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Latest News

The sad return of Duck and I mess up! But good news for cats!

I have to make a correction to yesterday’s blog; Eloi did not actually leave, he was just reserved yesterday. I jumped the gun a bit, but at least we know he will be leaving soon, and in the meantime we will find him a new kennel-mate so he does not miss his sister too much. Sorry about that, everyone.

One reason I was a bit distracted was because I had just heard some news from official blog translator, Hélène. She has been running a one-woman campaign for several months to try and put political pressure on her local mayor to pay for the sterilisation of the village’s wild cats. Yesterday all her work was rewarded, with a not inconsiderable sum of money being put aside to help with the overpopulation problem. Collecting signatures is a tiring and time-consuming business, so it is just great that it bore fruit. Many congratulations to Hélène and her mum, who I know helped a great deal too. Gathering nigh on 600 signatures is no mean feat! I am sure Hélène would be happy to give advice to anyone who wants to follow suit if your village has a similar problem (and let’s face it, very few villages don’t).

Okay, back to the SPA. Today was sad sad sad. Duck came back, through no fault of his own. The family’s other dog kept attacking him, and Duck is so small that he was unable (and ill-equipped) to defend himself. Being in a kennel again must be a shock for him, especially after a night in the warm.

All in all, yesterday’s blog, with its inaccuracy about Eloi and now with the return of Duck, was just a waste of time.

Thanks to all the walkers today; even if no dogs were adopted, at least some of them got a little taste of freedom.

Duck is behind bars again

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Two more littlies leave

Please can everyone vote in this on-line competition. It is to support the wonderful Belgian association Animal Trust, who as many of you know have taken quite a few dogs from the SPA Carcassonne. All you have to do is click on the link, add your email address then confirm your vote by responding to the follow up email. It takes very little time and virtually no effort, but the €1000 euros which Animal Trust could win will make a huge difference to them.

A bit like the SPA Carcassonne, Animal Trust does not get any state aid. Okay, unlike the SPA they do not act as “the pound” and so are technically not obliged to take dogs. This means that they can control the number of dogs they have at any one time. However Eline and Kevin are huge dog lovers, so of course they often take dogs that are in need or who are not easy to home. And of course they have worked miracles for many a dog from the SPA. €1000 will go a long way to help them out financially, so let’s get to it, guys!

At the SPA we had the adoption of two littlies. First to go was Duck, a tiny boy who arrived about five weeks ago. He had an area of scabby-looking skin on his lower back so he was effectively quarantined until we were sure it was nothing nasty. He had his first grand outing at the November open day, and he turned out to be a fabulous little chap, although admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea looks-wise. But he played catch in a way that would put many retrievers to shame, and was just so charming that we all fell a little bit in love with him. I am so pleased that he has a new home! I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the message from the SPA today to say that the Gremlin had left!

And also happily little Eloi didn’t have long to wait after the adoption of his sister yesterday. He has been adopted by friends of volunteer Veronique, which means that we will have news of him.

And (hush) there were no arrivals.

Duck (playing fetch like a real dog!)  – ADOPTED 
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Eloi – ADOPTED the day after his sister.

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Adoption of Iona

Another afternoon of sun so yet again we were able to get several dogs out on walks. Walking dogs is good for many reasons; obviously the dogs need exercise, and although putting them in the parks allows them to run around, it does not actually provide much in the way of either training or interaction. It is only on walks that you find out things about a dog like does he/ she pull, how responsive is he/she to commands etc.

This is important when we try to find the right home for the dog. A dog that appears angelic in its kennel can turn out to pull like a tractor on the lead, and although there are strategies for dealing with this, it is best to be forewarned. Likewise a dog whom we assume to be hard work on the lead can turn out to be perfect on the lead (although admittedly this is less common)!

And sometimes, like today, you walk a dog for the first time and see it in a totally different light and think “let’s get you out of here”. Such was the case when Moira and I walked Maya today, so you expect a bit of promotion for this fabulous small blue merle collie in the days to come. She is a gem!

We had one adoption today. Little Iona left for her new home after having been found with her brother in the parking lot of the new hospital. Deliberately lost in a place where they were sure to be found, perhaps? We will never know.

