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Latest News

When Disaster Strikes…R.I.P Manchester Dogs!

Today the doggy world worldwide is reeling from last night’s devastating news that at least 50 dogs are dead and numerous injured after a youth started a fire at Manchester’s Dog Home.  Desperate staff and volunteers at the Harpurhey sanctuary, as well as members of the public, battled to rescue dozens of animals from the outbreak whist firefighters tackled the blaze. 150 dogs were saved and we totally understand how soul destroying this must be for everyone involved and what a mammoth task lies ahead of them. We must remember that these lost dogs were not just strays in a kennel, they were the dogs that they cared for,helped to rehabilitate and had hopes of seeing them into their new homes.

When such disaster strikes its heart-warming to see how likeminded people pull together and the home has been inundated with cages, blankets and food and offers to foster dogs in need.  Donation are also flooding in and should anyone want to donate you can do so via https://www.justgiving.com/dogshome

Once assessed and treated these 150 dogs were transferred to its sister site in Grappenhall, Warrington where a team will work with other major UK doggy charities such as Woodgreen who have offered help and will take some of their dogs, so one way or another the dogs will all be well cared for. The rescue world really rallies round when needed and this support will certainly help the staff and volunteers in Manchester.

Manchester Dogs Home rehomes 7,000 dogs every year, every day they aren’t at full strength will mean a disaster for even more dogs than those that died last night.  Its so very sad that one youths irresponsible actions has caused so much misery and will have such a dire knock on effect in the rescue world!

On behalf of Dog Rescue Carcassonne I offer our sympathies to the staff and volunteers!

A fireman with a rescued dog..



This lucky dog escaped..


R. I P !



Four Adoptions!

Today was a good day  and as you know, it has been a while since we had one of those.

Four dogs were adopted! And we had no arrivals, apart from one dog who made a brief appearance before his owner came to collect him. Moreover  Wammers’ owners were traced, they do in fact live nearby, and he was collected too.

Okay, onto adoptions:

First to leave was Pelé. All adoptions are good for different reasons, but some are better than others. Pelé arrived with us at the end of March in a very sorry state, with skin peeling off his back (hence his name; no one can accuse us of not having a sense of humour). He is ten years old, and is black. Or at least he is black where the fur has grown back , and he is brown elsewhere. Finding a home for a dog like this is never easy, so when a couple arrive with the words “We want to give a home to a dog that no one else will take”, it is music to our ears. Pelé was an instant hit, and after being castrated today, he went off to a new and much happier life.

Next was Rocco, a big Pyrenean mountain dog cross, who we were unable to mix with other dogs at the refuge, but who seemed to get along fine with the couple’s other two males. He too went to be castrated and off he went to his new home today.

Then we had lanky lad Bruno, who stole the heart of a couple at Sunday’s open day. Yet another one who said goodbye to his family jewels before leaving us. Bruno is going to be a globe-trotting dog, as his new owners are camping-car fanatics, so we are looking forward to hearing his adventures! He was collected by the owner’s mother, who is already gaga about him!

Then last but not least we said goodbye to Tico. Some dogs arrive at the refuge and we all (French and Brit alike), look at them and just know that the dog is going to be adopted by Brits. In general this applies to scruffy dogs, especially when they have long ears. So when Carole told me that Tico was reserved, I was not at all surprised when she added that he was leaving with a British couple! In fact they are Scottish, and so Tico is now called Haggis! What a great name for a dog. They collected him today, also following his castration, and he has gone off to live in the Ariege. He is a lovely boy and news is promised.

So four males were adopted, and all four were castrated at the adopter’s request. I wonder if the message is getting through, or whether it was just coincidence! In any case, it has been the best day we have had for a while in terms of adoptions, so I hope things are looking up.


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And Haggis (ex Tico) – ADOPTED

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Demetra is adopted, but more arrive….

First and foremost I want to give you news about “the Belgian Six”. Sarah stayed with Janette as planned, and all went just fine. Janette was delighted to help and fell a bit in love with Little Minx! Please bear in mind that until I was looking for a place for Sarah to spend the night, I had never heard of Janette, it was just a question of networking; and so I want to thank her again and to salute once more the power of the internet and the wonderful people who are willing to take a stranger into their house in order to help animals on their way to a better life.

Sarah delivered the dogs to Animal Trust early this afternoon, where they were all overjoyed to run around freely. And just to make it clear, Animal Trust will send us news of the dogs, so please don’t think you will never hear about them or see pictures of them again. The Animal Trust website has information about the dogs (obviously our dogs are not on there yet) and they frequently post videos on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/vzwanimaltrust?fref=ts) , so very soon you will see the dogs in their new surroundings.

