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And the bubble bursts!

Usually the departure of three dogs would be cause for celebration. And of course we are delighted for today’s lucky adoptees. But bearing in mind that six new dogs arrived, the champagne corks will have to stay in for now.

Two of today’s adoptions were the start of what I am calling the Anatolian Exodus. Yes, two of the Anatolian shepherds, who arrived in such appalling condition in early October left the SPA today. One of them, Gargantua, is going all the way to Haute Savoie, his new owner having made a 12 hour round trip to collect him. Another, Giga (now Ruby) is staying closer to home, but with a family who already knows the breed well and are also known to the SPA. In fact years ago, when I was a new volunteer, they adopted a dog called Rocky (now Roxy) and it was wonderful to hear news of him  and his adventures.
The third departure was that of another puppy, one of the Egyptian Deities, Apis. He leaves five of his siblings behind. So if you like the look of him, don’t despair, there are plenty more waiting for homes.

In terms of new arrivals, one of them was identified and reclaimed immediately. Four of the others have albums on Facebook, but the fifth, a puppy, is in such a terrible state (yes, at 8 weeks) that he may not survive.

The two littlies, a York and a teeny tiny cross breed may be reclaimed, or at least being small, should be adopted soon. One of the others, lovely Diesel who was found in Esparaza, will probably have a long wait and as for Djamon, he is a beautiful beauceron whose owner phoned us up to book a slot to abandon his dog then decided to throw the dog out instead. There is a reason we ask people to wait their turn. It is so we can insure that there is a space available. How many times do we have to say “The refuge is full” before people stop treating us like a dustbin for their unwanted dogs and cats?

Today’s departures did not free a single box, as all three puppies were sharing their boxes with their siblings. The big new arrivals take up far more space. Oh, for a world where people sterilise their dogs and love them forever!

Everything was going so well this week; my bubble has burst.

Gargantua leaves for the Haute Savoie










Giga (now Ruby) leaves too










Apis is adopted












But Djamon arrives, two weeks early, but his owner didn’t care enough to bring him in as arranged










Chiffon’s prospects are much better, he is small and young


“Sam” lost and found!

For the third day in a row I have a smile on my face. This time it is for quite a selfish reason!

In a previous blog I mentioned how hard it is for volunteers to bring dogs in, knowing as we do how overcrowded the refuge is, so I was feeling very guilty about a little dog that I brought in myself. Okay he was small, but he was adding to the numbers and that is the last thing we need at the moment.

Nearly two weeks ago I spotted a small jack russell type dog wandering round looking lost at the refuge gates. Several other volunteers saw him too, but we were unable to catch him. Then as I left the refuge just over a week ago I saw him again. It was a couple of days after Team Sport had been at the SPA, and I was glad none of them were there to see me as I sprinted at the speed of a slug after the little dog. But success was my reward and Sam, as I named him (cos I first saw him on a samedi) arrived at the refuge.

It wasn’t until yesterday that photos of him were put on Facebook, but the result was immediate. “Sam’s” mum came to collect him today, having seen him on the SPA Facebook page. He is now identified and so if he does go walkabout again, we will be able to reunite him with his owner straightaway. With any luck he will have learned his lesson and that is the last we will see of him!

Good week so far; hope tomorrow won’t bring me down to earth with a bump.

Sam leaves after 8 days at the refuge. Found by his owner thanks to Facebook!

Two lovely girls are adopted!

Funny how sometimes, after waiting for months, a dog is adopted out of the blue. In fact this very morning one of our volunteers, Julie, who is very active on internet forums, asked me whom she should feature as “dog of the month” and I said “Molly”. Well, Julie, I hope you haven’t spent all day writing about Molly, cos now she has left!

Word of mouth is a wonderful thing, and Molly’s adopters are friends of another volunteer, Martine, who was able to suggest which dogs may be suitable for their lifestyle. And as luck would have it, when they arrived at the refuge, Molly was being given a bath by Stephane and Sabrina, so was a)clean and b) calm and relaxed!

So after nearly 11 months behind bars, this lovely girl has finally found a home. I guess it was just her day!

The second lucky girl to leave us was little Bikini, a seven year old Coton de Tulear. She was sterilised today and left with her new family this evening. So two females have left the refuge and a third was reserved.

What with that and the walking  and washing that took place, today was not a bad day. Yesterday was a good one too, so let’s hope the week continues to be positive!

Lovely Molly, a home for you at last! 









And Bikini leaves us too!




Titus Toddles Off..

