Home / Latest News (page 179)

Latest News

At the risk of repeating myself….

Believe it or not, two more dogs left the refuge today! Are you getting bored with the continuing good news? We aren’t!

First to leave on stage one of her no doubt amazing journey was Molly. She was adopted briefly a month or so ago by a lady who was unable to cope with Molly’s energy levels, so team Brit got into action and thanks to Elinor (proud mum of Malaga, ex of Carcassonne now of Scotland),  a home was found in the UK. But how to get her there? Answer: thanks to Veronique, the adopter of Megan, the sharpei cross. Wheels within wheels!

In any case, after being washed yesterday, Moira took Molly to meet Megan in Montpelier! Tomorrow she will leave for the UK and no doubt news will follow. Her new owner is experienced with this breed and she will have a lovely life.

Many thanks to Moira and Veronique and her husband Andrew for their help with the journey. Don’t forget, we have a lift going to UK in mid-January, so if you would like one of our dogs, he or she will need to be vaccinated for rabies soon in order to be ready in time!

Second to leave today was Bubble, a lovely girl who is 50% cavalier King Charles, and 50% sausage, but 100% adorable! She was sterilised today and left with her proud new mum. She, too, is going to be very happy.

Now I know what you are thinking. You think that I am protecting you from the bad news. But to be honest, we are having a very positive time right now. A dog did arrive and was reclaimed (thanks to his micro-chip). And one puppy did arrive (Latte, below), but the other albums that I will add to our Facebook page are dogs who have been at the refuge for a few days but who had not had their photos taken before. The numbers really are going down!

Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow; it is possible that we will have a week with adoptions every day!

Molly’s journey begins
1452019_621477657895250_2037135695_n (1)







Bubble (now Kimmy-Bubble) is adopted






Latte arrives


And another two!

Two more dogs left the refuge today, so the sun is still shining on us!

Remember little Dylan? Arrived at the refuge complete with ringworm with his brother and sister, Dougal and Florence who all went to live with Lisa and Andrew as The Magic Roundabout Litter. Dougal and Florence were adopted successfully but Dylan was brought back after a week, as his puppyish behaviour was disturbing the family’s very timid dog. I will never forget the contract of abandon, which ended with the words “WE WERE TOLD HE WAS HOUSE-TRAINED. HE IS NOT” . No you weren’t told that, he is a puppy and accidents will happen. Sorry, I am still a bit angry with these selfish, thoughtless people.

In any case, Dylan went back to live with Lisa and Andrew, but they left at the weekend for a Christmas break, and so little Dylan changed home yet again. He went to live with volunteer Estelle. She was coerced into taking home a training cage (she is one of the people who believed caging a dog is cruel), so we were surprised to receive a photo of one of Estelle’s own dogs (whom she normally has to separate from any other males, as he is not known for his tolerance), in Dylan’s cage having a nap with his new baby brother!

In any case, Dylan came along to the open day, and on Sunday he found his family at last. He left today and this time, fingers crossed, it is for good. He has understandably started to suffer from hyper-attachment, but his new family have lots of love and patience and the wife is at home all day to reassure this young lad who has had such a disrupted life up till now.

The other adoption was one of our three musketeers, Athos. He arrived with his brother and sister at the age of just six weeks and has been living in the infirmary with them ever since, until we were sure they were strong enough to leave. All three of them were reserved very quickly but Athos is the first to be adopted.

So two more dogs in the warm. I am running out of wood to touch; we are having a good patch!

Virus, who hates other dogs, having a nap with Dylan, who loves his cage. Please note, the door is OPEN! No cruelty was used in the taking of this photo!










Athos – adopted


And the good news just keeps on coming!

Well yet another day with good news!

A few weeks ago Moira blogged about how Khensit, the last of the Egyptian Deities litter went on her first ever walk. Well, today she left the refuge for the final time. She didn’t actually leave on her own two feet; she had just been sterilised and was still a bit dozy, so she left in the arms of her new owner. Khensit had arrived as a tiny puppy of two months and now she is six months old, however thanks to the volunteers and employees, she is happy and well socialised.

Interestingly enough, her adopters had been to the puppy sale which took place this weekend (deliberately to coincide with the SPA open weekend, without doubt) and had found the experience really upsetting, with lorries full of screaming puppies parked up and tiny dogs stuffed into cages. So they came to the SPA and got a fabulous young dog for a fraction of the price knowing the adoption of whom was not going to the pocket of an unscrupulous breeder.

And we had another adoption today, that of Bones, our young Beacueron, who much to everyone’s surprise has spent about 10 weeks at the refuge. I thought he would have been snapped up. However today was his turn; a lady who had visited us on Sunday without her dog returned today to make sure they were compatible (which we recommend whenever possible). The two dogs got on like a house on fire, so it was time to say goodbye to Bones. I am not sure how effective he will be as a guard dog, but he could do an impression of a fierce beast if you asked nicely, I expect!

