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Latest News

Departure of DJ. But two arrivals.

There is a really strange phenomenon that sometimes takes place at the SPA. We have no name for it, so if you can think of one, please let us know. What happens is this: nobody pays any attention to a paticular dog, and then all of a sudden it is like a button is pushed, and everyone wants him.

The couple who took Nina on Tuesday had come to the refuge with the intention of adopting DJ. Their dog, Berlouf, had other ideas, and so they left with Nina. Then today another family came to see DJ, and things went much better with their dog (Hansel, adopted from us too), and DJ went off to his new home. How strange is that; nothing for five months, then BAM, two potential adopters in one week.

We are all very happy for DJ who arrived very subdued and with a bad eye infection. He has turned into a smashing fellow, and it is great that he has a home for Christmas.

His place was soon taken by a dog who has been extremely unlucky. I will not go into too many details, as a formal complaint will be made probably followed by a court case. This dog was found as a stray and taken to a place where he should have been safe before being brought to the SPA. Except that he was forgotten about completely and has been locked in a cage with no food or water for nine days. I am so shocked by this that I can feel my hands shaking as I type. Quite frankly this dog would have been better off on the streets where at least he could have gone through the bins to find food. Or perhaps someone would have brought him in. In any case, I can’t imagine an alternative that would have been as bad as what he has endured. He is safe now. I won’t say that is all that matters, but at least the torture is over for this boy, whom we have named “Forgot”

We also had the arrival of a lovely young dog who has changed homes more times than Imelda Marcos changed her shoes. Grignotte is identified but she has been given away several times since then, and it is time she found the home she deserves. She is young and sociable (Blacky is happy again!) and great with children. She would just like someone with a bit of time and space.

So a bit of a mixed day all in all. However there were quite a few dogs walked before the rain started. Again!

DJ – ADOPTED
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Yesterday’s arrival, Alouette

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New arrival , Forgot. How could they???

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New arrival – Grignotte

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Adoptions of Leika and Rox

Today was a day that couldn’t come soon enough for one couple and their new dog! Louise said yesterday that the ten days between reserving Leika and the day of her collection have been the longest ten days of her life! The delay was not due to pound time; that has been over for ages as far as Leika is concerned, but the family had other commitments which delayed the adoption.

Many of you will remember that Leika was adopted at October’s open Sunday, and brought back the following day as she was attacking the woman’s other dog. We had warned her, but some people think it is worth a go, and admittedly sometimes it is! This time Leika will be homed alone, but with other dogs close by. If harmonious integration is not possible, then so be it, but Leika has her own family and is going to be treated like a princess! At over ten years old and with one eye, she is a very lucky girl indeed!

Leika was not the only dog to leave today. A couple who visited the SPA stand at La Cite on Sunday came along to the refuge in the afternoon; she wishing to adopt, he not so sure. So it was important that it was the right dog! Luckily they saw Rox. He had been abandoned, recently so we knew his history. Not too big, not too small, not too young, not too old. There was only one problem, and that (or rather THEY) were dealt with at the vets today.

Rox had been abandoned due to a change in family circumstances on November 15th having been adopted from us as a puppy. He is now six years old, and I am so glad he did not have long to wait.

In other news, today saw the arrival of a black and tan female ratier, who was found by the police. I will try and get photos of her tomorrow. She sounds sweet, assuming you like small dogs, and she is already sharing her kennel, so she sounds sociable. Bet she doesn’t hang around for too long!

Not a bad day; two out, one in.

Rox  – ADOPTED
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Leika – ADOPTED

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A new life begins for Nina

Today I almost skipped home. We only had one adoption, but it has made all of us really happy.

We have been “looking after” a dog pending a court case, and the decision had just been taken to create an album for her on Facebook in order to try and find her a home. Why this decision after seven weeks you may ask. Well, because the former owner has been banned from ever owning another animal EVER ! So no more dogs being beaten when he has had too much to drink! At last a sensible judgement that is in favour of animals!