We are always pleased when the week starts off positively and so were delighted when tiny Titus was adopted today. He was brought to the refuge with another small,l younger female who looked remarkably like him, probably his daughter, but she was adopted very quickly leaving Titus alone. Titus was a lovely, friendly little chap but was limping due to a twisted Achilles tendon. A minor operation sorted this and of course we took that advantage of the anesthetic and had him castrated at the same time. He recovered quickly and today he left with his new mum, not a care in the world!

When you are thinking about adopting a dog its very important to consider your lifestyle and there is no denying that there are several advantages of adopting a small breed dog. Lots of people like the fact that you can take them almost anywhere and more and more stores and restaurants are allowing dogs to come inside, particularly if they’re small in size. I often see small dogs in trolleys in the supermarket and I certainly couldn’t pop either of my Labradors into one of these! It’s a fact that small dogs tend to form close bonds with their owners, possibly because their small size allows them to follow their owner almost everywhere.

Many apartment complexes have regulations specifying the size dog you can have. If your dog is Tinkerbell size, he may be allowed whereas a bigger dog would not. In general,small dogs require less food which can be a cost savings to you. Plus, if you need to take them to a kennel or have them groomed, it generally will cost less than it would for a larger dog. Small dogs tend to be less threatening to other pets you may have in your house. If you happen to already have a cat, a small dog isn’t going to strike as much fear in your cat’s heart as a German Shepherd would. Don’t underestimate them though. Small dogs can sometimes be quite feisty and need the same sensible rules and training that larger dogs do.

Health wise,smaller dogs tend to have fewer issues than larger dogs and certainly have a much longer life expectancy so Titus at 7 years old is a mere puppy compared to a 7 year old Newfoundland.  So goodbye Titus we wish you a long and happy life!





We All Need A Little Help From Our Friends…

At the SPA, like most refuges times are tough and we can certainly do with all the help we can get. This might mean making a donation, sponsoring a dog, becoming a volunteer or fostering one of our dogs or cats.  Lots of our volunteers also fund raise and these monies really are a lifeline to us!

Debbie one of our volunteer dog walker and fundraisers is organizing two events in the near future which are going to be held in the Salle de Mairie at Puivert. Half of the proceeds will go to the SPA Carcassonne and half to Twilight the retirement home for old doggies, so all donations will make winter a wee bit easier for our furry friends.

The first is Saturday 16 November from 10am – 1pm, when there will be cakes, books, cards, food and various craft stalls selling a  wide variety of items which will be just right for Christmas presents. There is also a raffle and a bottle stall.

On Friday 6 December we are having a musical evening when the Puivert choir will be singing followed by a performance from the Old Spice Girls – who are not to be missed! There will be mulled wine and mince pies in the interval.

At both events we will be running a silent auction with the opportunity to secretly bid for a selection of items, including wine from Chateau Begude, holiday break, house cleaning, pedicure, meals at local restaurants etc..

The success of both events is dependent upon donations and if you can donate any of the following items we would be very grateful:

New or nearly new clothes, furnishings, appliances and unwanted gifts.

Bottles for the bottle stall

Raffle prizes


Items  for the auction. This can be anything from a mornings cleaning, pedicure, Holiday accommodation, meal at a restaurant or anything people can secretly bid for!!

If you can help us by donating any of the above items please contact one of the volunteers below who will be happy to receive any donated items.

English Library  Quillan-

Julie Christian – Quillan  juliechristian6249@gmail.com

Fred Alsop –     Quillan fred.alsop@gmail.com

Jan Fleming-  Lavelanet chez.fleming@gmail.com

Karen Pead-  Balestie karen.pead@orange.fr

Debbie Jones – Puivert nelliejones6@gmail.com (after 18th October)

Belinda Carter-  Les Bordes- Belinda.carter@orange.fr

Moira Doig – Fanjeaux –moiradoig@aol.com

Jane Hartley- Villeneuve Minervois-janehartley@gmail.com

Di Eccles- Quillan   dieccles1234@hotmail.com

SPA – Carcassonne

At both fundraisers  we will also be acting as a drop off point for any of the following items, which both the dogs homes are always so grateful for:

Dog ,or Cat Food, Collars, Dog treats, Bedding and Balls of Wool

(we have keen knitters amongst us who knits blankets to keep the dogs warm in winter!)

So come on folks, have a clear out and put unwanted items to good use. Our doggy friends will be very grateful!






‘La Vie En Rose’ for Rose and Ariel..

Many people who come to adopt, come with the remit that they want a ‘good family dog’ and for us Brits when we think of a gentle, calm, happy go lucky dog we think of a Labrador.

We have all sorts of Labrador and Labrador crosses at the SPA and having had Labs or Lab crosses all my life I can certainly understand the attraction.  They are easy to train, love being part of an active family and love everyone and everything they meet. Labradors love to please and are playful, protective, loving, and reliable.