So now to catch up on SPA news.

Three dogs arrived yesterday. Two are what we assume to be the remaining puppies from the sushi litter, a male and a female. Carole found them suitably “Japanese sounding”names. And we also had the arrival of a lovely young shepherd cross, whom we have name Kort. He has unusual cross markings on his head, so perhaps this will help his owner recognise him.

Today another dog was brought in, found in Caunes Minervois and identified to an address in The Netherlands. Before we were able to access the Netherlands database, the SPA called him Best. In fact he is really called Wammers. We just hope his owners are looking for him and do not give up before returning home (if they are not living here permanently, that is). This is where a collar with a mobile phone number on it can be very useful. Fingers crossed for lovely Best/Wammers! In fact, I think I like it the other way round. “Wammer’s Best” sounds like a brand of dog food!

We also had the arrival of a fabulous female border collie who is not identified. We have called her Maya. A beautiful name for a beautiful dog.

In better news, we had an adoption! One of the older of the puppies (there are sort of different batches now!). Demetra is the sister of Aelius and Percival, so now we just have little Karadoc waiting for a home,  from that litter, at least!

We had a reservation too, but as usual, news of that will have to wait!

Demetra- ADOPTED












Yesterday’s arrival  Kort

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And one of yesterday’s puppies, Kaiseki













Today’s arrival, Wammers













And Maya. Why is she not identified?


Six lucky dogs leave for Belgium!

Well, good news was promised and good news we have.

Today six lucky dogs left for the wonderful association Animal Trust in Belgium (http://www.animaltrust.be/). This tiny, private refuge has wonderful facilities, including huge play parks with ponds, ditches and hillocks and just 20 dogs for adoption. This is the third time that they have offered a helping hand to the SPA Carcassonne, and yet again we are incredibly grateful.

The dogs they have picked have all been at the refuge for way too long, or have been returned and are unlikely to be re-adopted quickly in France due to their breed.

Brandy, Carlo, Canaille, Little Minx, Libellule and Rottweiler Calie are all now on their way to Melle, thanks to Sarah, who is driving them all the way. Thanks to an Anglophone dog-lover’s Facebook group we were able to find her and the dogs free overnight accommodation at the halfway point (many thanks to Janette), so all of them can stretch their legs. They will arrive at Animal Trust tomorrow and no doubt Eline, head of Animal Trust, will be in touch with news once they arrive.

The timing is perfect, as on Sunday Animal Trust have their open day, and as usual, the French dogs should attract lots of attention. We are taking bets on who will be adopted first, but we are usually wrong! It is fun guessing, though!

A huge contribution towards their adoption fees was made thanks to Karen and John’s summer fundraiser, as all dogs left sterilised / castrated and with passports. Not that the SPA requires paying for dogs that are taken by associations, but at the same time, as a charity it cannot afford to lose too much money.

What wonderful teamwork. And a safe journey to you all.

Thanks as ever to everyone involved and as usual we will keep you up to date with their progress. We still receive news and photos of all the dogs who have been homed via Animal Trust, so if your favourite dog has left, don’t worry, we will not lose touch with them completely!

Other refuge news will have to wait for tomorrow; today is all about the Belgian Six!

The six lucky dogs. Sabrina still trying to train Libellule!

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Karen gives her beloved Carlo a last tummy rub

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Calie is off to a land where Rottweilers can live freely!

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One out but five in :(

Those of you who live anywhere near Carcassonne will have seen and heard the enormous thunderstorms this afternoon. Not exactly the ideal weather for the animals at the refuge or for visitors either. However despite the torrential downpour, there was some good news!

Today saw the departure of Mirza. She had been found and brought to the refuge on August 28th. As there was no room inside at all at the time (puppies need to be indoors for their own protection as unvaccinated puppies have virtually no immunity), Mirza was taken home by Fabrice to foster. As we suspected, it did not take long for this little girl to catch someone’s eye, and today Mirza left for her new home. She probably spent a total of 30 minutes at the SPA; when she arrived and when she left.

Oh, if only it could be like that for all the dogs and cats!

Sadly four more puppies arrived today, and unlike Mirza they will not go to a foster home. I have lost count of the number of puppies who have arrived this year; but sadly I am all too aware of the number at the refuge. All are gradually growing older and missing out on all the fun of puppyhood. And of course each time a new, younger litter arrives, the “older” pups become less attractive in the eyes of many adopters. And as for the adults, their chances don’t get any better either; it is all too easy to fall for the charms of a puppy!

