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Latest News

Fabergé And Calamity Jane Leave After Only Weeks At The Refuge!

When some dogs arrive at the refuge you know that they will be snapped up quickly and that their stay will be a short one.That was certainly the case for Faberge! This beautiful two year old golden Labrador arrived towards the end of May and was adopted today by a super family who visited the refuge last week and fell instantly in love with her.

Young, pretty, light coloured dogs rarely spend much time with us before they are adopted. They are the lucky ones as it’s often a very different story for their black counterparts. We have numerous two year old black Labradors who have been waiting for their forever home for a long time and its such a shame! Maybe this is down to superstition and that people associate black dogs with evil or maybe because they are harder to photograph so look less attractive on our web or face book page.  Could it be that most of our black dogs are also big and people are scared of them because the mean dogs in movies are always black?

Personally I love black dogs and have 2 big black Labrador crosses.  I love how black dogs coats always look shiny, how their teeth look sparking white and that they hide dirt well and they are very easily spotted in the snow!

How can we help these black dogs who are being overlooked? All we can do is encourage potential adopters to choose a dog based on their personality and temperament, not their appearance.

This is exactly what happened with Calamity Jane, our second adoption of the day!  It may seem like a strange name but as she was found dodging between the cars in the centre of town, calamity was avoided and thus, Calamity Jane! She certainly has age on her side as she is only 10 months old so just really a big puppy! She’s a really friendly, gentle girl who was spotted by her new family at our Open Day on Sunday. They very sensibly took the evening to  think it over and called on Monday to reserve her. Today she left after only ten weeks at the refuge. What a lucky girl!

Faberge – who was adopted today!


Calamity Jane was adopted too!








Good news Tuesday

Today was a happy, sunny day, with a good team of volunteers walking, as well as some good news.

One of the other visitors who came on Sunday spent a long time sitting in front of one of the cages, obviously transfixed by the dog inside. I knew that the dog had already been reserved, and was hoping that I was not going to have to be the bearer of bad tidings. No, this was in fact the woman who had reserved the dog, and just wanted to look at her new pal, who was waiting for today to be sterilised.

So today Mafalda left, after just 2 weeks at the SPA. She is a fabulous looking dog. On the photos she looks big, because she looks like a pure bred German Shepherd. Only difference is that she is full adult size but weighs just 17kg! So cute! We are delighted that she has found a home so soon, especially as someone put her on chien-perdu as being lost, but when Carole called the owner she was very cross that we had tracked her down.  It wasn’t her that was looking for the dog, by all accounts!  Mafalda will surely be better off in her new home, where she is very much wanted.

There was another adoption today, that of little Truffaut, who was found on a recent bank holiday in the cinema at Limoux (hence his name). Today a family came to us straight from the vets, where they had just said a sad goodbye to their dog of 15 years, who had died of terminal cancer. They could not imagine life without a dog, and the vet suggested that they pop to the SPA. I didn’t know this when I took newly adopted Truffaut to the vets to be chipped less than an hour later! The vet was as delighted as I was. There is no right or wrong time or “suitable delay” after the death of a dog, it is very much how the people feel. I think it is wonderful that this family was able to open their hearts again so soon, although to be fair they steered clear of any SPA  dogs who looked like their recently departed friend.

More good news: Willy was reclaimed! His owner had not informed her (adult) son of her plans to abandon the dog,  and so he came in to take the dog home. He is the one who looks after the dog most of the time in any case!

And a lovely girl arrived but left straight away because (all together now) SHE WAS MICRO-CHIPPED!

A good day! 🙂

Mafalda – ADOPTED









Truffaut – ADOPTED












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And a lovely girl leaves thanks to her microchip

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Arrivals, adoptees, and little jack finds his home.