When a couple with a young family turned up on Wednesday looking for a family pooch, they were immediately attracted to Rose. Rose is a smallish Lab cross who was brought in by Rebecca and James, a couple of our volunteers who found her wandering in a local village. At only 13 months old she is a great age and will fit into family life very easily. What really sealed the deal was when the children gave her a cuddle and she wagged her tail with delight.  Rose is certain to have a great life with this young active family and tonight she will be surrounded by love instead of a concrete kennel and lots of barking! So a massive thank you to Rebecca and James for bringing her in, she now has the future she really deserves!

It’s not unusual to find dogs wandering in French villages and where I live there are quite a few dogs who wander free during the day but certainly have homes to go to. I know who the dogs are and who they belong to but should you find a dogs who seems lost and doesn’t seem to belong to anyone please speak to the local Mairie. No matter what they tell you it is their responsibility to arrange for the dog to be taken home or brought to the SPA. All Mairies are affiliated to a SPA and it’s their job to make the appropriate arrangements.

For anyone else looking for a Labrador, we have lots of super dogs who will make great family pets.  Please remember that all Labs, rescue or not can be boisterous youngsters and need training.  We always recommend doggy training lessons and in fact Club Canin will give you two free lessons if your dog is a SPA dog. There you will learn to train your dog, teach him appropriate doggy manners and best of all your dog will learn to socialise with other dogs of all shapes and sizes. So both you and your dog will make new friends so its well worth giving it a go!

Yesterday we also saw the departure of tiny Ariel who arrived with her brother Polochon. These three month old Jack Russel pups attracted lots of attention. Polochon left last week and Ariel left yesterday with her forever family.  These pups like lots of our pups have been living with the cats in the cat house which certainly ensures that they are feline friendly !

Tomorrow is an open day at Club Canin (10am – 6pm) so why not pop along, see what classes are available and meet the trainers. There will be fun and games for the dogs and you might see a few SPA dogs there as well!!

Rose who left today


Ariel left yesterday


Solo is looking for a family



Schadow needs a family too



Don’t Shop….Adopt!

Every week we hear of people going to breeders for pups, buying from stores who sell pets or from an add in the local paper!  With thousands of dogs abandoned in refuges in France every year, adopting a pet instead of buying is the only responsible choice! We are once again nearly full up so why would anyone want to buy a pup rather than save one? Can you really validate lining the pockets of irresponsible breeders rather than saving a life? And if you do so are you truly an animal lover?

If you buy a pet from a breeder you are giving money to the pet breeding industry – pet shops, puppy mills and breeders – and encouraging further breeding when there are already too many unwanted animals. Each time you buy one, you are saying, “do that again.!” Buying from a breeder or pet store simply tells them to breed more animals!

If you are breeding from your own dog , these puppies will need homes.! You may plan to keep one or all of the puppies, but if you have room in your home to add one or more animals, that space could go to a refuge animal. The people who you might give one of the puppies to could have adopted from the SPA so instead of saving 4, 5, or 6 animals from the SPA, breeding creates new animals who will need homes.

To some people, “responsible breeder” is a breeder who makes sure their animals are going to good homes and generally takes good care of their cats or dogs. They are different from puppy mills, which sell to pet stores, have no idea where the animals are going to end up, treat the animals as disposable, and often keep the animals in crowded, filthy conditions. However, too often “responsible breeder” is an oxymoron. No matter how well the animals are cared for, there are too many animals for too few homes, and there is no responsible way to intentionally increase the number of dogs in France right now. In a perfect world there would be a place for responsible breeders as well as rescues but that ‘perfect’ world is a long way away.

Adopting from us frees up space in the SPA and it allows us to take in new animals. Adoption saves not only the animal you adopt, but also the new animal the SPA can take in. Combined with not breeding or buying, adopting from the SPA helps both ends of the problem: fewer animals will be bred, and more animals who are already here right now will go to a good home.

Please,  please, adopt don’t shop!





Two adoptions and three reservations

Today I left the refuge with a smile on my face, which isn’t always the case. No, it isn’t because I am off to England for the weekend; I will miss the dogs and assuming wifi has reached Swindon,  I will be following news on Facebook while Moira takes the helm again.

No, today it was because today two fabulous adoptions took place, plus a dog who had arrived this morning found his owner, and there were no fewer than three reservations.

In terms of adoptees, first to leave was one of the Magic Roundabout puppies, also known as the British Litter. These lab/spaniel crosses of 10 weeks have been in foster with Lisa and Andrew, as they arrived very young and with ringworm, so the refuge would not have been a good environment for them. Today was the first time I had seen them in the flesh, and they are just beautiful. The only female, Flo has a lovely new family, and we have already received news and photos of her in her new home. Her brothers, Dylan and Dougal are still looking for homes, though, so if you like the look of Flo, there are two more just like her just waiting!