And lovely Nina has gone off to a new life. Better still, she has gone to live with a couple who have adopted from us before. Watching Berlouf playing with Nina was just wonderful; her life will be filled with joy from now on (assuming she is introduced to the cats in the proper manner, that is!)

Despite this photo Nina is not an unhappy dog, but her life until now had not been easy. She will learn to trust properly again very soon, as she is just 18 months old.

In other SPA news, an identified dog arrived today and her owner is coming to collect her tomorrow. The magnificent Newfoundland who arrived yesterday has not been reclaimed, which is odd. The clock is ticking; in nine days she will be up for adoption.

On the subject of which, we often post photos of a dog and say that we are unable to find their owners because the details are not up to date. You may think you are being helpful when you suggest that we try and look up the people via the phone book, internet etc. We do all those things, and more, thanks to our network of helpers, although sometimes it does take time.  If it is easy to find the owners, we do it. If it is harder, we still try.

Facebook is an excellent way to find “missing” owners as well as missing dogs, so please share our albums far and wide, and let’s get as many owners and dogs reunited as we can.

Thanks to those of you who braved the icy wind today to walk the dogs. Bracing, wasn’t it?

Nina – ADOPTED
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Adoption of Flint, but three arrivals, including poor Falko

Today has been bad. It started with the return of Falko, the dog Argentin. This despite the regular updates on Facebook showing him lying calmly with the family’s other dog and the two of them being described as “inseparable”.  Apparently things weren’t always as peaceful, and although it was always the other dog who was to blame (she kept attacking him), it was Falko who paid the price and who is now back behind bars. When will luck finally turn for this boy? He is good with other dogs, children and chickens. He deserves a lovely home!

One dog’s luck finally changed today. After a long eight month’s wait, spaniel Flint finally found a home. He is a great dog, a completely different creature out of his kennel than when in it; but very few people saw this and appreciated that he had a calm and gentle side to his personality, as well as a crazy one!

Three other dogs arrived, one of whom was identified and left with his owners. But that still leaves us two up on yesterday, despite the departure of Flint. A depressing start to the week, and we hope it is not an omen for the rest of the week.

On the plus side (cos sometimes we have no choice other than to be optimistic), both are beautiful dogs. One, Chanel, is a magnificent Newfoundland who is identified but whose details are not up to date. The other is a male fauve de Bretagne, who is not identified and who has been named Scapin.

Yesterday I was so happy about the two adoptions that I forgot to pass on some great news! We had confirmation that the family who took Bidule home to foster are keeping him! We thought that might be the case when we heard that they had renamed him Popa, but we wanted to be sure before announcing the good news. So with him, Truk and Hercule now out of the SPA, the three oldies who were our really urgent cases all safe and warm.

Of course we want every single dog to be in a warm home, and we still have several oldies who would be much better off inside; but those three were the most vulnerable.

You see, optimism in the face of adversity!

Falko is back. He was not to blame and deserves much better!

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Flint – ADOPTED after eight months

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15 year old Bidule (now Popa) – Staying with his foster family.

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New arrival  – Chanel. Identified but owner’s details not up to date

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New arrival – Scapin.

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Windy Cité and Open Sunday.

The weather was much kinder to us today in that it did not rain. There was still a cold wind, especially in La Cité, where it was day two of the Fete of St Nicolas. Well done to the team who managed to endure the arctic conditions! The presence of Benedicte’s huge Great Dane certainly drew the crowds, and one onlooker suggested that we charge a euro per picture; we would have made a fortune!

This afternoon the refuge was open as it was the first Sunday of the month. That is not the same as Christmas for the Animals, which may happen next weekend, if we feel there is enough interest (and if the weather looks okay; I don’t think any of us can stand another weekend wrapped up like the Michelin Man!)

Still, at least it wasn’t wet, and so although we were not as busy as we would have liked, we did have two adoptions. Usually we only have reservations on Sundays, but today Carole gave up her one free day to join us for a couple of hours, and her timing was perfect!

