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Open day Sunday

Today was the first Sunday of the month, so as usual the SPA was open; manned by a team of volunteers. The sun shone and plenty of dogs were walked and/or washed.

Sadly when the employees came to work this morning they found Teddy waiting for them. He was adopted on July 11th, and although at present we are not clear if his owner is looking for him, it would be awful if he has been abandoned after so short a time. Fingers crossed that he is just “lost” and that his owner reclaims him. He had already spent 20 months at the SPA before being adopted, which way too long for any dog, let alone such a young active one.

Many thanks to the young couple who found him wandering in the middle of the road and made sure he was safe with the Brigade Canine. Who knows what would have happened to him otherwise, especially with the thunderstorms that shook the area last night.

Teddy was not the only new arrival, either. A small unidentified dog was brought in as well, but luckily her owners were looking for her. Sharlotte (yes with an S) was not identified, so normally would not be able to leave on a Sunday. The law states that all dogs must be identified and especially those who pass through our hands.  Luckily the SPA vets were on duty this weekend. Although chipping a dog cannot be considered an emergency, they were kind enough to open up for us so that Sharlotte could leave immediately. Thank you so much, Les Remparts.

While Sharlotte was being chipped we took the opportunity to microchip a puppy who was already reserved and whose owners were very keen to take home as soon as possible. So little Shamallow left! Don’t worry, there are still plenty of pups left; a whole bathful, in fact! 😉

Thanks to everyone who came along and made this Sunday afternoon a bit brighter for the animals at the SPA.

Teddy – I hope they are coming to collect me…..










Sharlotte – My owners came for me straight away! I am 13 years old!

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Shamallow- I have a new family and a farm to play on!

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Go Team Sky!!!

After I left the SPA yesterday, the photo of two more dogs were posted to the SPA Facebook wall. Firstly was Belle, who was identified but whose owners were not answering their phone, so we thought perhaps Facebook might help. Sure enough it did, and Belle’s owners came to collect their dog today. They had not answered their phone as they were at the funeral of their mother, and our deepest sympathies go to them at this difficult time. They were relieved to know that Belle was safe with us, but understandably, finding her had not been their number one priority.

The second dog was a puppy, found at La Cite. Then this afternoon yet another puppy arrived, a little girl found in Pennautier. Yes, another one. When oh when oh when will this madness stop? We all know the answer to that one: Never. Sadly there are not enough people who are willing to neuter their pets, be it dogs or cats, and the SPA and other rescue organisations are just expected to deal with the aftermath. And if there are not as many adopters as there are unwanted puppies or kittens, then what happens? Yes, the animals grow up in the refuges (if they are lucky enough to find themselves in a refuge that does not practice euthanasia) and what sort of life is that?

However it was the start of a new life for one very special dog today.

About three weeks ago, our “dog of the week” was Sky, a pointer cross who had been at the refuge since April 2012. I have no idea why no one wanted to adopt this lovely boy, except that he is big and looks like a hunt dog. However he had been a family pet and had never hunted in his life! Since his appearance on the site, a family have made regular visits to see him. They have young children and did not want to make a rash decision, so returned many times to walk Sky, play with him in the park and make sure he was the right dog for them.

Today was the day! And Melanie was there yet again to say goodbye! Incredibly and purely by coincidence Sky has been sharing his kennel with Louve, and had been looking very sad since her adoption yesterday. Sky will have a huge enclosed garden to play in, plus half a mountain to himself if he wants it. I have a feeling he will stay close to his owners, though; he seems already very attached to them.

Another lucky dog was little Jonty, whose family already have a boxer, so they obviously like dogs with squashed noses! This little bundle of love has only just completed his pound time, so he is doubly lucky!

Please don’t forget that we are open tomorrow from 14H00-18H00. The cats and dogs look forward to seeing you!

Yesterday’s arrival, Jiffy









Today’s arrival, Jenga












Jonty – Adopted (squashed nose? Me? Never!)










And Melanie with Sky and his new dad. Feel the love!


Two wonderful adoptions and a sad return. Plus Pip starts her journey!

Today has been a long time coming. Where to start? Well, how about when a dog called Louve was adopted, way back in January 2012. All went well, to the best of our knowledge, until her owner fell ill, and Louve’s dislike of cats made it impossible for his children to keep the dog. So Louve, then aged just over 11 months, came back to the refuge, where she has been ever since.

Big, beautiful amber eyes peered at us from behind bars. For some unfathomable reason no one was interested in adopting her, so it fell on the employees and volunteers to give this dog all the love they could. Sharing attention with 120 other dogs is not easy, but luckily Louve was fine with other dogs, so was able to have some company.

The next thread of the story concerns Ronan, a young military guy who volunteers at the refuge and whose speciality is walking dogs who pull a lot! He has just been posted to Brittany, and wanted a dog to take with him. He has walked Louve on a regular basis, so to a large extent his decision was easily made.

