fact this young lad’s owners had already contacted the SPA to ask if their dog had been brought in.

Of course he had to be identified before leaving, and I wondered yet again why people would play Russian roulette with a dog that they love. Why leave finding your dog to chance? Especially when it concerns a breed that is often the victim of dog theft. Maybe it takes the shock of nearly losing a dog to make people actually step up and pay the relatively small amount to abide by the law and identify their animal.

Other than that the SPA was quiet. The main news of the day was the operation carried out on Caramel. This poor dog, who is not even one year old, has had the top of his femur removed. He arrived with a limp four weeks ago and although he was identified, his owners did not come to collect him. Could this be because he needed expensive medical care? We will probably never know. Caramel now has a minimum of two weeks in the infirmary, during which time his leg will need to be gently manipulated. After this time he will need regular walks to make sure he makes a full recovery.

Being such a young dog, Caramel has a good prognosis. And he is a lovely dog, so of course he will be able to find a home (luckily he is not black). But if you ever wonder why the SPA is grateful for every penny it receives, it is to help dogs like Caramel!

Let’s all wish him a full and speedy recovery and hope that he finds a home very soon! Daily exercise is much easier in a loving home, not when there are 100 other dogs who need walking!

Arrived and left with a brand new micro-chip

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Caramel – Get well soon

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Here is an X-Ray of his leg, with the top of the right femur removed

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Bilingual help for problem pooches!

Not much news from the SPA today. Yesterday’s puppy (who is 4 and a half months old and already weighs 25kg) was reclaimed, and is now identified. We had two new arrivals, only one of whom we have photos of; a fauve de Bretagne who is not identified. And there were no adoptions.

That does not mean the refuge was quiet, of course, it is just that when you sum it up, it looks like everyone has been kicking their heels.

One task that is ongoing is responding to the endless questions that people have once they have adopted a dog. Moira and I were discussing last night the fact that many people adopt dogs before knowing much about animals, they just know that they want a dog! Sometimes their new dog fits into their life seamlessly, as if he has always been there, but sometimes there are teething troubles (not necessarily involving teeth)!

DRC receives many requests for advice, as does the SPA dog page. And anyone who has spent any time at the refuge will have heard Carole’s side of the phone conversation as she talks people through their problems. Melissa too spends hours trying to help people, as do many other volunteers and employees. It is very time consuming.

Dog school is quite often the answer, but not always.

So we were delighted when we were contacted by Vanessa, a young British woman who has a diploma in dog behaviour and who, together with her mother, has adopted two borders from the SPA. She is well qualified to help; her dog, Lollipop, has not been exactly easy.  And they have WAY more than two dogs, I must add.

Vanessa can help in many ways, giving you tips and hints as to how to live with your new dog, and how to get over problems that you may think are insurmountable. And if your dog came from the SPA, you are entitled to a free hour of advice, and sometimes that is all it takes!

Vanessa has already done a couple of phone consultations, but it is far better if she is able to come and see the dog in his new environment, and all this is part of the service! Oh, and I must add that Vanessa is completely bilingual, so this service is offered to you as long as you can communicate in either French or English!

You can contact Vanessa on 06.24.90.77.37 or visit her website www.vanessaleejones.com

The goal is to have happier dogs; happier owners and ideally fewer dogs being brought back for behavioural problems that can be solved!

New arrival – Another Fauve

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Here is Vanessa with some of her family’s dogs. If you visit her site you can see her with animals of all shapes and sizes

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