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned that quite often an open day is the best (or sometimes only) chance for a whole  family to visit the SPA and that sometimes a reservation takes place later. Well, such was the case, with a dog who caught a family’s eye being reserved today. Makes it all worthwhile, somehow.  Much as the volunteers enjoy spending our time with the SPA dogs and cats, we have our own lives (and animals) too. So even though just walking the dogs and giving them company is reward in itself, a reservation is even better!

Also when I blogged last night I had not heard from Rebecca and Jane, who were at Caunes Minervois (see Saturday’s blog). They raised a massive 175 euros, and considering that was just in donations plus the selling of a few books, it is an incredible amount. Many thanks to them both.

The British fundraising team is meeting tomorrow and no doubt there will be more exciting events coming up. We are full of ideas, so watch this space. And if you follow Anglo Info, it is worth keeping an eye out there, too, as Ron is going to help us publicise future events.

It is great to hear about happy adoptions, and we already have news and photos of two very recently adopted dogs, Bones and Beauty. And here is one of lovely Megan, adopted last summer and now looking very relaxed.

We had two arrivals today, a puppy who is in foster with Isabelle, one of our volunteers. For the time being I have no information at all, except that he (or she) is not identified, but that should surprise no one. The second arrival was that of a two year old dog who was adopted from us as a puppy and is now unmanageable. Let’s see if we can get Willy (ex Hutch) back on track and find him a better home!

And the little jack who was found yesterday was reunited with his owners today, so many thanks to the lovely couple who looked after him and avoided him coming to the refuge.

As Mondays go it was pretty quiet. I know that will change as the week progresses. Let’s just hope it is in a positive direction!

Bones at home. Possibly chewing a bone!
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Beauty- already off the lead












Megan with her toy












Yesterday’s visitor, finds his home.

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And hot off the press, the puppy who arrived today. It is a boy!


Open Sunday brings smiles.

Today was the first Sunday of the month, so as usual the refuge was open. The sun shone, and we had a team of volunteers to walk dogs and introduce people to the dogs and cats (and vice versa). We don’t necessarily expect adoptions or even reservations to take place on these days, but for many people it is the only time they have as a family to come and visit the SPA, and quite often reservations follow once everyone has had time to reflect and discuss. One family came to walk dogs, saying that it was an opportunity for the whole family to do something outdoorsy together, and it kept the kids away from the TV and video games. Much better to be out in the fresh air!

That doesn’t mean there is no news however.

A tiny jack russell cross was brought in today; or rather he was shown to us before leaving again with the couple who found him. He is tattooed but it is so faded as to be illegible. Maybe the vet will have better luck tomorrow. In the meantime the dog is safe and is being looked after. If you recognise him, please contact the SPA who will put you in touch with his temporary owners!

And who remembers Coraline, the little old jagd terrier cross dog who spent a couple of weeks in foster with Lorena before going to Twilight, the doggy retirement home? Twilight is usually a dog’s last home, where they receive end of life care and love thanks to two very special people and great friends of the SPA, Leeanne and Mike.

Sometimes however a miracle happens, and a dog is adopted from Twilight and given a home of his or her own. Leeanne and Mike have loads of love to give, and their dogs are very happy, but of course if a dog leaves it makes room for another. Usually a dog leaving Twilight involves tears, as it is usually a trip over the Rainbow Bridge. This time it was tears of joy, as Coraline left for her new life! Here she is looking very pleased with herself. And who can blame her!

And we already have news of Rizzla, who has been renamed Oscar and is looking very pleased with himself in this photo with his new jack russell pal, Jack.

We also received a message to say that Paterson and his owner have just completed their “certificate of aptitude” for good dog manners. That is after 2 months of classes. Many congratulations to them, and thanks for seeing the potential in this young, rather bouncy dog, who has now clearly become a beloved family member.

Smiles all round!

Little dog lost 
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Happy Coraline – ADOPTED from Twilight

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Oscar (ex Rizzla) happy at his new home












And Paterson’s mum gets a good  owner award!


Three adoptions and a lovely day in the sun!

