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Latest News

A Busy Day after Carcassonnes Fireworks Display!

Today has been a very busy day at the SPA. As well as another pup arriving we have had fourteen reports of lost dogs after last night’s fireworks display.  At the moment only six of the fourteen have been found so there are a lot of very worried doggy owners out there.

When disaster strikes and you lose your dog it’s very easy to fly into a blind panic and have no idea what to do. Even the best trained dogs can be distracted by a sudden noise, a really good smell, a rabbit or deer and we all know accidents do happen where a lead is dropped or a door is left open.

Most dogs come back on their own but if your dog doesn’t return here is who you need to contact with the dogs breed, colour, sex, age, identification ( microchip or tattoo number), collar and disk details.

-Let the local Mairie know.

-Contact the Police Municipal.

-Call the local vets.

-If your dog is micro chipped or tattooed call the database provider and let them know it is lost, where it went missing and make sure that they have all of your contact numbers.

-Register the lost dog on chien perdu (http://www.chien-perdu.org/) This is the French equivalent of Dog Lost UK.

-Call or email the SPA  Carcassonne 0468253545 /  website@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk

-Visit the SPA in person.  Take a photo and leave details of you dog and your contact details. Walk around the kennels and look in each cage. Return in a few days and do the same. Keep going back.

If you French isn’t good enough to do these things don’t despair, we will help. We have numerous English volunteers who will assist.  Just drop us an email or when calling the refuge give the receptionist your number and an English speaker will call you back.

Posters are a great idea and you can print them directly from the chien perdu site. Speak to other dog walkers and let everyone know to keep their eyes open.

If your dog is micro chipped and it’s a British Chip the refuges or vets here will struggle to locate your details. Even if we can see that the dog is registered for example with Pet Log, you are reliant on refuge staff or the vet speaking English so that they can contact them. We are lucky as we do have English speakers but many refuges don’t.  There is a very easy solution to this. You can register the dogs chip on the French system whilst leaving it on the British one. Any vets can give you the forms to do this and means that if your dog is lost in France you can be contacted very quickly!

Adele, 4 months old pup who arrived today.



Three happy souls!

A bit cooler today so less arduous for the dogs who are behind bars at the refuge. I can’t but help being a bit worried about the panic there tonight during the Bastille Day celebrations. Carcassonne is proud of having the second biggest fireworks display in France (after Paris, obviously), but dogs and fireworks are not a good mix and the refuge is very close to the centre of things. I hope they are all okay. And the same goes for all your animals too, of course.

No news from the refuge, as we were shut, but I wanted to just show a couple of photos of dogs who are now happily homed. Firstly we have Lily Blue, whose mum sent me a wonderful email yesterday full of news. They have been struggling with Lily’s digestive problems since her adoption, and the vet’s diagnosis has revealed Giardia, which is now being treated. This is not something that anyone should be worried about and there is no indication (or accusation) that it came from Lily Blue’s short stint at the SPA, but it is something to be aware of. I have had Giardia myself (working in Tajikistan), and I had no idea it could affect dogs too. It is treatable and curable, and worth knowing about if your dog has chronic diarrhoea.

Secondly here is Sax, ex Trajan. He was one of a litter of puppies knows as “Ancient Rome” and you will have to have been following the SPA for a long time to remember him! He came for a visit and to show us how handsome he has grown. I hope his brothers and sisters are doing well too.

Thirdly here is Jules, ex Rocky. He was homed to a neighbour of mine about a year ago, after his previous owner died. I found him playing with my pack in the garden yesterday morning and took this photo! He looks so well.

So three happy dogs. I wish the same for the others who are waiting at the refuge!

Happy Bastille Day, everyone. Moira will be taking over again tomorrow as I am away for a week or so. Once again I am hopeful of good news on my return. The eternal optimist!

Lily Blue-on the road to recovery, we hope
Image 21










Sax (ex Trajan) who came to visit the SPA to show us how handsome he is








And here is Jules, who broke into my garden yesterday to play

Beauceron Day!

Today was another hot one, and apart from spraying the dogs, there was little we could do to make them more comfortable. People stayed away too, partly due to the heat, but mainly because very few people are willing to adopt at this time of year, with holidays approaching. If only they realised that this time is critical for us, as the SPA is filling up with dogs from all the people who refuse to make arrangements for their animals when they go away. We have a dog that was here at exactly the same time last year. As last year her owner will arrive just before the ten days “pound time” is up (ie before we are legally permitted to rehome the dog). This time we are going to ask for kennel fees , as that is what we are being used as. And of course it takes up a space for a dog who really IS homeless, not just one whose owner is irresponsible.

