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Latest News

Adoption of Rex after 15 months!

In May 2013 a dog was brought to the SPA who was already well known to us. Like many other of our regular visitors, we knew Rex’s owner and were expecting him to come and reclaim his dog, as he had done on previous occasions. Actually to be fair, the previous time it was employee Melissa who had delivered Rex to a location convenient to his owner, who does not own a car. Or a house. Having a dog when you are homeless is not easy, but there is usually such a strong bond that somehow things work out.

Rex was always in great condition when he arrived at the refuge, and was micro chipped we had no reason to suspect that this time he would not be collected. Attempts were made to contact his owner via organisations such as the Resto de Coeur, but after the days stretched into weeks then months, we realised that Rex was now truly homeless.

Bear in mind that this is a dog who was used to living on the street. He knew little about leads, and certainly was not happy at being deprived of his liberty. Hugely affectionate, it was difficult to leave Rex in his kennel after a walk, as he would do his best to keep you with him just to have human contact. Very sad.

Rex had been with us for over 15 months with no one, apart from volunteers and employees paying him any attention. Then last week thanks to volunteer Laurène, his plight was highlighted in The Independent. And BINGO!

Rex left the SPA today to live in a huge garden of 1700 m2 somewhere near Paris with a couple who were holidaying in Carcassonne and decided to take a wonderful souvenir home with them. Lucky, lucky Rex.

So although there was only one adoption today, it was a goodie!

Rex with his new mum and dad











And this is probably my favourite photo of him, with volunteer Isabelle, who is on holiday so was not able to say goodbye to her favourite dog.


Two adoptions and two reservations, Plus four dogs are reclaimed!

Before the refuge had opened and before many of the staff had even arrived for work this morning, we had our first adoption! Little Vixen, one of our Golden Oldies, had left on the long journey to Brittany to meet her new mum, who had fallen in love with her on the Internet. This was not Elaine’s first adoption from us, she gave a wonderful new home to arthritis-sufferer Ebene (now Ebony) over two years ago. She is now getting the best of care, and the same will undoubtedly be true of Vixen.

Many many thanks to Martine for being “foster mum” for so long and for keeping Vixen, who is about 13 years old, out of the heat of the refuge. It was not easy going at first, as Vixen wanted to “play” with the cats, but a bit of patience and understanding sorted that out, and Vixen had a lovely time until she was able to travel to her new home. Thanks also to Doglinks who sent Elaine our way, just as they did for Ebony. Martine’s house must be quite quiet, were it not for puppy Scampi and all the cats, that is!

That was not the only adoption of the day. Lovely Olaff, who has been with us since being rescued from being thrown off a bridge in Limoux went to his new home! What a wonderful turn his life is about to take, from the abused dog of a violent man, to a beloved family pet, all in the space of six weeks! Olaff is only 18 months old, so very soon the horrors of his past will be forgotten.

There were two more reservations, and believe it or not, four of the five of the dogs who arrived yesterday (I know, I didn’t tell you, because I didn’t want to worry you!) were reclaimed!

Not such a bad day, all in all.

Vixen  – 13 years old and ADOPTED







Olaff- from abuse to happiness in six weeks

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Isa and Canelle on tour, plus four adoptions!

While the majority of us have been going about our normal day to day lives and maybe relaxing in the sun, one of our volunteers has doing quite the opposite!

Isa, together with her ex-SPA Carcassonne dog Canelle, has been taking part in the Trophée Des Montagnes, a ten day cani-cross event, in the Alps. We have been following their progress on Facebook, and yesterday was the final day. It has not been an easy course. Isa suffered from a bad ankle and at one stage it looked like she may have to pull out of the event completely. But she stuck with it, despite some very rocky looking terrain and even unlit night runs! Canelle caught heat stroke on two occasions, and Isa had to run with other dogs. This meant that she was not able to be placed in the general classification, but she finished, nonetheless, and with a smile on her face, as usual. Best of all, Canelle had recovered enough to Join Isa for the final photo shoot. She has since had a full doggy MOT and has been given a clean bill of health, so at the end of September she and Isa will be taking part in the French championships.  We will tell you all about that in due course.