So it was bye-bye Louve, after 27 months at the refuge. And remember that was not her first time with us. From this point of view it was a fabulous day!

But there was also sadness. Yesterday was the final day of Melanie’s contract of employment. This was despite the enormous efforts made to keep her on the staff. Sometimes the law makes things impossible, no matter how much we want them.

Melanie is great friends with both Ronan and Louve, so she came in today to wave goodbye to them both. Dedication and devotion, despite her sadness.

Thanks for all your hard work, Melanie. We know your love and commitment to the animals remains strong and we all hope you will continue as a volunteer. You are invaluable and we will all miss you. Humans and dogs alike.

That was not all the news of the day, though. Who remembers Dastin, the fabulous Rottweiler who was adopted earlier this year and who now lives in a chateau? Well, his owner has relatives visiting from Austria, and so highly did he speak of the SPA that they came along to see what they could find. And they left with a dog who has been with us for 18 months. And as with Louve it was not her first stay at the SPA.

So to our great joy, lovely Molly was adopted and is going to her new homeland on Sunday. She fixed her eye on her new owner from the word go, and being in the park just confirmed that this was a match made in heaven.

The day would have been just about perfect had it not been for the arrival of Little Minx, who has proved to be too lively for her elderly owner. We did try and explain that she was incredibly active when she was adopted, but sometimes people have to learn these things for themselves, rather than taking our word for it. So this tiny little dog is back at the SPA, where no doubt she will climb up the bars and do her best to get the exercise she craves. The right home is out there, we just know.

In better news, little Pip started her journey to Scotland, and Moira will tell you all about this in due course as it is she and her husband Roy who are doing the delivery! I have loved having Pip at my house for the past week (as did Isa and Lisa before me) and we all look forward to hearing her adventures!

Melanie with Ronan and Louve.
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Molly and her new owners – Austria bound!

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Little Minx – Too lively 🙁

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And Pip – Next stop SCOTLAND!

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Taser leaves and it is wash day at the SPA!

Goldilocks would not have been quite as happy with the temperature today; Scorchio! Way too hot to walk the dogs, unless they were in the process of drying after being washed, so that is what we did! Three lucky dogs got a lovely bath, (well, shampoo and wind-blow dry) thanks to Anna and Belinda, and all seemed very happy with the chance to cool off a bit. Including the humans!

We had a wonderful adoption too. We said goodbye once again to Taser. Remember him? Adopted then brought back a day later due to his non-integration with the family cats. Such a handsome boy would never be around for long, though, cats or no cats!

His new family came to meet him yesterday and fell in love. Their original plan was to collect him tomorrow, but the SPA Facebook page received an email this morning saying that they simply couldn’t wait to collect their new boy, and was today okay! As Taser had already been adopted once, we knew that he was all chipped and ready to leave, so it was a big thumbs up, and off he went to his new home. Excellent and a much needed morale booster in these bright but oh so dark days of summer.

In other news, we had a lovely donation of gourmet food from Susan and Alan Collisi. Thanks so much, guys. And Di came along with some funds too. You are all stars!

Oh, and I thought you might like to see a bathful of puppies! How cute are they? All at the SPA and all looking for homes! Don’t forget we are open on Sunday afternoon, why not pop in and say hello! Remember if you want to see the puppies it is important to see them before touching the adult dogs, as they have not had their two vaccinations yet.

Fingers crossed for lots of adoptions!







And a bathful of puppies!

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A ‘Drunk’ Boxer…

Yesterday afternoon I left the SPA early so that I had plenty of time to walk my dogs and settle them before leaving for an evening of Status Quo in La Cite.

I walked the dogs, answered my email and called the dogs for their supper. Phoebe, my boxer cross jumped up from the sofa, wobbled like she was drunk and fell on her side. Although she was a bit ‘dazed’ she never lost consciousness and recovered quite quickly but I was taking no chances so she was right off to the vets. My local vet has an ‘open’ surgery from 5-7pm every night where you can simply turn up without an appointment so into the car and off we went.

Although it wasn’t really hot yesterday I was terrified it was heat stroke or that she had been poisoned and I was mentally ticking off lists of symptoms in my head as I drove. I remembered that she had been sick on Saturday evening and had seemed just a little slow on her walks on Sunday and Monday but otherwise had seemed OK. No change in her eating habits that’s for sure!

At the vets she had a thorough check over, temperature, heart, eyes and then he looked in her ears. And there the problem lay…an ear infection. So antibiotics and ear cleaner and she will be fine.

So what are the symptoms of an ear infection? Well there are many and Phoebe ddnt have most of them. This is the first ear infection that any of my dogs have had so was a learning process for me.