Three new dogs arrived today, one of them was a planned abandonment, of a 3 year old female beauceron, Fanta, adopted from us as a puppy but who jumps the family’s garden fence. No comment. The other two arrivals are beautiful beauceron pups, which brings the number of puppies at the refuge to 20. That is a lot of puppies for a refuge, and of course people often adopt puppies in preference to older dogs, meaning that our adults risk spending even longer behind bars.

No adoptions took place, so it is hard to give good news, however here is some! Do you remember Hoffen, the Montagne de Pyrenees who arrived at the refuge ten days ago weighing just 26kgs? Well here he is today, he has put on 10 kgs in as many days! At this rate we will be able to offer pony rides! It is wonderful to see a dog make such speedy progress, and yet again this proves that although every dog wants a home of his own, the refuge is not the worst place to be!

Fanta, adopted as a puppy but jumps fences three years later











Clyde and Bonnie, two beauceron puppies

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And look at Hoffen! 36 kg and growing healthier by the day!



Some good news!

Today was an amazing day for two of our dogs. Luther and Ziha have been at the refuge for almost exactly two years. They were brought to us when their owner ran into some legal difficulties (okay, he was sent to prison) and his dogs were to be destroyed, unless an alternative could be found. I won’t go into the reason for the owner’s incarceration, but it was not for violent crime and his dogs were beautifully socialised and certainly deserved to live.
At the time the refuge had space, so we agreed to look after Luther and Ziha. They have been waiting patiently ever since. We put them in one of the boxes opposite the parks so that, even though they couldn’t go for walks, they were able to play outside.
One of my fondest memories of them is of February 2012, when Mika, one of the refuge employees and I spent about 2 hours shovelling a huge pile of snow from outside Luther and Ziha’s kennel. The two dogs sat and watched us without moving the whole time! When we finished, we took a bow (well, I curtsied in my lady-like manner) and the dogs went back inside now that the show was over! It really made me laugh.
I am so pleased for them and so happy that their owner kept his word and came back to collect them.
I must add that this case was very much an exception. The Procurer has since informed us that we are not responsible for dogs in this position. However even at the time we could have refused; two years is a long time for dogs to be locked up. For people too, I suppose, except the dogs were innocent!  But in any case it has all worked out and Luther and Ziha can now enjoy the freedom they have been missing all this time.

And further to my post concerning the dogs at Animal Trust in Belgium whom I visited earlier this week, I can announce the wonderful news that Carbon, the black labrador, has been homed and has gone to live in Holland. I like to think that my pep talk in his ear on Tuesday helped, but actually I think it was thanks to the lovely Amber, who posted the news onto our Facebook page.

Luther and Ziha leave after two long years









Carbon leaves Animal Trust

Two happy reunions in amongst the madness.

Well, today was my first day at the refuge for just over a week, and the change in the atmosphere was palpable. In terms of capacity we are at breaking point. I have just been getting the update ready for the site, and I been adding biographies of the sixteen dogs that have arrived during my absence. The heat is not helping, with walking not really an option so the best we can do is shower the dogs and hope this cools them down a bit.

As ever, though, there was something to smile about. Firstly was the arrival and almost immediate departure of Venus. There were alerts out for this English setter who went missing during the thunderstorm yesterday. As well as being elderly, Venus is diabetic, and her owners were frantic with worry. They had contacted the SPA as well as other websites. So when two lovely ladies arrived with an English setter whom they had found, our eagle eyed secretary, Carole, made the connection. Venus’s owners were contacted and they hot-footed it to the refuge, delighted to find their beloved pet. Venus has now had her injection and is doing well after her adventure!

Contrast this with all the people who abandon their dogs at the first sign of illness (says she, still furious at the owners of Hector)

Then the mayor of a local village arrived with a beautiful golden labrador who had been found wandering. Max was micro-chipped, and his owners were overjoyed to hear that their boy was safe. There is a certain mystery as to how Max covered 35 kms in two days in 35 degrees heat. We suspect the involvement of a malicious human, but all ended well and Max is now back at home.

One dog arrived today, she has been with us before and believe me, she is better off where she is now.

Venus, diabetic and adored!








Max, how did you get all that distance?


Visiting some of our dogs who have gone international!

Hi Everyone, it is Darcey here again just for a few days before handing back to Moira.

