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Adoption of an oldie and information that may be useful to some.

Here is a question that is frequently being asked, both on the SPA Facebook page and on this website. “WHAT DO I DO IF I FIND/HAVE FOUND A DOG THAT I WANT TO KEEP?”

Several people have contacted me to tell me of their heartbreak when they have been “forced” to give back to its owners a dog which they have looked after for several months. This applies to dogs that are identified (by either microchip or tattoo). A non- identified dog can be identified  in your name immediately by any vet, although I think it is only fair to at least attempt to find the owner by informing your local SPA and the local Mairie, and maybe even putting up posters locally, but that is a matter of discretion.

For an identified dog there are two possibilities. You either bring it to your local SPA, who will either keep it for ten days and then call you to come and adopt him properly (let them know you want him, though!). Some SPA’s (like the SPA Carcassonne) will often let you keep the dog at your house, but it is worth bearing in mind that you can become terribly attached in 10 days, and so sometimes it is best to leave the dog in the refuge, especially if you have children.

The second option (and if you don’t want to pay SPA adoption fees), is to take the dog to a vet and request that he notify the SCC (Societe Central Canine) in Paris that the dog has been found. This gives the owners a chance to find him, and is ultimately the reason for getting an animal identified. If they haven’t contacted the SCC to reclaim their dog after 15 days, ask your vet to change the ownership details. This will cost you a whole 5 euros!
Advantages of going via the SPA are that we will vaccinate the dog and do the paperwork etc, and if you want him/her castrated/sterilised, it tends to be much cheaper via a refuge, as they get a good rate at the vets. However the other route is perfectly legal!
In refuge news, another fabulous adoption today, that of Tesson, who is eleven years old and has been at the refuge since May 2012. He was but one of several elderly German Shepherds at the refuge, and we are delighted that he has found a home. His adopter selected Tesson several months ago, but was unable to adopt him until his own dog passed away, so whereas we are happy for Tesson, we know that his freedom is only due to the death of a much loved pet. Bitter sweet.

We wish him a long and happy life and hope that our other elderly German Shepherds are as lucky. Remember, we ask just 80 euros for a dog of 9 years or over, and this can include castration/sterilisation if required! Please consider adopting a golden oldie!

Tesson who was adopted today!


Two adoptions and Darcey lays a curse.

Hi All – I am back!
I am sure everyone agrees that Moira has done an excellent job while I have been away, so much so that I am thinking of (ab)using her more often. But today I have been at the refuge and I have tidings of great joy, so I have told Moira to shove over and make room for me!

First up was the adoption of Paca. She arrived at the refuge a whole 15 months ago, and was very nervous, almost to the point of being aggressive. However she quickly got the hang of refuge life and quickly became a favourite with many of the volunteers and employees. She is a big strong girl and enthusiasm was her biggest fault. And despite the amount of time she has spent with us, Paca’s lust for life has never diminished. Finally today she found a home, and we are delighted for her!

Second was the departure of Candy, who has been with us since the end of December. Not so long, you may think, but the departure of a Rottweiler is always cause for celebration. There are papers to fill in, courses to attend and all sorts of hoops to jump through, as these dogs are officially dangerous! Try telling that to lovely Candy. She is going to live with Fabio, a beautiful Dogue Argentin who was homed from the refuge several months ago. Bizarrely in the UK Dogue Argentins are catagorised as dangerous, whereas in France they can be owned by anyone. Hmmm.

On the bad news front, we have been told by the SPA in Toulouse that no, they will not be collecting Tom. He is a 10 year old German Shepherd cross who has been with us for just over a  month. The agreement is that any dog that has been adopted from a refuge returns to the same refuge if he is ever found or abandoned. Toulouse are refusing to take Tom back, because they know at 10 years old they will be unable to rehome him. This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour in my opinion, especially as we are full to bursting. We hope that Tom finds a home, and he is certainly better off with us than he would be in Toulouse, however this washing of hands is just not acceptable.

Paca leaves after 15 months








Goodbye to Candy












And Tom is abandoned by the refuge that should be looking after him.


How Much Is That Doggie in The Window?