So another good day. Let’s hope it continues like this!

Khensit leaves at last











Bye-Bye Bones 





Solo is alone no more!

I can almost not believe that I am writing these words, but today, Solo was adopted! His story is in many ways typical of a refuge dog. He was found and brought in by the police; very nervous almost to the point of appearing aggressive, clearly as the result of mistreatment. Solo arrived when he was out of the cute puppy phase and he has spent 18 months at the refuge, as being black he looks like so many other dogs and had nothing to draw the eye.

However to people who took the trouble to look, Solo had a certain something. I have always been a huge fan of his, mostly because he looked so much like my lab, Nero, when he was abandoned at the same age. I have watched Solo grow up in the refuge, he has changed kennel mates several times; like Kayser and Bond, he has seen his pals being adopted many times. He has learned everything he knows from the employees and volunteers; he has never known the love of a home.

In May this year, a couple who live in Limoges and who had already adopted a dog from us, came to a village close to Carcassonne on holiday. I have been friends with them on Facebook since their adoption of Stitch, and so they came along to the SPA to say hello (Stitch was delivered to them, we had never met) and also to do some dog-walking. One of the dogs they walked was Solo, and they have never forgotten him; buying him a bauble for the Christmas tree and sending him gifts from time to time.

They have finally cracked, and decided to add this marvellous dog to their pack. One of our fab foster families, Lucie, drove Solo part of the way today, and Linda and Dean met their already beloved dog. Eighteen months of refuge life are over for Solo. I will really miss him; he has always been one of my favourites, but I know he has a great life ahead of him. The first photos are certainly promising!
And if that wasn’t enough good news, Galia and Galaxy left TOGETHER! A family was trying to choose between these 2 puppies at the refuge yesterday. They finally opted for Galaxy, only to phone up later on in the afternoon to say that they would like to take the girl too. Just fabulous!

Sadly I have no photos of Galaxy to show you, but I am sure we will have news of him in due course and he is certain to be happy with his new family.

Morale remains high….for now!

Solo starts his journey








Aaah, that’s better!










Galia leaves with Galaxy, whose photos never even made it onto Facebook!




Feeling jubilant!

I am feeling incredibly tired tonight, but extremely satisfied and more than a little bit emotional about all the things that have been going on this weekend.

We have just completed our most successful open weekend for some considerable time. The skies were blue, the refuge was packed with people walking dogs, delivering presents and blankets, standing around in the sunshine enjoying a glass or two of mulled wine and better still, adopting or reserving dogs and cats!

At the same time we had volunteers at Jardiland and at the Christmas market in Cavanac. A huge team working in harmony all towards the same goal; to improve things for our protégés at the SPA. I cannot count the number of people who paid us compliments on the organisation and the dedication of the staff and volunteers. It was like a well-oiled machine, with people helping out where they were needed. I was incredibly proud of everyone.

What a marvellous atmosphere. Christmas cheer abounded it was not only money that was raised. Our morale took a huge boost too. I suspect I am not the only volunteer who has a huge smile on their face tonight.

So, I know you are desperate to know; who left?

Well, first to go was lovely Amadeus. I am surprised he stayed as long as he did. He is going to be a very happy dog and we will have lots of news, as he has gone to the family of one of our volunteers, Isabelle. The only other actual departure was that of lovely Yoga, but we had no fewer than four further reservations. Usually I do not list these, so as not to tempt fate. However one of them I just need to tell you about, as in many ways it illustrates so well what we have been busy doing recently.

Last weekend at la Cite we had the folder with photos of all the dogs at the refuge. A family showed a lot of interest in one of our dogs, Keops, who has been at the refuge since December 26th 2011. They promised to come and see him at the open weekend, and true to their word, they came along today. The attraction between the dog and the family was immediate and instant, and after a walk together, Keops is now officially reserved.

Had we not been at la Cite, this family may never have come to the refuge. Equally, several people at the market in Cavanac today are now aware of the wonderful dogs that we have at the SPA. It is a case of spreading the word and for this you need exactly what we have; willing hands who love animals and share a common purpose.

Ten dogs and four cats have left as the result of the open weekend alone, and the funds raised mean that, amongst other things, more kennels are on the way.

Thank you to everyone who supported us in so many ways; but especially to the wonderful SPA team. And that is what we are, a team. No better illustration exists than what we have achieved together these past weeks.

I am going to sign off, I think I have some dust in my eye!

Amadeus leaves







Team Puivert with their hands in the cookie jar!







People just enjoying the day and each others’ (and the dogs’) company


Animals have Christmas too!

As you know, today was day one of the Christmas for Animals and despite a dull start to the day weather wise, by 14H20 we had already had our first adoption and a huge number of donations!

