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C them go!

Last night just as I left the refuge for the evening, an elderly labrador was brought in. I quickly took some photos, sad that another old dog had arrived. The photos went onto our Facebook page and the dog’s owner posted immediately to say that she would be in to collect him today. How I wish it was like that every time! Rox was tattooed, but during his 14 (yes, 14) years, the tattoo had faded. Carole must be very disappointed not have a day of scouring the “possibles” on the central database, using question marks for the illegible digits. Sometimes Facebook is wonderful!

And that was not the only good bit of news today: Three dogs were adopted, all of whom had names that begin with the letter C! (for those of you who were wondering what the title was about!)

Just over a week ago, when she was abandoned due to the illness of her owner, we had real worries for Canelle. This dog had spent eight years in a loving home and was very upset at finding herself at the refuge. We were worried that her age would put people off, but not a bit of it. Just 5 days later Canelle had caught someone’s eye and yesterday she was sterilised prior to leaving for her new home. In fact (and we haven’t told her this, as we don’t want her to get big-headed), quite a few people expressed interest in her. I hope some of the other potential adopters will consider our other elderly dogs; Canelle is not the only one in need of a home!

Another wonderful piece of news today was the adoption of Chino. He has not been with us for long, but he arrived with a malformation of the eyelid and I am sure this is why he was dumped at our door. Initially nervous, a move to the cat house was all it took to show this little guy’s true colours. And a minor operation later meant he was ready for his new home!

And there is more: Our chubby little puppy, Cubby was adopted too, leaving Peter Pan and Wendy together in Neverland for the time being! Not for long, I am sure! Pups as cute at these two should soon be adopted.  And photos of our four new pups have just been uploaded to Facebook, too! The Vampire Diaries Litter!

A good day at the refuge!








Canelle – ADOPTED




















Joey Star leaves and Moira and I have a laugh!

Thanks to Carole the photos of Joey Star had already been published on Facebook before my blog had even been written. By the time the blog was on Facebook, Joey’s owner had already seen the photos and had contacted us! Joey’s real name is Tyrex and today he left the SPA with a brand new micro-chip and a very happy owner!

So that was great news to start the afternoon!

Otherwise there was some activity, but none of it good. The owner of the two setters, Hunter and Barbour, arrived to collect his dogs, whom he had lost over two weeks ago. He refused to have them identified, however and was quite vocal about this fact. It was pointed out to him that it was not us that were taking his money, and that it was a legal requirement that the dogs are identified, but he was adamant. And aggressive. Luckily the Police Municipal happened to be at the refuge, so monsieur left without his dogs.

So for the sake of 120 euros he prefers to give up two fabulous animals. What love he must have for his dogs! The strangest thing about this is that Hunter’s name really IS Hunter! What are the odds?

There was one other part of the afternoon which was funny but only to people like Moira and me, and everyone else who has a warped sense of humour. The two of us were walking dogs and were joined by a husky, who is often seen wandering near the refuge. I took a photo of it in case it was lost, and it followed us for most of the walk. The same thing happened on the next walk, the husky followed us. This time I heard someone beeping their car horn (but not getting out) to attract the dog’s attention, so I walked back down the hill to get the husky to go towards its owner (as I believe is correct dog etiquette).

It was then that I got a torrent of abuse, and accusations that I was stealing the dog! I explained that I was walking SPA dogs, but no, apparently I was doing so deliberately in order to steal the husky. Yeah, like we don’t have enough dogs already! I tried (again) to explain that I was not stealing the dog, that I had no lead other than the one I was using to walk the SPA dog. At this point the charming lady told me to do something that I won’t spell out here but which is in fact is physically impossible.

I had to laugh. She would be better off enclosing her garden and /or keeping her dogs under control than wasting her energy shouting rude words in public.

Made Moira and me smile, though!

Just another day in the madness of the dog rescue world!

Hunter- not worth the cost of a chip











Barbour- Likewise.