Despite having a wonderful time and more fun than should be legal for someone of my advancing years, and despite my lack of internet access, the dogs have not been far from my mind. This was partly because I was with Sarah, who lives in Belgium, but is a keen SPA Carcassonne volunteer when she comes to spend time in her family’s home in Limoux.

So after the music festival had finished, we went to spend an afternoon in Melle visiting Animal Trust. For those of you who don’t know, this is a tiny private refuge, who last year homed several so-called hopeless cases from Carcassonne (primarily ex- chasse dogs who had either been at the SPA for ages or whom we just knew would not get homed). And in April Sarah delivered a further five Carcassonne dogs, who are now enjoying life much more than they were in the confines of our refuge.

It was lovely seeing them all playing in the parks, running in and out of the ponds and generally loving life. It is a shame that so far none of them have been adopted, but Eline, who runs the refuge, assures me that this is not due to any behavioural problems. Even Venusio and Murphy, who were impossible to mix with other dogs when they were with us, have become well –adjusted, sociable dogs. It is just a matter of time before the right person comes along for them.

Then, the icing on the cake. Before flying home from Charleroi, I phoned to beg a bed from Facebook friends (and fauve de Bretagne fans) who live close to the airport. I had no idea when I called that they were away and that I would be seeing some mutual friends who were house-sitting during their absence! I am sure that Georgie and Jordan would have been just as hospitable, but it was a lovely surprise to see Phil and Anita who have two ex SPA Carcassonne dogs, so I got to see them, and Gwen and Yessa as well.

What a week, happy reunions all round. The news from the SPA was not so good and my dreams of an empty refuge have not come to pass, but we hope for better things to come!

I say hello to Pepere, Jojo and Murphy









Sarah teaches Carbon to sit and wait











Venusio cools off










JoJo with Ambre, one of the Animal Trust volunteers










And finally Gwen and Yessa on holiday in Belgium


Grizzli’s Great Adventure!

Grizzli, our enormous Newfoundland was adopted a few weeks ago but things just didn’t work out as the family had seven other dogs who Grizzli teased relentlessly.  This 3 year old has had no training or rules to follow and still thinks he is a puppy.Now although we all love playful dogs a 50kg out of control Newfie is really quite daunting!

Yesterday I had a call from a lady who lives in the country with her hubby, two other dogs, cats and donkeys and they were very interested in Grizzli. They were experienced with both Newfies and rescue dogs so in order to observe Grizzli’s behavior in situ it was agreed I would take him to their house this afternoon so we could test him with their animals.

I had a quick peek at the meteo and saw that today was going to be another scorcher and I know that Newfies do not do well in hot cars so I decided to be brave and actually reverse my car into the garage last night to make sure it was nice and cool. With the air-conditioning at full blast I drove to the refuge to collect Grizzli, he jumped into the car and off we went.

Doggy paradise is the only way to describe what awaited us. There was an enormous enclosed field leading down to a shady pool in a river. In the field were 7 donkeys, cats, chickens  and the family dogs.  Grizzli leaped out of the car and was very keen to meet his new playmates. He was very well behaved with all the animals so we carried on down to the river. What a relief this must have been for this enormous Newfie who had just come out of a concrete kennel in 35 degrees heat! After a dip in the river, we sat in the shade and it was very apparent that the new family were delighted with him. So Grizzli has a super new family and the potential of a really fantastic life. Let’s hope that he behaves himself this time!

Grizzli with his new family!


Dyson and Crackle Leave but Lots More Arrive!

Despite the soaring temperatures lots has happened at the refuge today. I will start with the good news. Dyson, the dynamic black and tan Pincher has been adopted. This is wonderful news as he had recently been returned to the refuge after a marriage breakup and this must have been very traumatic for this young chap. Never mind he’s off to a super home where he will be really appreciated!


Dyson’s departure was quickly followed by that of Crackle, a really sweet and gentle Yorkie. Not much more than a pup and immaculately groomed, it seems incredible that no one has come looking for her.  Hopefully Crackles stay at the refuge will soon be nothing but a distant memory!


On the downside, we have had lots and lots of entries. So far this year our numbers far exceed that of last year and we were in crises then. This doesn’t ode well for the rest of the summer!


I also popped up to Toulouse to pick up lots of stuff a lovely volunteer called Leanne had collected. You can see how full my car is of crates, beds, bedding, leads and collars, grooming equipment, toys and treats! So a massive thank you to Leanne and Julie, we are always grateful for such support. If you have stuff that you no longer need and think that we could put it to good use just drop it in or send us an email and we will pick it up. Our fundraisers have regular car boot sales so if our have stuff we could sell there, that too would be very, very welcome!