Three little boys and one little girl have made up the “sushi litter”. They appear to be labrador crosses and look suspiciously like they are related to Jade and Julia. We also had the arrival of a n adult and I will get information about him tomorrow.  Another bad day, for both dogs and cats (a mother and her 3 kittens). Yet again it is due to people not sterilising their animals.

But don’t worry, tomorrow there will be good news, I promise!

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One of today’s four new puppies


Open Day Sunday

As with every first Sunday of the month, the SPA was open this afternoon. It was very hot, but we took the opportunity to wash some of the dogs and some of the younger fitter dogs were given short walks; better than nothing and it seems a shame to keep them locked up when their chances to go out are so rare.

Plenty of volunteers, both old and new were on hand to take dogs out, including an avid follower of the blog ( J ) who lives in Toulouse. We had one reservation of the canine kind, and one of the feline, so it wasn’t a bad day. Plus several people came along with a view to a future adoption. Plus (most importantly) we had FUN and so did the cats and dogs!

Many thanks as ever to all who gave up their Sunday to come along; it was a lot to ask, especially as there was the Association Day yesterday too, but once again we did it!

I didn’t mention it in yesterday’s blog, as there was already plenty going on, but we had a very special visit! We love it when former residents come to say hello, but especially so when the dog arrived in a terrible state. Who remembers the Leonburg puppies, who arrived with severe mange and in a condition of semi starvation thanks to an irresponsible breeder? Well yesterday Ruby came to see us. She is about a year old and weighs 55kg, with more growing to do! Sadly she has hip dysplasia (probably because her parents were brother and sister or something like that), but luckily her new owners love her to bits and she has the best possible care.

We receive news and pictures of her two sisters on a fairly regular basis, but it was nice to see one of these magnificent dogs in the flesh. Stunning!

Oh, and I have to say that for the first time in ages, we had no dog or cats brought in on an open day. Mind you, we have had more than our fair share of new arrivals this week, so it is just as well!

Beautiful Balik gets a wash
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And Ruby who visited us yesterday. One year old and more growing to do!

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Jade is adopted and two dogs are reclaimed

Today was Association Day in Carcassonne (and across the whole of France, as it happens), where sport clubs and other interest groups have a chance to show themselves off to the public and hopefully gather new members or supporters.

A team from the SPA was present, as has been the case for the past several years, and they were accompanied by Prosper and Til, in the morning and Carpet, Ewa  and Anis in the afternoon, five of the many lovely dogs who are looking for homes. Some dogs get over-excited in public, so it was important to have good doggie ambassadors to meet and greet the public. All the dogs did us proud, as did the volunteers who manned (or more realistically “womanned” the stand) all day. Many thanks to them all, humans and canines alike.

The refuge was pretty bust too. One of yesterday’s arrivals, Hawaii, was reclaimed, and a “lost and timid border collie cross” who had been signalled to us on the SPA Facebook page (many thanks!) turned out to be none other than Sacripan, who had been adopted from us earlier this year and whose owners had reported him missing. That was another happy reunion.

There was one adoption, but it was no surprise! As soon as puppies Jade and Julia arrived, and were taken into foster by Marie-Pierre, we had a feeling that the chocolate coloured one would become a permanent fixture. And thus it proved to be, with the paperwork being completed today.

Julia, Jade’s sister was reserved today too, but will stay with Marie- Pierre and her family until her new family, who live in Toulouse, are ready for her in a couple of weeks. That is two pups who will never know the inside of a kennel.

Apart from that we had two really wonderful reservations. But you will have to be patient to find out who has been lucky!

Don’t forget that we are open from 2-6pm tomorrow. Feel free to come and say hello to the dogs and cats and maybe find a new friend!

The SPA team at Association day, with Til and Prosper










Til shows off pictures of the dogs who are looking for homes










Ewa in thoughtful “dog ambassador” mood
























Sacripan – RECLAIMED thanks to the eagle eyes of Dominique
































One adoption but five arrivals.

There are some days when I am glad that I wasn’t at the SPA.

No fewer than five dogs arrived today, and the days of jubilant cries of “Five Dog Friday” seem long gone. It was five dog Friday, but in the wrong direction.

All five of the dogs are identified, one was abandoned, but as for the rest, either the phone numbers on the identification cards are out of date, or the numbers are not responding at all. We don’t know if the owners even want their dogs.

On the good news front, Aiko was adopted by the family that found him and brought him to the SPA. They had informed us that he was fine with dogs, children and rabbits, so clearly they had some of each! They did the responsible thing and brought the dog to us in case his owners were looking for him. Bearing in mind he was not identified, many people would just keep the dog and not even give the owners a chance, so thanks to them for being so responsible and thanks even more for giving Aiko a new home!