Everyone at the SPA loves following Canelle’s adventures with Isa. And we adore the fact that Isa is proud to tell everyone that Canelle came from the SPA Carcassonne. What better advertising can you get than that?

On the subject of “advertising”, from time to time one of our volunteers, Laurène, writes an article for the press in order to publicise a SPA dog, and sometimes it pays off. Such is the case with this week’s chosen dog. I am so excited that I am nearly bursting at the seams. Those of you who read the l’Independant will know who the dog of the week was, so it will be no surprise to you when he leaves, but for the rest of you, a bit of patience is needed.

But never fear, there is more news! Two dogs who arrived today were reclaimed, and we had four further adoptions, including Puppy Percival and DRC sponsor dogs Gallopin and Chavanel, plus a German Shepherd who was adopted by the people who had found him and brought him in.

An excellent day!

Isa and Canelle at the finish line! Stars!












Gallopin – ADOPTED

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Chavanel – ADOPTED












Percival – ADOPTED












And the people who brought this dog in came to adopt him. Lucky boy!




Help, my dog has bitten, what should I do?

This is a question that has been asked many times at the SPA, and I think it is an important one for those of us living in France. What should we do if the unthinkable happens and our dog bites someone, be it a stranger or a family member.

There is a French law that relates to this. Decree of 21 April 1997 concerning animals who have scratched or bitten relative to article 232-1 of the rural code, and law number 2008-582 of 20th June 2008 modifying the rural code, just in case you ever need to quote these to anyone.

The law states that the fact that the dog has bitten should be reported to the mayor. After this, the dog should undergo 3 visits to a vets for blood tests (even if he is vaccinated against rabies) and for an assessment of character. The first visit should be made within 48 hours of the bite, and then at weekly intervals. If the dog gets a clean bill of health, (both in terms of rabies and behaviour) then that is normally the end of the matter. But of course it depends very much on whom your dog has bitten, and how hard!

In practice, if your dog is vaccinated against rabies, the person who has been bitten (the “bitee”) may be suitably mollified. But this is not always the case.

A friend of mine’s dog bit someone on the rear end, not very hard, but enough to draw blood. The woman’s doctor requested that the dog go for the three vet’s visits, but no report was made to the mayor, as the “bitee” was very good humoured about it, and just wanted to be sure that she was not at risk of rabies. If a bite is serious, things are very different, and sadly if a vet determines that a dog risks re-offending, then the dog may have to be put to sleep.

Of my four dogs, only one, Bella, risks nipping. She came from the SPA, and had been badly beaten beforehand. However her biting is directed solely against things that move quickly. She loathes joggers and cyclists, and although I do my very best to avoid places where they are likely to be, about once a fortnight we come across some intrepid soul on a mountain bike. If Bella is not on the lead, she will fly after them with bared teeth. If they stop, she will let herself be patted, but as soon as the movement starts, she is off again. I try and get her on the lead as soon as possible, but I do not keep her on all the time, as meeting a sportsman is so rare that it is a shame to never let my dog off “just in case”.

If she does ever bite (so far touch wood she has not done so, apart from her first time at dog school and Carole has forgiven her!), I will keep her on the lead at all times for her own protection. At the vets she is placid and calm, so there is no way she would be classed as dangerous. Unless you are a cyclist or jogger, that is!

Of course the best thing is to avoid letting your dog bite. If you know he or she has triggers, avoid them as much as possible, and it is worth giving him a rabies injection as this may reassure people should disaster strike. Bella has been vaccinated against rabies, my other dogs have not.

If a “biter” is brought to the SPA, we need to know all about the circumstances of the bite. It is not always the dog’s fault, and a classic is an unsupervised dog with a child. Who knows if the dog was provoked and was merely trying to defend itself? However I understand completely why a family would lose confidence in the dog and no longer wish to keep it. It does not make the dog unhomeable, however. We just need to make sure that his new owners are aware and that the dog is either not homed with children, or that he is not given the opportunity to bite again.