First to leave was old man Hercule. His new family are first time dog owners, so a calm, older dog suited to apartment living seemed just perfect. Hercule was the oldest dog at the SPA, and it is lovely to think of him in the warm tonight.

Then we had the adoption of Caramel. He has gone to the mother of friends of volunteer Deb. See how this whole word of mouth thing works? They were looking for a calm, medium sized dog who would not be too difficult to walk. Carole was there to advise, and her choice proved to be bang on. Caramel needed to get out of the refuge, he arrived fairly thin and refuge life has not been helping at all; he has been looking more and more whippet-like as time went on. He and the family, including two young children, seemed to form an instant bond, and off he went!

There was a reservation too, but even had Carole been there at the time, this dog would not have left, as he needs to see the vet first. I am sure you can guess why; we haven’t told the dog yet!

A couple of other visitors are thinking about whom to choose, so all in all it was a pretty good day. Especially as the only dog who arrived was micro-chipped and was reclaimed as soon as her owners could make it.

Thanks to everyone who showed up. Should we do it again next week?

Team Cité. Spirits are high despite the icy cold!
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A sprightly eleven year old Hercule – ADOPTED

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And Caramel – ADOPTED

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Rain didn’t stop play!

Well, what can I say? What a day to choose for day one of the Christmas events! Who the heck ordered the wind and rain?

Market traders on Place Eggenfelden looked on in envy as the guys from the Mairie set up the DRC tent, complete with wind-proof side panels. We were quickly installed and drinking hot coffee and eating warm croissants from the stall next door. Tinker the raffle dog was on display and we had many other “crafty” good on sale, as well as cupcakes and other delicacies. Being a new association, we were keen to let people know who we are and what we are about (rehoming dogs!). Moira’s lab, Zac acted as doggie ambassador, wiggling at everyone he met, the way labs do!

Due to a mix up, we were herded off the square at 13H00, despite having official authorisation to be there until 18H00. We didn’t put up too much of a fight, as we were not particularly warm and the crowds had thinned out in any case.

Almost all the perishable items were sold, and what was not will go to either La Cite or the SPA tomorrow, both of which will be up and running and with (we hope) better weather.

Thanks to everyone who braved the weather and came along, and particular thanks to our artisans for their creativity. We made quite an impression, I think! I love the fact that after shutting her stall, a woman selling vegetables rushed over to buy a handmade coat that she had been coveting all morning.

All the money raised, several hundred euros, will go to help the dogs at the SPA, of course.

I have no news from our colleagues at La Cité as yet; they are presumably still thawing out.

Meanwhile at the SPA, we had an adoption, that of lovely Panach. He was found as a terrified “not quite pup” in Trebes, and the staff and volunteers have worked wonders socialising him. His brother, Diabolo, is still waiting for a home. Hopefully he won’t have long to wait.

Also Princesse, the old lady who was brought in yesterday, was reclaimed. Her owners were there to collect her on the dot of 14H00 and were delighted to have their girl back again. You see, not everyone gets rid of elderly dogs!

Tomorrow the SPA is open, as it is the first Sunday of the month, and we will be present at La Cité again, hopefully with better weather.

A few of Team DRC, complete with Zac and his Xmas coat!
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Panach – ADOPTED

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And the SPA Xmas tree is up ! Why not come and buy a bauble for your favourite dog or cat!

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A happy photo but much bad news.

Last night the SPA Facebook page received a photo that put a smile on a lot of faces. Truk, our oldest and poorliest boy, has been taken home for long term fostering. This means that he is in the warmth of a loving home, rather than at the refuge. Truk has a bad heart, and is mostly deaf and blind; can you imagine how confusing and distressing the SPA is for dogs like him?

It is in cases like this that foster families are invaluable. I have little doubt that this will be the last home that Truk knows; it is end of life care, allowing this old dog to die in a dignified and loving environment. Whoever dumped him did not have the courage to do the decent thing, sadly.  Thank you so much to his new family. It may be my imagination, but Truk’s eyes seem brighter already!