In any case, they have been waiting since October 10th and her brother Eloi is still hoping that his chance will come soon.

Iona has been renamed Calie and will help mend the broken hearts of a lovely couple who lost their similar-looking male dog last week. I am sure we will have news, as Calie will be going to dog school with volunteer Rebecca.

We also had a couple of reservations, and although the dogs won’t be leaving immediately, if the home is right (which it is in both cases) it is worth the wait.

No dogs arrived either, so again not too bad as days go.

Hidden Gem –  five year old Maya
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Iona (now Calie) – ADOPTED

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Her brother, Eloi, is still waiting. He is tiny, by the way!

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A Flying Carpet, and adoption of Twitter, too!

What can I say, everyone knows how I love a beagle and today our boogie-woogie beagle boy, Carpet, found what is, by all accounts, a wonderful home. I am so pleased for him, as I hate to see a beagle behind bars (I prefer them on my sofa, even if mine does snore like a pig). And Carpet had been with us since the end of May, after being run to ground on the ring road by SPA secretary Carole, who was trying to get home after a hard day’s work. He has gradually been putting on weight so I am pleased that he will be getting more exercise from now on!

The second adoption of the day was that of puppy Twitter. He has been in a foster family with volunteer Isa since he arrived 10 days ago, and in fact was reserved on the day of his arrival, so it was just a question of respecting the legal “pound time”. His adopter is a friend of volunteer Audrey, so we will have news, no doubt. Many thanks to Isa and her family for keeping this boy out of the refuge and giving him such a lovely time while he was waiting. Fostering is not an easy business, emotionally. His brother, Google, is also reserved as of today, too, leaving just Vista who was found later, so is still officially in “the pound”, although she too is living the life of riley in the home of yet more wonderful volunteers.

There were two further reservations, both of adult dogs, and only one arrival, who is a identified and this is not the first time he has wondered, so we are hopeful that he will be reclaimed.

As Mondays go this one wasn’t too bad! Let’s hope the week carries on positively.

Carpet – ADOPTED
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Twitter – ADOPTED

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A Helping Hand…

Today the SPA was shut and apart from the kennel staff cleaning out and feeding the dogs it was quiet.

Lots and lots of you ask how you can help us make life just a wee bit better for our dogs and of course not everyone is in the position to adopt so here are some suggestions:-

Volunteer. Without our volunteers the dogs would not be walked outside of the refuge. We really need to get the dogs used to being out and about, teach them leash skills and get them socialised. Through doing this we learn lots about the dog and can thus advise prospective adopters re their choice of dogs. As a volunteer you can walk small dogs, big dogs, the choice is yours. If you don’t fancy walking you can play in the park with dogs, groom them or just give them cuddles. Whatever time you have to give helps dog cope with the stress and anxiety of kennel life. We have a super team of both English and French speaking volunteers so if you would like to join us you would be made most welcome.

Fundraise. We have teams of both English and French speaking volunteers who host various events to raise funds for the SPA dogs. We have an English speaking fundraising group with a facebook page too. If you would be interested in helping then just get in touch.

Donate. If you don’t have the time to volunteer or fundraise a little donation is most welcome. Our paypal account address is our email and every little helps. All of the monies raised through DRC goes towards the SPA dogs and lots of it allows us to transport dogs to other associations where they have a much better chance of being adopted and a lovely time whilst waiting!

Share, share, share. The power of social media is fantastic and our page is very dynamic. Please take a second to click share when you see a doggy profile. You just never know who will see it and it can really help our dogs get a home.

Collect. With winter fast approaching, we will need blankets and towels .Its a never-ending task ensuring our dogs have a warm, damp free bed.

Transport. We regularly transport dogs to the UK. If you are driving back and don’t mind a doggy passenger please get in touch. We of course do the paperwork, provide a cage and lead and pay for the dogs channel crossing.

So if you can’t adopt but want to help please do get in touch…we need and appreciate all the help we can get!

A helping hand…

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Volunteer..

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Two adoptions but four arrivals, including another oldie.