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Four adoptions including a long- termer!

Four adoptions today, one of which concerns one of our long termers! So despite the number of dogs arriving, when you consider the fact that within the last week we have seen no fewer than four of our long timers leave (by long timers I mean dogs who have been with us for over a year), you will understand that we are quite upbeat overall.

Today was the big day for Kaira, a beautiful dogue de Bordeaux, who had been with us since March 2013. She was abandoned due to a change in family circumstances, and has not had the best time at the SPA. For one thing she really missed her family so would pace round her kennel with a toy in her mouth praying that someone would throw it for her. Secondly, she has a tendency to gobble her food, and several months ago we thought we had lost her when she nearly died from a twisted gut. She pulled through but has to be watched while she is eating. Kaira is not the most lady-like of dogs when it comes to food, it must be said!

Her kennel mate, Chico is now alone, but not for long, we will soon find him a new pal, as he is great with other dogs. Who knows, perhaps he will be the next long termer to find a home!

More good news too. Puppy Jeena was adopted and now has a home of her own. She will leave a big hole in the home of her foster family, who have looked after her since she arrived at the refuge. Our border cross, Emie, was adopted too and a life of activity awaits; perfect for her breed.

Arthur, one of Camelot puppies was adopted yesterday too. He was one of the pups you saw in the bath tub a couple of days ago and was the first of this litter to find a home. Still five left, plus Scampi who is in foster, as well as several “not quite pups”, who sadly tend to get forgotten about when there is something younger and cuter at the SPA.

Finally Coffee found a home. I am a bit annoyed as a UK based website is about to feature him as their dog of the week. But of course, their goal, as ours, was to find him a home, and he has one now, so I will contact them with another dog for their site.

A great day all in all.

Kaira- ADOPTED after nearly 18 months

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Arthur – ADOPTED












Coffee – ADOPTED

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Pit leaves and Filou goes back home!

We had some excellent news from the SPA this afternoon, and well done Carole for keeping it quiet yesterday, when she must have been bursting at the seams to break the news. Like me, she is a bit superstitious and does not want to tempt fate by announcing news in advance at the risk of disappointing people. She was the one who did all the work behind the scenes which led to the adoption today of one of the SPAs all too many “oldies but goldies”

Fabulous Pit is now a free dog again, at the grand old age of ten. For a big dog this is already quite old and so thank you to his new family who travelled some distance to collect him. The dog washing team can attest to this boy’s lovely nature, as can the employees; he was one of a small but select group of dogs who is free to wander around the refuge at will in the morning when the gates are shut. His nearly six months at the refuge are over now!

We had more good news in the re-adoption of Filou, after a failed adoption. This little chap was abandoned in May due to the illness of his owners. They were certain that he would be adopted quickly, and did not feel it was fair to keep him locked up while they were recovering, assuming he would quickly be adopted. And they were right. Except Filou seemed to have other ideas, and bit the people who adopted him, so he was brought back. I think he had just made up his mind to wait as long as it took for his owner to be ready to take him back, so today he went back to the life he had known before! Cunning chap!

By the way, DRC is asking for pictures of dogs who have been adopted from the SPA and who are now enjoying their holidays. If you would like your pooch to be included in our Facebook album, please send a photo to website@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk or to our Facebook page Dog Rescue Carcassonne. Here is my favourite photo so far, Maddie, ex Malaga, who was adopted from us as a puppy and who lives in Scotland but takes her holidays in France.

I would also like to wish a happy 9th birthday to Gretta, who was adopted from the SPA several years ago and who now lives with the DRC web-elves. They give up their time and skills to help us rehome dogs, and all they get in return is a stinky Houdini of a hound. 😀

We had a couple of new arrivals today, but let’s keep things positive tonight!