A (Joey) Star arrives!

Another week has started and with a bit of luck some of the people who visited us yesterday for the Open Day will return to adopt. We did have lots of visitors, and several people are going to think about their choice before committing. I for one salute you. Far better that than to pick a dog and bring it back immediately because it was not what you (or your partner) wanted. I freely admit that it took me three months of regular visits to the SPA before I found and adopted Lily, my aged ex-hunt beagle. It was before I was a volunteer, and although I liked several of the dogs, I wanted one that I knew was right for me and my other dog. Now I know the dogs much better there are many more I would adopt, but as a casual visitor you have very little information to go on and it is best to think first than regret afterwards.

A bit like the old proverb “marry in haste, repent at leisure”. A good adoption should be like a good marriage. You make sure it is right and it is for the long term before you rush into it.

A few more words about the open day yesterday. Several dogs got over-excited and a couple of fights broke out. This seems to happen at every open day (although it generally doesn’t result in bloodshed). We have been trying to work out what went wrong and what we can do to stop it happening again.

One option is to no longer open on the first Sunday of the month. But what is the good of that? Some people can only make it “en famille” on a Sunday, and of course the dogs get company on an afternoon when they are normally left alone.

One reason that the dogs get agitated is that people throw dog treats into the cages, rather than handing them to the dogs individually. Of course fights can break out when two dogs both rush for the same treat; even my own dogs will do that on occasion. Another thing that can be upsetting to a dog is when its kennel mate gets a walk and it is left behind. We do not allow people to walk one dog of a partnership. If there are two dogs in a kennel, then two dogs must be walked at the same time. And if one of them is not up to date with its vaccinations, then neither dog goes out. There is just no point in risking the health of the unvaccinated dog. Of course if an adoption is in the offing, that is a different thing entirely. We like adoptions!

So yesterday was a mixed open day and has certainly given us lots to reflect on. Live and learn.

Not much to report today, apart from the arrival of Joey Star. I actually saw this little dog yesterday during the open day. A couple had just hit him with their car in Montlegun and brought him to us. They then kindly took him to the vet (which is where any injured animal should go, but they weren’t sure what to do), where it turned out that he was fine, but unidentified. So today he is with us. If you recognise him please tell his owners there are no bills to pay. This little boy who is 5 to 6 months old would just like to be back in his home!

Joey Star- safe after his near miss

Our ‘ Pawsitive Future’ Appeal !

In the next few weeks five of our lucky dogs will be on their way to a wonderful Association in the South East of England where they will stay in luxurious kennels where they have lots of kennel staff, trainers, volunteers and all set in 50+ acres of countryside! We are delighted to be working with this Association and have spent a lot of time and effort getting to know them. I have visited their premises, met the staff and seen their facilities and we know that they can offer a superb future to our dogs.

The average turn around at this association is only 3 weeks but whilst there ,the dogs are assessed and have training as well as lots of exercise and fun.

This is the chance of a lifetime for these five dogs where prospective adopters are carefully matched to each dog.  With the best intentions in the world we just don’t have the resources to walk our dogs every day or do much training with them so these five dogs are indeed very, very lucky! We will of course keep everyone updated with their progress; I wonder who will be the first to be adopted?

It will be a long days travel for them but one day is nothing when you consider the benefits which lie ahead! As we always transport our doggies safely, in large cages and ensure that they have comfort stops every few hours we find our dogs cope very well with the journey and always arrive at their destination hale and hearty!

Here are the lucky five:

Charley, who  arrived at the refuge on 1st June 2011. This wonderful boy arrived on my first ever day volunteering at the refuge so I am delighted that I will also be there as he leaves. He was adopted but returned after about a year but this was through no fault of his own so this is a fantastic chance for him to find a loving family.


Galileo is a two year old handsome Briard cross who has been with us since September. He’s an active boy and full of fun. He will make a fantastic family dog and one thing is for sure, you won’t see many like him in England!