It is ironic to be writing this on the same day that we received news of the death of a Rookie, who was lucky enough to be adopted from the SPA despite his age. Jane knew the end was coming, but it doesn’t make things any easier when it happens. Rookie was shamelessly abandoned at the age of 12 (or so we think; his owners couldn’t quite remember), and I am sure that his years with Jane were the happiest of his life. He was a great dog, one you could take anywhere. He knew he was lucky and he behaved accordingly (most of the time, at least!) Jane is not one for angels and rainbow bridges and all that; so let’s just hope that the pain of her loss passes as quickly as possible.

Thanks for everything you did for Rookie for the last two and a half years, Jane. A small dog can leave a huge hole!

I told you that the SPA and its volunteers are very busy this weekend. So just a reminder: Tomorrow and Sunday the SPA has a stand at La Cite, for the Fete of St Nicolas. There will be plenty to see and do at the Christmas market, it is a great way to spend a day, as it is full of craft stalls and fun! On both afternoons the SPA will be open, as it is the first weekend of the month. We will be joined by our friends from Dog Park 11, who will be there to walk dogs and give advice on dog training etc. And don’t forget that tomorrow DRC will be at Place Eggenfelden, in the centre of Carcassonne, with our very own mini Christmas market.

With any luck our three-pronged offensive should reach a large number of people.  The idea is to encourage people to visit the SPA and that adoptions will follow. Let’s get some doggies out before Christmas!

Today the SPA has four more dogs; the black lab who was found with a broken leg on December 1st is back from the vet and has been named Tonnerre. He was joined by a male golden lab, Cooper, and a sandy coloured girl called Princesse, who is nearly 12 years old. I have no information on dog number four, except that he is 9 years old.  It has been a bad day. Another one.

Let’s hope some room is made this weekend. None of these four will be able to leave, of course, as they must serve out their “pound time”, but we have plenty other lovely dogs who would love to have a new home. Personally I hope that some of our longer term residents may finally get their turn, but at the moment I would be happy with any adoptions at all.

The day’s only bright spot, Truk in his foster home

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RIP lovely Rookie 

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New arrival Tonnerre

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New arrival eleven year old Princesse

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New arrival Cooper

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Gisele pirouettes to freedom!

Well, it may be cold in Carcassonne but at least it is sunny! This meant that we were able to get lots of dogs walked, which is always good for morale, both theirs and ours.

And we had an adoption, which has become such a rarity nowadays that spirits are lifted enormously, especially when it is a dog of seven years old! Gisele has gone home with Wendy, who, it turns out, is friends with volunteer Rob. They bumped into each other when Rob was bringing Blacky back from his walk, and Wendy was just leaving. So we will definitely have news of Gisele (who is to be renamed Gigi) in her new home.

Yesterday’s two arrivals should be collected tomorrow, all being well. Their owners were not pleased to hear that they had been brought to the SPA, as they were close to their house and it is “quite normal” for them to be left to wander. This seems to be a peculiarly French way to treat dogs; kick them out in the morning, let them in at night. Not everybody here treats their dogs like this, by any means, but it is far more common than it is in the UK. And many owners do not like the inconvenience of making a trip to the SPA to collect their dogs. Look at Fox, for instance. He was brought in so many times that his owners just decided one day that enough was enough, and left it  up to the SPA to find Fox a new home. It is so hard to know what to do; but by no means should you assume that everyone loves their dogs the way you love yours, and that they will rush to collect them and be grateful. Just ask poor Carole, who fields the angry phone calls!

Oh, we must say a huge thanks to MaxiZoo thanks to whom every single dog in the refuge has been treated to a flea and tick treatment. Incredibly generous of them, and we are looking forward to spending a day in their store on December 20th too, when they are hosting a pre-Xmas collection for the SPA.

So it is not all doom and gloom; especially as the SPA is active on three fronts this weekend….See tomorrow’s blog!

Wendy leaves with Gisele (now Gigi)

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Nice Weather for Ducks!