Lovely Pit- Adopted just short of his tenth birthday









Filou – Back at home.












More photos like this one of Maddie (ex Malaga) please!












And happy ninth birthday to ex- SPA dog Gretta.



Adoption of Marla and more baths!

Today was baking hot, so instead of walking, there was a team of dog washers at the SPA this afternoon, giving dogs a spruce up so they can look (and smell) their best for any potential adopters. Washing dogs can be great fun and is a good way to get to know them, as we can see who is and is not happy to be manipulated (which in turn might indicate who is best homed with children etc). Plus it is great fun, for humans and dogs alike. It is important to wear quick dry clothing, though! Those darn dogs have a habit of shaking just when you don’t want them to!

Six dogs are now feeling a lot cooler, tonight and in a couple of cases a lot less uncomfortable, as “Team Bath” did some cutting of dreadlocks and brushing too. Thanks to you all!

A couple of people did come a long with a view to adopting dogs, and we are hoping that some of these may come to fruition and help make some much needed space at the refuge. Summer is far from over, but people are starting to return from their holidays and can think about giving a dog or cat a home, without the expense of putting it into kennels or a cattery straight away.

One dog did find a new home today. Little Marla was adopted, after less than three weeks at the SPA. Quickly becoming a favourite with the volunteers, this little dog had so much character that it was not long before she caught someone’s eye. We wish her love and happiness in her new home.

There was also a reservation, but I will tell you about that when the day of departure arrives. All I will say is that it is a good one; a dog who has not had an easy life and whose luck is about to change. Great stuff!


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Two dogs are reclaimed :)

The afternoon started excellently, with the owners of yesterday’s old beagle coming to collect him. Riki is 14 years old and his owners have been at their wits end trying to find him. He was identified, but the people who found him did not do what they should have done, ie take the dog to the vet to see if he was micro-chipped, or even contact the SPA to let us know they had found a dog. Instead they kept him for ten days before bringing him in. Meanwhile his owners have been in tears, wondering what had happened to their dog.

I am sure the people who found Riki meant well. But in fact they did the wrong thing. If you find a dog, please take him or her to a vet to see if he is micro-chipped or at the very least let us know that he is with you, so we can put his photo on Facebook or other social media sites. In this case it would have saved the owners nearly two weeks of worry.

Another dog left with his owners today, Galahad, the wonderful Newfoundland was reclaimed. We had a feeling he wouldn’t be with us for long, and we were right. Like Riki he was identified, which of course helps!

Other than that there was not much news from the SPA, apart from the arrival of yet more kittens. This lot were left in the outside cages when the refuge was open. How courageous of the person who left them. The situation is catastrophic, if you will forgive the play on words.

One other thing I would like to point out. People have fought long and hard and signed numerous petitions to change the status of animals in France. Until recently they had no more rights under law than an item of furniture or any other inanimate object that can be purchased. This is no longer the case. If you are thinking of returning an animal you have adopted from us, there is no time limit by which you are guaranteed a refund of your money. Read the contract that you signed when you adopted; phone the refuge and discuss your issues. If getting your money back is your main motivator in terms of timing, then perhaps owning an animal is not the best decision you could make. Problems can quite often be resolved, but having a clock ticking down the days helps no one, especially not the dog or cat.

A word to the wise, as they say.

Riki- I am 14 years old and I was reclaimed as soon as my owners knew where I was!













Galahad – My owners came to collect me too. Phew, it was hot in there!


Another puppy day – but in the right direction!

It was too hot to walk the dogs today at the SPA, so it was a good chance to catch up on some photos.

Those of you who follow the Facebook page will have seen that we had a magnificent new arrival yesterday. A three year old Newfoundland called Galahad. He is identified, but his owners are not responding to their phone. Perhaps the internet will help them be reunited.