Hood is a one year old Dalmatian cross who arrived in July so has already spent nearly half of his life in the refuge and a refuge is no place to grow up in! He’s a lively, clever boy who will thrive in a family who are willing to spend time with him showing him how to become the dog we know he can be.


Kiko is a seven year old Shepherd cross who was abandoned in November. He’s a beautiful looking black and tan boy who gets on with everyone he meets so I am sure he won’t have a long wait before he finds his forever family.


Mix is a one year old Spaniel cross Labrador who needs a bit of socialisation. He’s very friendly with people but needs to learn how to behave around other dogs! This isn’t his fault, he has just never learnt to behave around other dogs but he’s young and clever so we are sure that he will come on in leaps and bounds!



So, these 5 lucky boys leave on the 23d February and its wonderful to  think that we have the opportunity to enhance their chance of finding a loving family! This is an exciting opportunity for both the dogs and the SPA Carcassonne and we are proud to be working with such a wonderful organisation who will certainly ensure our doggies have a ‘pawsitive future’!

From a financial point of views all five must leave fully vaccinated (including rabies), microchipped and with pet passports and of course there are the transport costs on top of that!

If you would like to help with a small donation towards their travel costs we would be really grateful!

You can donate by paypal to spacarcassonne@yahoo.fr, by cheque or cash to SPA Carcassonne, Chemin de la SPA, 11000 Carcassonne, or just pop along to reception.  If you like fundraising and would like to host an event for our appeal then we would love to hear from you!

Please help us ensure a ‘pawsitive future’  for these five dogs!

On a different note, today being the first Sunday of the month, we were open. The highlight of today was the departure of Alpha, the third and last of the tiny Shih tzu cross pups. We knew that they would be popular but that’s all three adopted within a week of being put up for adoption! I wish all our doggies were so lucky!

Alpha, a real little cutie!




Inspiration was lacking until….

Well, today it rained pretty much non-stop, so sadly there was no dog walking. Not that the volunteers would have minded getting wet, but of course we wear coats and can get warm quickly afterwards, unlike the dogs who go back into their cold kennels.

I was wondering what I would write about tonight. Okay, there was an adoption, that of Gamma, one of the tiny puppies who we knew would leave quickly. We were right, they became available for adoption on Monday, and within 5 days all of three of them have either left or been reserved.

So not much of a blog, I was thinking. But then….at 17H45 inspiration arrived. Not in a good way, but it certainly gave me something to write about.

You remember little Soprano, who was adopted on Monday? Well he was brought back today. Guess what he had done?
a)Mauled the children?
b)Destroyed the house?
c) Bitten the postman?
d) All of the above?
e)None of the above?

Yes, strangely enough the answer is e. The dog was perfect. The reason given was “I wanted to please my wife, but she doesn’t want a dog”. Rude comments about pleasing one’s wife aside, what sort of person adopts a dog without discussing it with their partner? We expressed our outrage, naturally, but the bloke could see nothing wrong with his actions. He even said “but the dog has spent a lovely week with us”. Not appreciating at all that a dog is a living being and that he will have no idea at all what he has done wrong.

We were all standing there, and I for one was praying that this moron was going to ask for his money back. Sadly (or wisely from his point of view) he didn’t.

The selfishness of people never ceases to amaze me. The man said that bringing the dog back was heartbreaking, but it was either that or “make my wife unhappy for the next ten years”. No, I think you will be able to do that without the help of a dog, somehow!

Don’t forget that we are open tomorrow and the weather forecast is much better than it was for today. Come and see us, we have dogs of all shapes, ages and sizes, including a very confused little Soprano!










Soprano – ABANDONED. Just because.


Two dogs leave!