Dyson’s departure

Dyson leaves


Then It was Crackes turn



Thank you Leanne and Julie

My Car5


35 degrees and a good day for Sangria!

Sangria arrived with another pup about two weeks ago and they have both attracted lots of attention.  They were only 6-8 weeks when they arrived but they are chubby, happy, healthy looking pups who are full of puppy fun and nonsense! A family who have recently relocated to this area spotted her on the website and their two little girls fell in love with her right away.  Unfortunately for the girls they did have to wait the statutory 10 days but today the wait was finally over. With excitement, as well as the temperature reaching fever pitch , off she went!

This is the time of year when we see an influx of both puppies and kittens coming into the SPA. I have to admit that I love the fact that I can cuddle and play with the puppies – but at the end of the day I don’t have to be responsible for caring for them and turning them into good canine citizens.

Many people come to the SPA specifically to adopt a puppy, and sadly the older adult pets are often overlooked. I, for one, would much rather adopt an adult pet, and I would encourage everyone to consider doing the same.

Here’s why:

 What you see is what you get: I often hear people say that they would rather adopt a puppy because they want to mold his or her personality and behavior. I do understand this but only if you are prepared for the hard work needed to toilet train, educate and adequately socialize a young pup. With older dogs, what you see is what you get.  From the start you know how big they are, their personality and behavior, and grooming requirements.  Knowing these things makes it easier to pick the perfect pet for you and your family.

You can teach an old dog new tricks: Adult dogs have much more focus and are calmer than their puppy counterparts. They also have more experience reading people and understanding what is being asked of them.

 Puppies are a lot of work: Don’t get me wrong, I think puppies are adorable and lots of fun but they are also lots of work!  Older pets don’t require nearly as much monitoring and training, and many of them are already house-trained, which means fewer “accidents”.

 Older dogs settle in quickly: Adult dogs have been around the block and know how to be a part of your pack. They should settle in and become part of the family pretty quickly.

 Adult dogs are better couch potatoes: Puppies can definitely run you ragged and we’ve seen many pups returned to the SPA by families who didn’t realize what they were getting in to. Adult dogs are still active, but they also know how to lounge next to you on the couch while you watch TV, check your email or read a good book.

As I write this, we have lots of wonderful adult dogs who are looking for forever homes so please don’t  pass them by simply because they aren’t puppies anymore. Please come to visit, meet  them… and hopefully adopt one too!

Sangria on her way home.



Hot, Hot….Hot!

Today it was very, very, hot at the refuge!  We are lucky as we can escape indoors but there is no escape for the dogs. We do try our very best to keep them cool and some of them really love the mist spray on the hose whilst other hide at the back of the kennels until the kennels have been cleaned and then creep out to lie on the damp concrete.

On a happy note, we have had lots of updates from people who have recently adopted from us. I am sure that many of you will remember eight year old Hercules (now Bill) , a Montagne de Pyrenees who was abandoned in a very poor condition, painfully thin and in need of some serious tender loving care. Well you will be delighted to see how well he looks already. He has another Montagne de Pyrenees as a playmate and just loves his new garden and walks. This is fantastic news and ensures that his retirement is spent as it should be, far away from the noise, heat and chaos of the refuge!

Bill and Belle enjoying the garden

Bill and Belle 2


Dic and Doc two striking Spaniels arrived at the refuge after their owner became very ill and the family couldn’t take care of them. It was apparent that they were devoted to each other so you can imagine how pleased we were when John and Barbara decided to adopt the two of them together! John is a walking guide so these lucky boys are sure to enjoy lots of long walks. They settled into the house and home comforts really quickly and love nothing more than curling up on the sofa in the evening.







Although Chanel, our lovely golden Labrador was chipped when she arrived there was no reply from her previous owners and it soon became evident that they simply did not want her back. Fortunately for Chanel she was quickly spotted on the website by Julia and David. This couple couldn’t wait to meet her and rushed down from the Dordogne right away! They cannot believe what a happy well balanced dog she is. Calm and gentle, she is everything you imagine a Labrador to be. She was only adopted on Tuesday but has already been to a party, found two handsome boyfriends, met the chickens and horses and has been swimming in the lake. Now that is truly how a dog’s life should be!

Chanel looking very pleased with herself!