A grim day, though, and needless to say the refuge is full to bursting. This should not be the case now that the holiday season is over.

We are clinging onto the fact that this weekend is our open day (on Sunday) and that on Saturday the SPA will be present for the Association Day (on the square Andre Chenier, near to the main railway station). With a bit of luck we will have some adoptions. Otherwise we are in serious trouble. Of course we have several dogs reserved, but it is what to do in the meantime that is the problem.

A short blog from me tonight. I am not in the happiest frame of mind.

Anis- Back from a brief adoption. Nine years old. Okay with dogs and cats at the SPA, but not necessarily at home!













Hawaii – Chipped but no one is answering












Falko – same story













Tisky – same again












Today’s sole bright moment  Aiko – ADOPTED

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Banjo leaves and Lola arrives

There was only one adoption at the SPA today, so why did it feel like we were all run off our feet? Lots of visitors, that is why, and lots of people coming to walk just to give the dogs some fun, or in a couple of cases, with a view to a possible adoption!

So, first the adoption. Today we said goodbye to little Banjo, who had been spied on the site. Who could resist his appealing little face? Certainly not his new owner, who came along with his own dog to see how the two of them got along. At the refuge we had not been able to find a pal for Banjo, but he had not long ago arrived, and it can take them a while to settle down. Besides which, dogs behave differently outside the refuge than they do when they forced to share a very small space with another dog. Things seemed to go fine and as Banjo was already castrated and chipped, off he went.  We hope that the good relations between him and his new pal continue!

Sadly we did have one arrival, that of a young female Doberman, whose owner has sadly passed away, and who has been in a commercial kennel for several weeks. Dobermans do not do well in refuges, and we are already working hard with an association to get lovely Lola a new home as soon as possible. In the meantime she is sharing her kennel with Dusty and being admired by everyone. She is beautiful!

So a busy and hot day, with the prospect of maybe some more adoptions on the horizon. Seeds have been sown!







Lola – new arrival following the death of her owner

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Adoption of Solea and Gentlelead put through its paces.

Yesterday, as promised, DRC received a package of leads from Dave at Gentlelead (www.gentlelead.co.uk), and prior to testing them out at the SPA, I tried the webbing halter out on my dogs. I started off with Nero, who is not a pully dog at all, but is very easy to manipulate and I thought it would be good to see how easy it is to fit the leads before trying them out on other less “docile” dogs.

Nero didn’t bat an eyelid, so Bella was up next. It took just a tiny amount of adjustment, as the muzzle “halti” bit is effectively part of a continuous lead that has various rings and stoppers on it. She looked very happy too, so next it was Scout, far smaller and feistier. He too was fine and didn’t seem to mind at all, Moreover changing the size took no more than a couple of seconds; move the stopper and voila!

Jules, my neighbour’s tiny dog was with us too, so he had a go. Again no problems. So it was time to test it out on a walk, where my only real problem dog is Bella, who can smell a cat at 100 metres and pulls in that direction just in case a moggy should be stupid enough to be waiting. They never are, but Bella lives in hope. Likewise she detests cyclists and joggers; so is the perfect dog for a “field test”

We saw two bikes and a cat, and I can honestly say that the difference in Bella was incredible. She sat down as the bikes went past and just walked on when she saw the cat. She appeared to be perfectly comfortable and even pleased that she was finally doing what I have been trying to get her to do for literally years. I gave her loads of praise and she seemed relaxed and happy. And I came home relaxed and happy, too. The muzzle area is not so much a restraint that Bella was unable to hoover up a couple of figs, either!

A great system; can’t wait to try it out on the SPA dogs tomorrow. And I will most definitely be placing an order for one of these for my own use.

The other leads were a mixture of webbing and adjustable leads which are perfect for non-pully dogs, and designed to be used in a variety of situations, depending on how much freedom you want to give your dog when you are out and about. What a great freebie, many thanks to the folks at Gentlelead and to Elinor for suggesting DRC as the recipient overseas rescue organisation.

At the SPA we had the adoption of lovely Solea, who had been at the refuge for ten weeks or so. Funny how these things work out; no one had so much looked at this girl until we were asked to test her with cats (thumbs up!), at which point she was reserved. Then the couple who came along yesterday liked her. However that all worked out well for Occitane (now renamed Dede) as otherwise she may not have been adopted! Sometimes fate intervenes in the best possible way. Two happy dogs!












Bella (ex SPA) – a model dog citizen at last?

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It fits small dogs too – Jules (also ex SPA) as model.

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