Here are some of the most common symptoms:

scratching at the head or ears

shaking the head

odour and/or discharge from the ears

redness and inflammation in the ears

hair loss and possibly scabs around the ears which extend to the head and neck areas also


Of course I missed Status Quo, I was not going to leave her alone after that but never mind there is always next year!

At the refuge today four dogs arrived and three of them were collected before closing time! Thats great news as the temperatures are set to rise!

An ear infection…Phoebes didnt look as bad as this thank goodness!

ear infection


Scratching is another symtom!


New arrivals, donations and good wishes.

The weather today was like the porridge in the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, not too hot, not too cold, just right. So that meant WALKIES!

As usual on a Tuesday it was a group of Brits who were at the SPA; including new volunteer Andy, who is the adopter of Granite (now renamed Whisky). It was great to catch up with his news and hear about Whisky’s adventures outside the SPA.

Due to the large number of recent arrivals, our priority, as well as walking dogs, was to take photographs of the new arrivals to make sure that every dog has an album on Facebook. Who knows, perhaps someone is looking for one of them, as opposed to their having been abandoned. So in tonight’s blog I will show you some of the new arrivals in the hope that this may either prompt their owner to come and collect them, or perhaps attract a new adopter. After all, some of these new dogs are cracking! Mind you I think that of all of the SPA dogs!

Les from the Café La Galloise in Alaigne arrived with a full collection box, the contents of which someone will have the pleasure of counting! Thank you to him, wife Lin and all their clients who support the SPA and spread the word about our animals.

I also want to give you news of Rookie, who was adopted by Jane, a great friend of the refuge, nearly two and a half years ago, when he was abandoned. Today, at the grand old age of 15, he went to the vets to have a fatty lump removed from his chest, and also a grass seed extracted from his face. I know Jane has been on tenterhooks all day, it is always worrying when an old dog has to have a general anaesthetic. Great news; Rookie is doing fine, and we hope he will be around for many more years to delight and entertain all of us who are friends with Jane in real life or on Facebook!

By the way, please don’t forget that this Sunday is open day, which is a perfect time to come along and meet the dogs and cats at the SPA.

New arrival Gallopin









And his brother, Chavanel










Lovely little Marla










And big beautiful Halbus










And finally little Fox











We wish a speedy recovery to Rookie. Fifteen years young!


Bouba comes good!

Good news comes from all sorts of directions. Sometimes it comes with a huge fanfare following weeks of effort, as in Saturday’s fundraiser at Karen and John’s. Sometimes it comes via a message posted onto the SPA Facebook wall.

Such was the case yesterday, when we received a picture of Bouba, a dog who was adopted as a puppy from the SPA in December 2012. He came to visit us along with his owners at the Christmas open day in December 2013, so we were shocked when they returned a couple of months later, telling us that he had become unruly and that they could no longer keep him.

Quite often people become overwhelmed by the behaviour of adolescent dogs. They are very much like human adolescents, and show me one parent who hasn’t had times when they would like to have a break from an unruly teenage son or daughter.

In any case, it is our custom, unless the dog is in danger or clearly maltreated, to give an appointment for returning the dog, along with advice on how to deal with the current issues. Many times the advice is successful and the owners decide to keep the dog, and if not, we can be sure that we have a free space at the SPA to house the dog when he arrives. A dog training school that practices positive reinforcement is often the way forward, and Bouba’s owners were steered toward the local clubs.

In Bouba’s case he did not arrive on the agreed date, and we were unable to get news of his whereabouts. Any “no show” is followed up with a phone call to find out what happened to the dog, quite often, as I say, the problem has been solved, or sometimes a relative or neighbour has taken the dog. We like to know in any case.

Then yesterday, out of the blue, a lovely photo of Bouba appeared on the SPA wall along with a message to say that he had passed that “awkward stage” and has calmed down to become a great companion and that they are so glad they kept him. And so are we!

Thank you so much for giving this dog the time, patience and love to develop into the beautiful well-adjusted adult that he now is. Well done guys!

Meanwhile back at the SPA, there were a couple of reservations, and, as far as I am aware, no arrivals. So not the worst Monday we have ever had!

Beautiful Bouba- Love and patience pay off!


Fabulous fundraisers!

Last night was just magical. Stalwart SPA volunteers (and adopters of elderly setter Belle) Karen and John invited “a few” of their friends (ie about 70 of us!) to their beautiful home for a fundraising event par excellence!

Tables decorated with bunches of lilac and sunflowers were placed around the swimming pool, and inside was a huge buffet. There was a DJ (“the Renster”) who got everyone up and on their feet and who timed his music to perfection. When Karen and John’s dogs appeared after the buffet, we heard the sound of “Who Let the Dogs Out” by the Baha Men, for instance. The dance floor was packed, but to the best of my knowledge no one ended up in the pool, despite a few near-misses.