The day continued in the same vein pretty much till closing time. We had visits from lots of our ex-“inmates” which was fabulous. The doggy-treat stall was a huge hit and the Christmas tree is looking pretty full, with loads more baubles decorating its branches.

There are several people and groups I would like to thank. As ever I am scared to forget someone, but I simply must mention the Country Dance group from the MJC, who came with two carloads of food, and also Trebes Dog Sport Club, who were also incredibly generous. Sadly I do not have a photo of them, as they insisted that I go in front of the lens, but if I get hold of one I will add it later on, as they deserve more than just a brief mention in dispatches!

There was also a collection of dog food at Jardiland, and again the volunteers were present, showing off our dogs and promoting the SPA. I passed by on the way back from the refuge and the trolleys had filled up nicely!

I bet you are desperate to know who the lucky dogs were….Well, I wouldn’t say that there are too many to mention, but there were quite a few. Three left yesterday, to be fair, but the list of the lucky dogs is as follows:

Indy, Chuppa, Lili, Plume,Chups, and Springbock! Yes, six more dogs are in the warm, and there were a couple of reservations, too! We are delighted, and we are hoping for more good news tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone who came along to support us. If you came to the refuge today and want to do something different tomorrow, why not go to the Christmas market at Cavanac, where you will find yet more volunteers and more ways to support the SPA.

The Group  Country Dance from the MJC







Baby Christmas








And getting ready to open at Jardiland


To Crate or Not To Crate…

When working with dogs we often come upon controversial subjects but one which seems to rear its head the most often is the use of crates.

I am not sure when dog crates became so popular. My family didn’t use crates with any of our childhood pets.  Now they seem to be routinely recommended by breeders, shelters and veterinarians.  However, dog owners too often receive insufficient information about how to use crates appropriately and safely.

I’ve crate trained all my dogs for the last 20 years and I think that crates are wonderful tools for training puppies, preventing young dogs from getting into mischief and for keeping dogs safe while travelling in the car. Used sensibly they can help with toilet training, chewing or destructive behaviours as well as providing a safe den for your dog. Dogs love to have a safe and secure area to sleep and somewhere they can be alone, so a covered crate is ideal. but its very important that they should not be overused. Like with anything else, common sense tells you that of course it’s not right to crate your dog at night and then all day whilst you are at work.

If you are going to use a crate for your dog you need to have the correct size. The dog should be able to stand up and turn around. Next, you need to acclimatise your dog to the cage. Once the crate is in place and has the dogs blanket in it I usually throw in a few treats. When the dog goes in, tell him he is a good boy but don’t close the door. Gradually increase the time in the cage, a filled kong or his feeding his dinner in it will build up positive associations with the cage and soon he will go in quite happily and settle on his blanket.

Once your dog is used to his crate you can pop him in for short periods and its a god send to have a dog who will happily settle in a crate should you have visitors who don’t want dogs around or whilst young children are playing.

Crates are fantastic tools when you have multiple dogs, it allows you to keep all you dogs together but safe as you can simply rotate dogs in and out of the cage. When I have multiple dogs staying over before travelling they are seldom all roaming free around the house at once. The crates allow me to separate those dogs who need space or who are nervous or scared without ever putting any dog at risk.

The key to success with crates is to have the correct size cage for your dog, to introduce them carefully and not to overuse them.








No Puppies for Polka, thank you!

Hardly a single visitor at the refuge today yet again. I wonder if everyone is planning on coming at the weekend for the open days! The news that the Narbonne refuge is closed until further notice “for health and hygiene reasons” is clearly terrible for them, and they have our sympathy, but please don’t think that we have a similar problem. We are up and running and looking forward to lots of adoptions this weekend!

One dog was reclaimed by his owner, a Rottweiler whose owner did not have the correct paperwork. That has been rectified now, but here is a hint; if you do not have the right paperwork for you categorised dogs (ie rotties or staffies), do try not to draw attention to yourself by walking them without muzzles etc. You are just asking for trouble, especially as with elections looming, the police (in Carcassonne at least) have been told to check up on such things.

Two chasse dogs arrived; they are not identified, so whether or not they are claimed probably depends on how good they are at the hunt. We shall see. Finally we had the return of Polka, a tiny fox terrier, who was adopted as a puppy. Her sister, Salsa, was homed thanks to Doglinks, but Polka had no such luck. Her owner gave her away so that she could be used to reproduce, and we had to wade in. But wade in we did; all our females leave sterilised and female puppies have to be sterilised at the age of 6 months. We are firmly against reproduction, as are most people who work or volunteer in refuges. There are already too many dogs out there!