Today we had three adoptions!

First to leave (officially) was Pebble, who is now known as Desdemona. Why? Because she is now living with Othello (also ex of the SPA), with our good friend Edith. Desi has been there for a couple of weeks, but today the paperwork was signed, so everything is official.

Second to leave was Rizzla, who has hated every minute of his stay at the refuge. Luckily for him this was as short as possible, just the legal pound delay. When I met him for the first time earlier this week he just hid in his kennel. Luckily we had a photo of him (taken by the Mairie of Azille, where he was found), showing just how loving and friendly he was. Perhaps it was this photo that caught his new family’s eye; in any case they came along to meet him and it was love! Rizzla left today to live in a large enclosed garden.

The third adoption was that of Beauty, the little sheltie cross who had arrived relatively recently arrived but whose shyness prevented her from being snapped up sooner, I am sure.

Romeo, the old yellow lab who arrived yesterday found his owners too, so there is no hot concrete kennel for him!

I popped up to see the volunteers who were manning (or as usual, womanning) the SPA stall at an event in Caunes Minervois. Thanks to Jane and Rebecca for representing us, and to Cai and Gill for hosting us again. It was also great to see Ron and his wife Brenda. Ron is kind enough to publish a weekly blog for us on Anglo Info, which this week is dedicated to Rex, who is desperate for a new home.


If you love beautiful gardens and fancy a day out in the sun, why not pop along tomorrow. As well as the SPA stand (selling books and some fabulous silk scarves), there are plants and English groceries, as well as many other lovely discoveries to be made in this fabulous garden setting. Dogs are welcome! And why not pop along to the SPA afterwards to say hi to us, on our regular Sunday opening.


Desdemona enjoying an ear scratch with her pal Othello

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Rizzla – ADOPTED












Beauty – ADOPTED







Jane and Rebecca with their respective ex SPA dogs, Benson and Gretta.

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Cai and Gill’s beautiful garden in Caunes Minervois

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That Friday factor yet again

What is it about Fridays? We had yet another bumper day today, with no fewer than four adoptions and three reservations. As far as the reservations are concerned, you will have to wait, but I am happy to tell you about the adoptions. More than happy in fact!

Catherine, who was abandoned just a week ago was adopted! Fabulous for her, as she is just six months old and had been adopted as a puppy. When a dog is abandoned, we do not have to keep them for the usual ten days, so it was a quick in and out for her.

The second adoption was that of Bones. He arrived as a very young boy, and everyone fell in love with him. But of course he grew…and he grew….He was adopted, but he needed an enclosed garden, so back he came a week later. And then he grew some more. He left us today as a lovey but bouncy boy, but we are confident that it is the right home for him. At last.

We then said farewell to Hunter, a beautiful English setter whose owner lost him and his brother Barbour and refused to pay the fee to have them micro-chipped. Barbour left us a couple of months ago, but finally his brother has found a new home too.

And last but not least, we said goodbye to Faustino. His owner had given him away (un-identified) but when his new “owners” brought him to us, they claimed that they had found him. The original owner then contacted us to explain the situation, saying that he had rehomed the puppy “for his own good”, but he would now like to reclaim him. Why? To give him away again? As soon as he knew that money would be involved, things went quiet, and today Faustino found the home he deserves.

Sadly there were three new arrivals as well.  We had a call from a refuge in the middle of nowhere (Bonrepos sur Aussonnelle in Dept 31) to say that a dog adopted from us as a puppy four years ago had been abandoned there. Dedicated volunteer Dominique headed on up to collect this lad and bring him back to Carcassonne. He is a lovely Australian Shepherd, but we cannot find his owners. We will provide photos as soon as we can. Dominique then manned (or rather womanned) the fort as we were short staffed today. So huge thanks to her.