When people come to the refuge to adopt a dog they often ask, how much does it cost? Some people are so pleased with their new friend that they give you a donation on top of the fee whilst othesr are visually shocked, having expected a rescue dog to be free or almost free.

Perhaps it’s because it used to be in the UK that when adopting a dog from a rehoming centre only a token fee or donation was asked for. This however was a long time ago and these centres received local authority monies!

The SPA is a charity and to exist we cannot lose money. Without the SPA most of the dogs would be roaming the streets and last year alone we admitted nearly 700 dogs. A large percentage of our income comes from adoption fees and donations. To look after 140+ dogs we need staff, utilities, food for the animals, insurance, etc etc. All of our animals are vet checked on arrival, are vaccinated, wormed, have flea and tick treatment, our females are sterilized and all of these things cost money. If we were to then just give our dogs away for little for no fee how could we pay our bills?

Lots of people ask how they can help and we always welcome donations of food, bedding, cages, leads, collars and toys.

If you have time to spare we are always looking for volunteers. Some people volunteer and walk dogs whilst others love to play with the cats.  We are always desperate for foster families who provide a lifeline for many of our dogs and cats and it always frees up a refuge place for another. If you can help please get in touch…we would love to hear from you!

Todays lucky dog to leave was Brioche, a tiny terrier cross who arrived with some strange looking cuts on her neck. All it took was a little TLC and she was quickly snapped up by Jess, the lady who adopted Filou as well as taking the odd pig and goat off our hands!

Unfortunately we have had another 3 dogs arrive but as I keep saying, that is the reality of this time of year in France. The only way we can make a difference is sterilization and education and we do have exciting news on the education side. That however is a blog for another day so watch this space……..,

Tiny Brioche leaves happier and healthier than ever!


Happy Endings!

Today was another very hot and quiet day at the refuge. The best we can do to keep the dogs cool is to spray them with the mister spray on the hose. Its on days like this that we all dream of kennels with air-conditioning, we can but dream!

As always, updates of dogs in their forever homes boost our moral and keep us smiling and this week we have had news of three ex SPA dogs.

The first is lovely Maisie (ex Helfie). She has been living with Pauline for about six months now and has settled into life as a ‘gite’ dog extremely well. She loves welcoming all the guests, especially the children and is a fantastic example of how a rescue dog can fit into a busy household. Pauline was very honest and certainly put a lot of thought into whether to adopt a rescue dog and she is overwhelmed at how obedient and well behaved Maisie has become!

Our lovely pup Daisy ( ex Sangria) is also proving how a pup can fit into family life when introductions are sensibly handled.  The family who adopted Daisy had only recently relocated here and with two young girls and a new kitten a pup was going to be a lot of work.  Its fantastic to hear that one of the girls has already begun Daisy’s training and that she has taught her to sit nicely for a treat!  I love when we hear stories like this where children are really involved with looking after their pups!

The last update for today is Cedric who was adopted about a year ago. This handsome spaniel was a favorite with the volunteers so there were lots of sighs of relief when he went to such a super home. He has astonished everyone with his retrieving skills and is an absolute delight to his owners. They have promised us a full update and more pictures on the ‘one year with Cedric’ anniversary!









Two Out..Two In !

Today was very hot and the refuge was quiet.  Only the very keen dared venture out in this extreme heat but nonetheless we did have two adoptions today, as well as one on Saturday and one last week I haven’t told you about yet.

First today was petite Italia who has been living in the cattery. She certainly had the cute factor which proved too irresistible for one family so off she went to her forever home. She was then followed by Smacks, another tiny dog.  At just seven months Smacks is just a pup but will be no bigger than about 3kg!!!  It’s heartening to see that both of these little dogs have had to spend less than a month in the refuge, I wish they could all be so lucky!

Praline is another of the lucky dogs who don’t have to spend too long with us before they were adopted. This is no real surprise, being a beautiful chocolate colored braque she was bound to be noticed. When you meet or speak to her, her whole body wiggles with absolute delight so she quickly caught the attention of a young family who are real dog lovers and already have numerous other dogs. She is going to have a great life with plenty of doggy and human playmates!