The refuge was very busy this afternoon. In both good and bad ways. On the good side, we had two adoptions and lots of volunteers walking dogs, including three new volunteers who have joined the team.

On the bad side, we had 5 arrivals, although one (who was identified) left straight away. But that still means four new dogs at the SPA, one of whom is even older and in even worse condition that the boy who arrived yesterday. I really hope this is not a case of people getting rid of dogs deliberately, but if this is not the case, why haven’t they phoned to look for their dogs? And more to the point, why are their dogs not identified?

Apart from the old man, who is as yet nameless, we had the arrival of Rox was a pre-scheduled abandon due to a change in family circumstances. Vista is the third puppy from an unwanted litter of borders (Google and Twitter are both in foster). Then we have another fabulous malinois, who is very similar in looks to Miedo who arrived earlier this week, but possibly a bit older and unidentified.

If there were a prize for lucky girl of the day, it would have to go to Brindille. This tiny girl actually arrived at the SPA on October 17th, but it took a couple of weeks to get a half decent photo of her. In fact, she was so shy that not many people even knew there was a second dog in the kennel. Volunteer Dominique spent over an hour coaxing little Brindille out of the covered area, and after this, she gradually started to come out of her own accord. Progress was going to be slow.

Luckily (!) Dominique was having sleepless nights, worrying about Brindille. And so after a successful cat test, she brought her dogs to the SPA to see if everyone got on. This, too, went well, and today, following sterilisation, Brindille went off to her new home. And you can be sure that we will have plenty of news! Thanks Dominique!

Today also saw the adoption of Bambi. He was with us for about 5 weeks, before leaving today with a fabulous family. We are so happy for him, as although he is an absolutely delightful dog, sometimes these shepherd crosses have trouble being noticed, even when they look more like baby deer than dogs!

Not the end to the week that we were hoping for, sadly, despite the fact that two more dogs are in the warm tonight.

Chuckie – reclaimed (identified)

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Bambi – ADOPTED

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Brindille – ADOPTED

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New arrival – Mack

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New arrival – Truc

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New arrival – Vista (in a foster home, like her brothers)

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New arrival abandoned) –  six year old Rox

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Two sad arrivals and some sad news too. Bad Day!

Well, to “compensate” for yesterday’s two lovely adoptions, we had two arrivals today. Only difference being that instead of two young females in excellent health, we seem to have swapped for two males who are in a terrible condition.

At present there are no photos of the Australian shepherd, as apparently he is in such a poor state that any photos might be distressing. I will see him tomorrow, and already I am dreading it slightly. Have to just grit my teeth and tell myself that at least he is safe now, and that we will make him well again.

The ratier may just be lost, but he has an abscess under his eye that looks very nasty. Plus he is old old old. I hope his owners are looking for him, but only if they are going to get him treatment, otherwise he, too, is better off with us, sad though it may sound.

We received an email today to inform us of the death of Annibal, a magnificent cane corso who was adopted from the SPA in August 2012. He died at his loving home yesterday of cancer. Many thanks to his adopters for the love and care they gave him until the very end.

For those of you (and there are LOTS of you) who have expressed interested in Blues, this photo of Annibal gives you an idea of what an adult cane corso looks like. But as we are explaining to everyone who contacts us, Blues may well turn out to be something other than a cane corso. And whereas a cane corso can be adopted by anyone, if Blues turns out to be something else (and a dog’s breed cannot be determined until the age of eight months), there will be the whole “dangerous dog” permitting to get through. Only serious applicants need apply, as they say!

Let’s hope tomorrow brings better news.

New arrival 
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And RIP Annibal

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Girls’ Day Out!

People move house for a variety of different motives; sometimes downsizing is necessary for financial reasons, or maybe a new job forces a change of location. People do not always have much choice of where to live, especially when property prices and rents are high. As a dog owner, however, I just do not understand why someone would choose an apartment on a high floor and use this as an excuse to abandon their dog at the SPA.

Luckily however, Dora did not have long to wait before finding her new home. This year old shepherd cross had been with us for just under four weeks before leaving today. Who knows, perhaps her former owner did the right thing by her, as her new family are lovely.  But I can simply not imagine ever giving up a dog I love to an uncertain future; for all he knew Dora could have spent months or even years at the SPA before finding a new home.