Today the beautiful husky called Anvik (whose real name was in fact Heaven) was reclaimed. Much argy-bargy on Facebook with the dog’s owner accusing us of having deliberately taken her dog, blah blah blah. Actually it was the Police Municipal who brought the dog to us, we do not actively go out to catch dogs in order to irritate people! Moreover, if the dog had been identified, we would have contacted his owner immediately. We have a lot less sympathy for people whose dogs are not identified, as you may have gathered.

Needless to say, the dog is now micro-chipped. But please don’t get on your high horse with us because you have not followed THE LAW regarding identification of animals. Honestly, if I had a euro for every time I used those words I would be a rich woman. It is not rocket science. Identify your dog, keep your details up to date in Paris and then if he or she arrives at the SPA, we will phone you.

I am glad Heaven is home, and I hope I never see him wandering loose around the outside of the refuge again. It is difficult for us to differentiate between dogs who have homes but whose owners leave them to wander all day, and dogs who have been deliberately dumped at the refuge gates. We are pretty good, but being psychic is not one of our skills.

In other refuge news, Beta, one of our tiny shih-tzu cross puppies left. That only leaves one, as another is reserved. And there was another reservation too, but for more news on that, you will have to be patient! But only until Tuesday, I am not really nasty, honest!

Come and see us on Sunday, we will be open and happy to introduce you to the dogs and cats, all of whom would love a new home.

Anvik, aka Heaven. – leaves identified.











Bye-Bye Bench!

Well, something incredible happened today. We have known about it since Monday and the excitement has been palpable, but patience is a virtue.

Today our lovely boy Bench found his home. Not a new home, he found his REAL home. The story is complicated but basically involves a divorce and a husband supposedly rehoming the dog to someone in Corsica, but in fact leaving him to stray, which resulted in his being brought to the refuge. Bench arrived in July 2013, and several people have been interested in him. He was even featured in the British magazine Dogs Today, thanks to Moira, who quite often sends details of our dogs to this well- respected journal. In fact he nearly found a home due to this publicity, and it was only a matter of timing that stopped him hitching a ride to the UK with Rebecca and James in mid-January.

Like many of our dogs Bench (or Balou, to use his real name) has a sponsor at the SPA. Last weekend his sponsor, Chantal, did a wonderful montage for Bench. It was this that was spotted by Balou’s owner, who doesn’t even live in this department! She phoned the SPA on Monday and arranged to collect him. So anyone who wonders why people bother making montages and sharing pictures of dogs on Facebook, there is your answer!

Thanks so much Chantal!

Sadly not all the news was good, as three new dogs arrived. Lovely Calysta was found at Saissac and brought into the refuge by a couple we know and with whom Calysta had spent the night. She is okay with dogs and cats, so with any luck this young beauceron cross will find a home soon.

The other two arrivals are two setters, presumably brothers, who were found in Roullens. One of them made us think so much of dearly departed Alex (of blessed Doglinks), but we resisted the temptation to use the same name. Instead they are called Hunter and Barbour; good outdoor names for two countryside loving dogs!

Don’t forget it is the open day this Sunday, so why not come and see us!

Bench- Reclaimed after seven months!
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New arrival Calysta








New arrivals Hunter and Barbour


Batman Returns (home)

A relatively quiet day at the refuge today, with the only event of note being the departure of yesterday’s arrival, Batman. That is not his real name of course, but when his owner collected him there was such excitement that no one thought to ask what it was. Great news for this little dog but, without wishing to point fingers, if even people in local government do not follow laws on dog identification, it is clear what an uphill struggle we have. Sigh.

In the absence of other news, I thought I would mention the fact that we have plenty of puppies right now, so if you or anyone you know has been waiting for a pup, now is the time to visit us. We have 3 litters at the refuge which making up a total of 10 pups. Three are bichon crosses (one of whom is reserved), and are going to stay tiny. Three are shepherd crosses who will be medium to large and 4 are a mix of shepherd and spaniel (the puppies of Patrol, the lovely German shepherd cross who was brought in last week).