There was a raffle, with prizes donated by many of those present, plus the SPA “board” with photos of all the dogs currently looking for homes. Each set of cutlery was wrapped in a page from the Dog Rescue Carcassonne website, with the description of the corresponding dog, and inside was a hand-out, explaining how people can help the SPA by volunteering their time or by organising fundraising events. An incredible amount of effort had been put into every aspect of the evening

Karen made a speech thanking everyone who had helped out and although she and John had plenty of help, the real thanks go to them, for opening up their home to us and for all the effort they put in to make the evening such a success.

For me one of the most enjoyable aspects was seeing the owners of so many former SPA dogs. I met the mums and/or dads of Anouka, Gaspard, Malaga (now Maddie) and many more. It was lovely catching up on news, and also chatting to people about some of our current residents. Who knows where it will lead?!

The total raised was a huge €1,534, with the promise of more to come from people who were unable to make it. That is simply incredible. And every cent will go to help to support the dogs at the SPA Carcassonne!

Thank you so much, Karen and John. I hope the clearing up wasn’t too much hard work this morning.

Our cutlery in DRC wrappers!








The food was delicious













Happy people admiring the view









The dogs were on show in pictures and some were present in person, too.


Pups and Puppet!

Yet another puppy arrived this morning, found at the refuge gates. This time it is a boy and needless to say he is not identified. He is presumably yet another unwanted offspring of a non-sterilised pet. It is so demoralising. Luckily volunteer Martine was on hand to take him home. She already has Vixen at her house, so is going well above and beyond the call of duty, as do so many of our employees and volunteers. Where would the refuge be without them all? A big thank you to everyone!

In other bad news two more  puppies were due to be brought in this afternoon, as well as a dog who had been adopted in 2009, but whose owner is now ill and has no one to take care of him. In my opinion it looks like no one has been looking after him for literally years, but clearly not everyone has the same standards.

Summer is just the worst time at the refuge, and I doubt that many of us, volunteers or employees, are sleeping too well at the moment.

You will have to wait for details of the wonderful  adoption that I promised yesterday, because there has been a week’s delay. On the other hand, today saw the reservation of another dog, and by coincidence the two of them are kennel mates. By coincidence they will leave on consecutive days, and when I tell you that both dogs have been at the SPA for over two years, you will know why this is such good news. But no, I am not going to tell you who they are!

There were loads of volunteers present today and lots of dogs were walked, despite the heat. And there was even an adoption!

Little Puppet, the tiny fox terrier cross caught the eye of an elderly but very active gentleman, who came with his daughter to choose a dog. Both of them had to agree, because it is the daughter who will take charge of the dog should this be necessary. Luckily they both fell under  the charms of Puppet, and as she was already sterilised, she left straight away.

A bit of good news to end the day!

New arrival in foster with Martine 🙂
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Jam- ABANDONED (and not as old as he looks; only 8)

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Puppet – ADOPTED

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Two yorkies leave, one avoided the refuge completely!

The day started with good and bad news. Unfortunately the family who came yesterday hoping that the spaniel was their dog left disappointed. So Pinot (named for the French cyclist, because we are all glued to the Tour de France) is still with us. On the good news front, however, the little York, Daisy found her owner. This was a huge relief, as despite the fact that she was only 6 years old, she had trouble breathing and we certainly didn’t want her to be in the heat of the refuge for too long.

Last night just before closing a tiny little dog arrived having been found in a ditch. Melanie, one of the employees, could not bear to put her in a box, as she is old and nearly blind and mostly deaf. Luckily she was tattooed and with a bit of help from her friends, as they say, dog and owner were reunited. So there is one more dog who avoided a night at the refuge, which is great, bearing in mind the huge thunderstorms we had last night.

As far as thunder and lightning are concerned, my dogs take their lead from Scout, who is head of the pack and who rather strangely likes both storms and fireworks. However  my thoughts were very much with the many other dogs, who panic during this type of weather, not least the dogs at the SPA, who have no humans to comfort them.

For those of you who haven’t visited the refuge ever, each “box” consists of a fairly large outside area, which in some cases has a roof (our Houdinis are placed in these enclosures). But each box also has a large inside living area, which is covered on three sides, leaving just a door. This means that the dogs who are scared of thunder and lightning need not even see it, unless they choose to!

That sadly is the best that we can do for them, and I know many of them will be terrified. However when the staff arrive in the morning the dogs realise that another day has dawned, and perhaps this day will be their lucky day, and the next time there is a storm, they may be able to watch it in the comforting arms of a loving owner.

For one dog this will be the case if there are storms tomorrow night, and I just cannot wait to tell you who the lucky boy is! Watch this space!










And thanks to Melanie, this oldie avoided the refuge completely.