Another lucky girl today was Vanille, who spent one week less at the SPA than Dora before being adopted. The family came along earlier in the week to test compatibility with their handsome male lab, and so now they have one of each, a yellow lab and a black one. Lovely looking dogs, both of them.

On the subject of dogs who don’t spend long at the SPA, there have been literally dozens of people enquiring about Blues, the lovely pup who arrived yesterday. It was one of our Facebook followers, who made the following observation, which we all applaud.  “So much enthusiasm for a single dog. It would be good if this could have a knock-on effect on the others who are waiting. It is clear that people are more prone to adopt an animal for its appearance rather than for reasons of compassion.”

Come on, you lovers of the underdog! Adopt an oldie, adopt a scruffy, adopt a fatty, adopt a dog who needs you!

Dora – ADOPTED
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Vanille – ADOPTED

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A Very Welcome Donation and Metro Goes Home!

On Wednesday neither Darcey nor I am at the SPA. This is not to say that we have been sitting with our feet up, we have been very online updating sites, answering emails, messages and phone calls and we are very lucky that Carole takes the time to send us updates of the day’s events.

The first bit good news was that Metro, who was brought to the SPA on Saturday was reclaimed by his owners. His owners called to report him missing and we were very happy to be able tell them that he was safe and sound and could leave after being identified at our vets.  This is great news as he is home where is belongs instead of in a kennel and should he wander off again and end up at the SPA we will scan him and call his owners right away! Its great news for the SPA too as a large, black male could take a long time to find a home!

Next we had a 200 euros donation! This was thanks to Elodie, Sandra, Anto and Nataly who worked alongside the tourist office in Carcassonne offering guided tours of La Cite in exchange for donations. What a fantastic and unique way to raise funds so a massive thank you to all concerned! 200 euros goes a long way and could sterilise 3-4 male dogs ! You can imagine the knock on effect this could have on the doggy population in general.

One doggy who wasn’t so lucky was Sam.  Like Metro, he isn’t identified so we are relying on someone calling us to say he’s missing or seeing him on facebook and recognising him. If you don’t identify your dog and they go missing it will be very difficult for anyone who finds them to contact you. Please don’t leave the fate of you’re dog up to chance…identify your dog and remember to keep the details up to date!

Next to arrive was another pup…a cane corso x who we will have more news of tomorrow!

On a non doggy note, Inky and Dinky, two of my foster kittens have been reserved and will be off to a really lovely family soon!

Metro is off home!

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Sam has arrived but is not identified!

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New pup..wow, stunning!

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Dogs in War. Lest we Forget.

The SPA was closed today as it was a Bank Holiday; however a few volunteers sneaked in to spend some time with the dogs. Seems a shame to waste such glorious weather.

I approve totally of the fact that November 11th is commemorated by a national holiday in France (and many other countries, although sadly not in Britain). However taking time to visit the dogs at the SPA seems very appropriate, when you consider the important role played by dogs in warfare.

Britain alone trained some 20,000 dogs for military service. The dog’s innate qualities of intelligence and devotion have been valued and used by the forces in conflicts throughout the world. Among their many duties in WW1, these faithful animals ran messages, laid telegraph wires, detected mines, dug out bomb victims and acted as guard or patrol dogs.

Strong dogs such as mastiffs and rottweilers were used to pull guns and heavy machinery and small feisty terriers helped to keep the trenches clear of rats and other vermin. For men trapped in the horrors of trench warfare, a dog was a psychological comfort that took away, if only for a short time, the horrors they lived through. For many soldiers, a dog must have reminded them of home comforts.

It is not by accident that dogs are called man’s best friend. They follow their owners through thick and thin and are still used by the military today. Of course many other animals went to war too, and Britain has a memorial in Hyde Park so people can pay tribute. I hope there were lots of wreaths placed there today.

Business as usual tomorrow; now you have even more reason to adopt a dog (they are HEROES!) Why not come along to the SPA and say hello. Whether you are after a ratter or a rottie, we will have what you are after!

A faithful scout

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First Aid dogs.

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And a messenger dog

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