Finally we had news of Calvin. He is doing amazingly well, by all accounts. For a dog who spent two years at the refuge he has settled incredibly quickly. He wakes up the little girl with kisses, sleeps in his basket outside her door and has made friends with all the neighbours and their dogs. It is like his life was just on hold for two years, and he has just got back into the routine he had before. On the one hand, what a waste of two years, but on the other hand, how lovely that this family were willing to give him this second chance.

Benedicte was going to see Calvin today and take her camera, but so far she has not sent me any pictures. If she does so later on I will edit this post, so pop back later to see this lovely boy in his new home!

Polka is back, but before she became a puppy factory!








And better late than never CALVIN!


Getting ready for another busy weekend!

Yet again the refuge was very quiet and apart from one dog finding his owner yesterday, there is nothing to report. However don’t think that the employees have been hanging round kicking their heels! Far from it!

As well as the usual afternoon activities of cleaning out the cages and rotating the dogs in the parks to give them a run around, giving medicine and a second feed to those dogs and cats who need extra care, the employees and volunteers are getting ready for another busy weekend!

This weekend is the nationwide Christmas for Animals open weekend at the SPA. So yesterday and today posters were made and a team of volunteers and employees went out to “decorate” the roundabouts in an attempt to attract people who do not have internet.

At the same time as the open weekend, we are doing a collection of dog and cat food at Jardiland, a garden centre which is located close to the refuge. Our previous collections there have been an enormous success and we are hoping that this time will not be an exception. The display board with pictures of the dogs is being brought up to date and “Team Cat” is hard at work preparing a board for the kitties too!

Not only that, we will also be present at the Christmas market in Cavanac on Sunday. Volunteers Laurene and Isabelle will be selling Christmas gifts and treats for dogs and humans alike. So whether you want to spend your weekend at a garden centre, at the SPA or at a Christmas market, there is something for everyone!

So another busy but exciting weekend beckons. As I have said before, fundraising is wonderful, but adoptions are needed too. I am hoping that every dog and cat can have a home for Christmas. And I know of one girl who is ready and waiting for Santa!

How many other refuges have teams able to work on all these fronts at once? We are truly blessed. So in advance, thanks to everyone for your time and devotion. My husband calls me “the mad dog lady”; it is good to know I am not alone!

Calie waiting for Santa. But has she been naughty or nice?









Please don’t forget our open weekend. You could make a dog as happy as Calie!

1441288_753272264686815_1891338759_n (1)











Our action at Jardiland










and here is a link to the Christmas Market at Cavanac


Another Incredible Adventure!

After the weekends fundraising successes, today we have more good news. Yesterday was the start of Frizzy and Reglisse’s big adventure as they left the refuge to stay the night at my house before an early start at 5am this morning with my hubby Roy, who drove the dogs to Folkestone where they met their new family. Like lots of our UK adoptions, these  owners had only ever seen pictures of the dogs on line so I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the phone rang 10 minutes ago to say that the family were absolutely delighted with the dogs! After an overnight stay in London they will then travel up to Wales to live with a super family who have lots of experience with rescue dogs and who are delighted to offer these dogs a home.

Frizzy a Braque Allemande cross arrived at the refuge terrified and very thin. I was there when she arrived and as I held her in my arms I promised that I would find her a perfect family. I was over the moon when Edith agreed to foster her and I knew that her dog Tello would help Frizzy on her road to recovery, just as he has done with many of our dogs.  Reglisse , a griffon cross, was abandoned at the refuge after his owners divorced and its beyond comprehension how anyone could give up such a sweet, lovely boy. They will make a great pair and will have an older calm Labrador to show them the ropes! I am always amazed how well refuge dogs settle when they come for their overnight stay before a big journey, I am sure that they know that this is the start of something really good and so they behave impeccably!  Roy however thinks that its more to do with the roast chicken dinner and sausage treats but hey, if it works, that fine by me!

We are becoming experts at finding fantastic UK homes for our dogs and logistics have never yet proved to be a problem. You might wonder why on earth someone from the UK would bother taking a rescue dog from France when there are so many dogs in the rescue centres in the UK. The reality is the rescues in the UK are often much better off than us and have become very selective with their adopters. This means that it’s sometimes difficult for families with young children, working families or elderly people to be approved as adopters. We are also finding that British people love the variety of breeds we have here and without doubt it’s our excellent website that attracts lots of potential people to us. This does not mean that we let our dogs go to anyone; in fact we take a lot of time to ensure that the adopters know exactly what to expect and discuss at length their requirements and expectations. This ensures that there are no surprises or disappointments and gives our dogs the very best chance of success.

So bon voyage Frizzy and Reglisse….be happy in your knew life running free in the Welsh countryside!

Don’t forget we have the offer of transport mid-January should anyone fancy a dog or two!  This means that they must have their rabies injection before the last week in December so if you are thinking about it please let us know as soon as possible.

Frizzy and Reglisse leaving for Wales!


Frizzy made herself at home right away!