How many of you remembered that yesterday was #givingtuesday? Well this initiative, driven by Annette (who incidentally “Christmassed up” the DRC logo for this month), proved to be quite a success. Annette herself attracted four new clients, all of whom will be donating to DRC, and Tina held a craft party at her house where money was raised both for the upcoming cake raffle and as donations. Many thanks to you both and to everyone who contributed.

We hope this will be an annual event, with more people joining in and even more money being raised for worthy causes. Especially us!

Meanwhile at the refuge today we had five new canine arrivals. Luckily three of them were reclaimed, leaving just these two lovely old boys who were brought in by volunteer Joëlle (yes, the same Joëlle who is fostering puppies Jazzy and Zumba). They were found near the Lycée Charles Cros in Carcassonne and one of them is identified, so let’s hope their owner is looking for them. I doubt they will enjoy winter at the refuge.

And we had an adoption. “Nice weather for Ducks” usually means it is raining, or at least damp underfoot. That was not the case today, it was just cold! But for little Duck, it was a great day, regardless of the temperature. After one failed adoption (the family’s other dog was attacking him), Duck has found his new home. Introductions (or should I say introDUCKtions) with the family’s other dog were made at the SPA, and all went swimmingly (I am on a roll tonight with the Duck jokes).

So two arrivals and one departure. Numbers are creeping up again…..Funny how this happens in holiday seasons, isn’t it?

December’s DRC logo, thanks to Annette.

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Some rum truffle Xmas puds, thanks to Anna who was at Tina’s event

 

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Two new arrivals

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Duck – ADOPTED

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A Mission of Mercy and Two Dogs Leave

This morning on Carole’s initiative, she and I went on a mission of mercy  to the ASCPA (Association Catalane de Protection Animale) in Perpignan. They were hit dreadfully by the floods and all their bedding and food was soaked. We arrived the same as several other visitors, all offering help. Our donation of blankets, dog food and baskets was extremely welcome and we spent a long time chatting with staff and volunteers about how they were coping in the current conditions, and we swapped ideas about the practicalities of running a refuge.

Of course their set up is very different to ours, they “choose” which dogs to take and so all their dogs are either sociable or small (or both). It was lovely to see the dogs living in small groups in parks, rather than in separate boxes of ones or twos. However at the SPA  Carcassonne we have to take all-comers, so antisocial dogs have to be kept separate for safety’s sake.

Both Carole and I were struck by the fact that several of the dogs looked exactly like ours. I guess they are just some breeds that you find in all French refuges.

Don’t worry, people, we still have enough blankets to keep us going for a while, although we may launch an appeal in the next couple of weeks. Especially now the temperatures have plummeted. However we could not ignore this cry for help, even though it was from a refuge in a different department. Regardless of geography, we share the same goals. And there but for the grace of God…..We have made new friends today, that is for sure.

Back at the SPA this afternoon we had an adoption; that of our beautiful German shepherd, Falco. We knew he wouldn’t be around for long when he arrived; he had come from a breeder and was identified, but the breeder had never changed the ownership details nor kept records of to whom he had sold his dogs (NB, this is NOT responsible breeding), so Falco needed a new home. And today he has one, after just over four weeks with us.

And one of the dogs who was brought in on Saturday was reclaimed, which I know will make Moira’s day. She and I were both quite upset to see this boy shivering with fear (not cold) in his kennel. She left just before his owner called to say that he was on his way. The photographs of him leaving show a joyous dog, so I wanted to show you one, even though it is a bit fuzzy.

It has been a busy day, but a good one, all in all.

If anyone is wondering how they can help, by the way, please think about posting this blog to your Facebook wall and sharing albums of the dogs. Bear in mind, without Facebook no one would have been aware of the plight of the refuge in Perpignan. Social networking WORKS!

The Facebook photos of the ASCPA in Perpignan which prompted Carole to suggest we go to help.
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The team was happy with our gesture of solidarity and that of the many other donors.

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Falco – ADOPTED

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Shayen in his box. A dog cannot be much more miserable than this….

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But then Daddy comes to collect him!

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