We also have one a female malinois cross, Leia, who is in a foster family so is well on the way to being house-trained.

All are adorable, of course, and assuming our recent blogs on toilet training and education have not put you off, maybe one of them will steal your heart! And don’t forget, with at least two excellent dog training schools close to Carcassonne and free advice on offer, as well as other training schools and even private lessons available a bit further afield, there is plenty of help around should you need it.

I also wanted to draw your attention to the lovely blog written by the mum of recently adopted Flo (ex Froggy). Just read this, and if that doesn’t make you smile, you are in serious trouble!


“Holy quick escapes”











Beta, one of the small pups











One of the Peter Pan litter. Going to be big dogs!












Patrol’s pups







And lovely Leia







Ta-ra to Tootsie!

My refuge day started early today, as I arrived in the morning to meet Tootsie’s new dad. Barry’s wife Ann has already adopted several elderly dogs from the SPA, all of whom live out their lives in luxury in the Landes.

Today Tootsie was renamed Kimmie and went to live with Ann’s menagerie. If you look at the arrival photos of Tootsie and those taken once she had recovered from her neglect, you will see what an amazing job the SPA does. Tootsie even went through a period of being epileptic due to weight loss and stress. She is now free of this illness (which can indeed be temporary). But Ann had decided to adopt her before this good news was known; she is one of those all-too rare people who are not put off by illness in animals.

Tootise is coming up to nine years old, so she is very lucky to have found a home. Older dogs are harder to home, in general, so the adoption of Tootise is definitely a good news story.  And her new mum sent us a chocolate cake, too, which made it even better news (and yes, I did share it!)

This afternoon another dog left us, little Zaz. She didn’t make it onto the site, as she was reserved so quickly. Fabulous for her!

The rest of the day was not so good. A shih-tzu arrived, found in the nearby village of Montlegun. He is seven years old and well-groomed, but is not identified. Sigh.

In addition two more young dogs arrived; the first a young shepherd cross who was found in Villegaihenc and the second a young cross breed who arrived with two young children and a bizarre story of having been given the dog by their father, who had supposedly found it. But that their mother does not want them to keep it. Hmm. No comment. Except that this is a lovely dog and I am glad he is at the refuge!

So two out and three in. Not the best of days, but the best that Tootsie has known in a long time, that’s for sure!

Tootsie when she arrived in June
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And leaving today
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New arrival – Master













New arrival Batman













New arrival Mojo









Five dogs leave!

Today three dogs were reclaimed today thanks to their micro-chips. They hadn’t made it as far as Facebook, as we were reasonably sure that their owners would come and get them. And in fact a couple of them have got “previous”! But it is good to know that with a valid phone number on the central database, you can be reached if your dog arrives at a refuge.

Apart from that today saw the adoption of Bondinette. You may remember her arrival a couple of weeks ago, looking very sorry for herself in the back of a municipal truck (brought in by one of the many villages that use the SPA as their “pound”).

When I saw her I thought “Uh oh”. This is the sort of dog that can spend literally years waiting for a new home. Take her namesake, Bond, who has at the refuge since September 2012…..But sometimes a dog just gets lucky and Bondinette caught someone’s eye very quickly. Once compatibility with the family’s  dog had been checked, off she went to be sterilised and now she is in the warmth of her new home. Bond meanwhile is still waiting. Had he been a girl maybe it would have been him that was chosen….

The reason for the high ratio of male to female dogs at the refuge is the source of much mystery. For some reason people just seem to prefer females. Bond is castrated, though, so he is halfway there!

There was one other adoption today, that of Soprano, a little dog who arrived less than 2 weeks ago. He is a sweet,  affectionate little dog and probably had an owner, but as he wasn’t identified there was no way to contact them and so Soprano starts a new life with a new family. He is identified now, of course!

Bondinette when she arrived- now ADOPTED









Bond – when will MY turn come?










Soprano – ADOPTED