Today we had three adoptions. First to leave (though last to arrive home) was Valyne, a young cross breed who was spotted on the internet and who has now gone up to live in Chatearoux. There is no reason to change a winning team, so once again the transport was done by a human chain consisting of Marie-Pierre and her husband who did Carcassonne to Toulouse and then David, who has a twice weekly lorry run to the middle of France and who quite often takes a SPA dog on his passenger seat! Thanks so much to you all.

Meanwhile back at the refuge two more puppies were adopted in addition to Guimauve and Maya, who left yesterday. Both Loukoum and Mayo left today. Still plenty left, though, including beautiful Jeena. Visitors perhaps don’t realise she is for adoption when they visit the refuge, as she stays in the reception with foster mum Carole. She has become quite a gem, though, good with children, cats and other dogs. Likewise little Scampi, who is in foster with Martine. He too is good with cats, and unlike Jeena will be dog sized when adult, rather than pony sized! Please get in touch if you would like more details on either of them!

Today saw the sad return of Belote, renamed Betty. She was adopted over two years ago and her family have waged constant war to integrate her with their other female. They have finally given up, after heroic efforts. Many tears were shed, believe me. Betty is extremely jealous of female dogs, although she is fine with males. She is also great with humans of all ages and is okay with females whom she meets on walks. However she will not let another female near her owners inside the house. If you like Brittany spaniels and have no females, then this girl is just magic. She sticks to you like glue, is fine off the leash and just wants love. ALL your love. If your male dog is happy to share, then she would be a great second dog, but otherwise she should be the sole dog of the family.

Two further arrivals are now immortalised on camera. A little old beagle who is identified but whose owners are not answering their phone, and a tiny male yorkie, not identified, and in a very bad condition, although he seems quite young. More information on them in due course.

Valyne on the front seat of David’s truck!











Loukoum- ADOPTED




































Betty –  back at the refuge and looking for a home without another female.














Pip’s Long Journey Home…

When Pip arrived at the SPA in April a tiny, terrified pup, little did she know just how much her luck was going to change!  Foster places for pups are scarce but as luck would have it Lisa our puppy fosterer extraordinaire had a place free!

Lisa is a vet nurse and has four dogs and cats of her own so puppy Pip was ensured the best of care and lots of socialisation.  This is so very, very important for a pup and has such a massive effect on its future that we would love every pup that comes into our care to receive it.

Pip thrived in Lisa’s care and it wasn’t long before she was available for adoption. Angie and family who adopted Garfield and who are massive Brittany spaniel lovers noticed Pip on our facebook page and contacted us right away. The only problem was that they live in Cruden Bay, Scotland and Pip was in Carcassonne, South West France.

Logistics have never been a problem for us at the SPA Carcassonne and if we know that there is an experienced loving home waiting we will pull out all stops to get the dog there. Again luck came into play and as I was driving home to Dundee on the 1st August it was the perfect opportunity for Pip to travel home with me to Scotland.

I collected Pip on Friday afternoon and we set off on our journey later that evening. As it was scorching hot in France, even with air conditioning and cool mats its not comfy for the dogs in the car during the day so we travelled through France overnight. This worked well as the dogs were sleepy, cool and comfy and as we needed fewer stops we made good time, arriving in Scotland 26 hours later!

Angie and her hubby drove down to Dundee and when they saw Pip I could tell that their hearts just melted. Pip was delighted to meet them and jumped in their car without a backward glance. Later that evening she met her new brother Garfield and Angies two lovely daughters Rylee and Brodie. Angie did say that they were at home in bed and I have to say that I thought to myself that there is no way that they will be asleep when they know a new pup is on its way!

Pip is the sixth SPA Caracssonne dog to come to Scotland for their forever family, I wonder who will be next?

There was also good news at the refuge today, Teddy who arrived yesterday after bring found loose was reclaimed which is great news as I am sure that he would have hated being back in the refuge after having a family of his own!

Pip’s First Paws In Scotland



Pip and Garfield – A stunning pair!



Pip, Garfield and Eclat ( Angie’s mums dog, also a SPA Caracssonne dog of course)!