Second to leave was Mousline, now Molly. No one noticed this little girl for 3 whole weeks, then a couple made a long journey on Monday from Tarn et Garonne and returned again today to collect their little girl post sterilisation. Thanks to them and also to Doglinks, who found this monkey/cat/dog cross a home. Actually she is a petit brabancon and is gorgeous!

I spent much of the day matchmaking between dogs with the help of Sabrina and Melissa, as a couple wanted to adopt two to go with their elderly female. It took a while, but I am delighted with the outcome, as I am sure they will be when both dogs have been “done” and leave the refuge. Satisfying indeed.

And it being school holidays, there were quite a few volunteers walking at the refuge, so there are some tired and happy dogs tonight.

Yesterday I failed to mention the adoption of Megan. The reason for this is that I had known for several weeks that she was going to stay with her foster family, and it has just been a question of sorting out paperwork. Apparently this has been done, so Megan has now officially left the refuge, even though she never spent a single night at the SPA other than on paper!

Some of you may remember this girl, who arrived at the end of April after what appeared to have been an attack with a staple gun. Luckily one of our volunteers was at hand to take this terrified dog home to recuperate, and the love affair began. The husband had never wanted a dog, but Megan knew how to win his heart. Clever girl, Megan.

I am sure you will agree from the photos that this once-terrified dog has undergone quite a transformation!

Now you know why, like Megan, I have a smile on my face!
Flo finds a home








Mousline (Molly) is adopted too, thanks to Doglinks










Megan when she arrived at the end of April








And Megan now, complete with Superwoman cape



Groovy kind of love

Some dogs arrive and you think immediately “oh, he is unusual looking, he will go very quickly”. The another dog who looks similar to him arrives, and then another. No, I am not talking about the Anatolian Shepherd puppies (several of whom are reserved now, you will be pleased to hear). I am not even talking about siblings. This seems to have been a case of pure coincidence. But with each arrival, the dog who we thought was unusual becomes less so. 

Groove arrived in mid-July, at almost the same time as both Mozart and Martin. Groove was the fluffiest of the three, but all three are jagd terrier crosses, all the same size, all with the same character, more or less. Small, lively feisty. I love the breed to be honest, very hardy little dogs, fabulous with people but not always great with other male dogs. Definitely big dogs inside little dogs’s bodies!

In any case, today was Groove’s turn and after removal of his family jewels, off he went to a fabulous new home.

As ever there was a dog to take his place, this time a female puppy who has been named Lili. She is a real sweetie, but again I am upset at the fact that so many unwanted puppies continue to arrive at the refuge. Look at Lili’s little face. What could she possibly have done wrong?

There was also a fabulous reservation, but I will let Moira tell you the news on Saturday when the dog actually leaves. I know a couple of people who will be very happy! See, I am not even telling you the sex! Aren’t I a tease!

Goodbye Groove










Hello Lili


Three out, Three in!

Another mixed day, with three dogs leaving but their places being taken by three new arrivals. With the exception of one of them, all three should be adopted easily.

There were lots of volunteers at the refuge today, and the few dogs who were not walked on Saturday were taken out. There is a list in the office so we are able to keep track of which dogs have been walked and when, and we try to make sure that each dog gets his or her fair share.

The three dogs who left were little Polochon, the jack Russell cross. He caused quite a stir when his photos were put on Facebook, and plenty of people were interested in him. But we were particularly happy when one of our volunteers found Polochon his new family. A reference from a SPA volunteer speaks volumes, and we know that we will  have news and pictures of this little lad as he grows up.

An elderly spaniel was adopted, and another elderly dog was found thanks to his microchip. Thus proving that not every old dog brought in is the victim of abandonment!

In terms of new entries we have Yoga, who is completely and utterly adorable, as is Vico, aka Baby Eddy (for anyone who remembers our old Eddy). Those two should be off in a flash if there is any justice in the world. The third arrival has been the victim of deliberate mutilation and there is not guarantee that he will survive. If he does, he will need a special home. More information will come if the vet is able to save him. The heartbreaking thing was how eager this little dog was to return our affection, despite how badly he has been let down by humans up till now. We all had tears in our eyes.

Finally I thought you would like to know that little Milana is now sharing her box and is looking much happier! Didn’t take long, did it!

Adopted thanks to a volunteer; Polochon











Reclaimed thanks to his microchip, the elderly Sotta










New arrival Yoga. She has huge ears, so Yoda might be a better name!









And here is Viko, aka Baby Eddy










And look at how much happier Milana is today!