An old yellow lab, Romeo, was found and is now at the vets in the hope that his owner can be traced before he comes to the refuge. It is no place for a 14 year old dog, especially in this heat. And on her way home Carole found a lovely beagle who was dodging between the cars on the ring road. He too is at the vets, but will arrive at the SPA tomorrow.

A very busy day all round! Let’s hope for more adoptions tomorrow and of course we are open on Sunday too, it being the first Sunday of the month.

Catherine- ADOPTED












Bones – ADOPTED (look at the size of those paws!)











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Faustino- ADOPTED












New arrival- Romeo. He is 14












And Carpet, who was found on the Ring Road


The Heat Is On – Part Two!

Today was a public holiday and the refuge was shut so the dogs had a nice relaxing afternoon. Its getting hot so we thought that we would remind everyone about dogs in hot cars!

Every year in every hot country dogs die unnecessary, slow and painful deaths from being left in cars. Before we hear of any this year let’s get the message out there that it’s totally unacceptable to leave your dog in a hot car!

It can happen so quickly and it’s an easy mistake to make. If you think that you’re only going to be a few minutes, you may feel that it’s safe to leave your dog in a car, even on a warm day. The problem is that it’s far more dangerous to do this than most people realise. A car can heat up astonishingly rapidly, with some vehicles reaching 40°C in just twenty minutes. Dogs cannot sweat: they can only lose heat by panting, and if the ambient temperature around them is high, this means that they cannot lose any heat at all. They’ll pant furiously, but will just get hotter and hotter until they collapse. It’s a dreadful way for an animal to die, and that’s one of the reasons why there’s such an outcry whenever an incident like this is reported in the news.

On a sunny day, leaving a dog in a car is as dangerous as putting the animal into an oven and turning it onto “roast”. It’s not enough to leave a window open, or to leave some water inside for the dog. It just gets too hot inside the confined space of a car. ‘Don’t Cook your Dogs’ campaign by Dogs Today magazine aims to highlight the issue as widely as possible, to prevent more unfortunate dogs from dying. Ignorance of the risk is a common excuse, and the campaign aims to ensure that nobody in any country remains ignorant about it.

So what should you do if you see a dog locked in a hot car? This is what I would do but it’s only my opinion. If the car was outside a store I would ask for an announcement to be made asking the car owner to return to the car, if the owner doesn’t appear I would call the police, but if the dog was really distressed I would take a photo or video with my phone, and break a window to get the dog out. Now common sense prevails here, but its better having to replace a window than having a dead dog!

So let’s try to avoid any preventable doggy deaths this year. Please do not risk leaving your dog in the car at all, leave them at home in the cool!

Its true!

dogs die


Dont Cook Your Dog!

Dont cook your dog


Temerature Guide 

Hot Dog Temp

A word on our oldies and identification in action, again

On Saturday’s blog I mentioned that a gentleman had come to abandon his 9 year old golden retriever, and was asked to wait until this coming Saturday, the 31st. Well yesterday he phoned to say that he had found an alternative solution, and that a family member is going to take this elderly dog. That is great news all round. Especially as a dog of that age is not always easy to home. We have several dogs over 9 years old, and there is much celebration each time one is adopted. We all find it extremely upsetting when a dog ends his days at the SPA, rather than in the warmth of a family home. This is why dogs over 9 years old are just 80 euros to adopt. This includes vaccination, micro-chipping and castration/sterilisation as appropriate.

One of our volunteers and Committee member, Dominique, has made this poster to highlight our elderly dogs. Can you offer one of them a home, perhaps? Be aware that we are flexible regarding the date of birth, as in many cases it is a vet’s estimate. We would not refuse the reduced fee for the sake of a couple of months!

In SPA news, I had no photos of her, so I was unable to post photos of Candy, a little pinscher who arrived yesterday. In any case, I thought that with Candy the Rottweiler leaving it might have been confusing (although I might have had fun with the title). In any case, Candy number 2 was already identified and was reclaimed today.

Apart from that three other dogs arrived today; all three were already micro-chipped and so left straight away.

What is there to say except please identify your dog, if you haven’t already done so. If I had a euro for every time someone contacts us full of regret that they have not identified their dog and he or she has gone missing, I would be a very rich person. Actually I wouldn’t, cos I would donate the money to the SPA, but you get my point. Yes, a micro-chip costs about 60 euros, but what price peace of mind?

We had a couple of reservations today and perhaps more in the offing. Let’s hope things start to look up again soon.

Oh, and not that it is a competition, but here is another wonderful poster by a dog’s sponsor. This time it is for Taser, and just goes to show what talented and dedicated people there are out there! The poem even rhymes! Brilliant!

Here are our older dogs. Grab yourself a loving bargain!








And a publicity boost for Taser!

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Candy’s adoption is finalised.

Today we had both good and bad news. Which is pretty much the case every day, except we don’t always have good news!

Let’s start with the bad news. Lisbon came back to the refuge, 10 days after being adopted. This was not done with a light heart, and many tears were shed. Turns out that the mild mannered boy we knew at the SPA does not know the rules of the dog world, and he has major trouble accepting any sort of discipline. Now this would be fine if the family did not have young children, but when they are at risk of gnashing teeth, there is little to be done.

We now know that we perhaps homed Lisbon a little bit too soon. He arrived very nervy, and more work needs to be done before he is ready to be adopted. But that is what we are there for. We will get him used to being manipulated and will make sure he is really ready before he leaves us next time.

On the good news front, Candy our lovely Rottweiler was adopted. Of course we have known this was on the cards, but it takes some time to get the paperwork together. Today the final pieces slotted into place and so within just a little over two weeks Candy was off once again. This time as an only dog!

I nearly got my hands on a lovely beagle, but before he got out of the police car, his owners had phoned the refuge, so he was just delivered back home. And another identified dog arrived and will be off home too. Oh, yes, identification works, don’t ever doubt it.

We managed to get photos of several other dogs who have arrived over recent days but whose owners we have been thus far unable to trace; perhaps social networking will help!

Otherwise it was just thanks to everyone who came out to walk in the lovely sunshine. No bingo wings for us!

Lisbon- Back in the dog house











Candy – ADOPTED (again)








A new arrival- we are looking for her owner.

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Three out, two in.

Some of you will have seen the newspaper articles about a dog who was rescued by the Gendarmerie from its owner who had tied it to a lamp post and was systematically kicking it. The poor dog is now at the SPA and although he is not as badly injured as one might expect, it is still tragic that this seems to happen again and again. The owner will be prosecuted for animal cruelty, but as we know this is rarely enough to deter a recurrence. And a fine is always too small and is unlikely to be enforced. It makes me want to cry.

Another puppy arrived, deposited at the home of one of the SPA employees by a neighbour whom he had followed through town. Needless to say he is not identified.  A third dog arrived identified, so he was able to be reunited with his owner immediately.

There were even two adoptions believe it or not. After two and a half long months, Alana, our lovely female border collie cross finally found a home. This was another internet romance, with her new owner having unashamedly fallen in love via Facebook and agreeing to adopt Alana, providing the feeling was mutual. Which it was. Hooray!

The other adoption was that of Michigan, who left as soon as possible after his “pound time” was over. The best thing about this adoption is that his new owner is one of the guys who is helping to build the extension to the cat house at the SPA. Perhaps it will start a trend amongst his colleagues!

Finally, look at this amazing poster which was made to publicise a SPA dog. Gordon’s “sponsor” is obviously a very talented woman and hopes that this eye-catching picture will encourage someone to come and adopt her favourite dog!  All our sponsors do an amazing job, by either coming to walk “their” dogs, by sending gifts of anti-tick collars, for example, or as in this case by being incredibly creative!








Michigan- ADOPTED












New arrival –  FLAMBO












And a boost for Gordon’s adoption chances!