Cajou a two year old shepherd cross who was found in a nearby village was adopted on Saturday. Luckily this handsome boy was very sociable and had certainly had some training so we were delighted that he was snapped up quickly. Like Praline, Italia and Smacks he didn’t have too long a stay in the refuge which must be a great relief for him in this heat.

Of course the extreme heat does not stop the number of dogs arriving and yet another two arrived today! Lets hope that they are as lucky as the others mentioned and don’t have long to wait for a forever home.

Italia – Too cute To Resist


Smacks smiling as he leaves



Beautiful Praline



Last but not least..Cajou



Oh..What a Night!

Last night was Karen and Johns fundraising event and what a night it was! The full moon and balmy weather provided a super back drop for the stunning settings of Balestie! Sitting by the pool looking over to the lake was absolutely devine!


Lots of organization and planning must have gone into this evening, so I would like to say a massive thank you to Karen and John for all their efforts. For those friends of Karen who contributed to the buffet it was superb, a fantastic selection of yummy food and whoever made the desserts really outdid them selves! The bar ‘staff’ and the ‘dj’ coped really well, so thank you for your time and efforts. Thanks also to everyone who contributed to the raffle and to those who bought tickets. Darcey, Belinda and myself won something in the raffle so this will be a bit of good news for Darcey when she gets back from holiday next week! I’m sure everyone who helped will agree it was well worth the effort when you hear how much Karen has raised! I shall let Karen tell you herself how much she raised but all I am saying is WOW!


The SPA  like most refuges is constrained by its finances so events like these go a long way to help make life a bit better for the 140+ dogs and cats we look after. Even although Karen and John already had 3 dogs, they fostered and then adopted a lovely retriever called Belle. Last night was the first time I had seen her since she left the refuge and it wonderful to see her so happy and relaxed with her own family. She is one of our lucky dogs who leave the refuge to a much better life than they had previously and this is why we all work so hard, to give each and every one of our dogs as bright a future as possible!

Our hosts, Karen and John – thank you!




Ain’t Nothing Like a Hound Dog….

Today, yet another ‘hound’ type dog left for an experienced, happy home in the UK.  Jaffa, a stunning  three year old Griffon Khortal is being driven by James, one of our super volunteers, to meet his forever family who will be waiting for him with bated breath!  Until they meet tomorrow, the adopters will only have seen pictures of him so I can only imagine their excitement!  As well as Jaffa, James is also picking up Alexis, another SPA dog who has been staying with a foster family near Toulouse until she could join her owners in the UK. Next month there will be another dog going off to live in Scotland and one of our lucky foster dogs is going to the Outer Hebrides for his holidays!  Our dogs are certainly becoming international travelers; you never know where you might meet an SPA Carcassonne dog!!

Jaffa, enroute to the UK


Unfortunately for every lucky ‘hound’ we have lots more still waiting.

At the end of the hunting season many dogs who are either too old or do not excel at hunting are abandoned and the fate of these dogs is not always rosy! A lot of French people do not consider hound type dogs to be suitable family pets so these dogs can wait a long time before being re-homed.  They are in most cases kennel dogs who have never lived in a home environment and have not been socialized with humans, so are often fearful and very stressed when they arrive at the refuge. Having lived in a kennel also means that you may need to go back to basics with things like toilet training so this requires a lot of patience and understanding.

Luckily ‘hound’ type dogs do seem to have become favorites with us Brits and here are some of our lucky ‘hounds’ who have gone to fantastic families in the UK.  Seeing how well these dogs have settled down into family lives really validates the effort of getting the dogs there and when you compare their previous lives to what they have now you really realize how much better off they are.

Here are some of our happy hounds who have gone to families in the UK.

Casper,who now lives in the Cotswolds.



Munro who lives near Bath.



Gwen who lives near London.



Yessa, who is now Gwens big ‘sister’!


On The Black List!

We do in fact have two black lists at the SPA but the one which is growing fastest and is the most concerning is the list of black dogs! Looking around the kennels today I couldn’t help but notice that about 40% of our dogs are black, At the SPA we have certainly noticed that black dogs are harder to home than light colored dogs. Maybe this is down to superstition and 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 and how their teeth look sparking white!  Another distinct advantage is that they hide dirt well and they are very easily spotted in the snow!  Maybe we could promote them as status symbols; after all black pearls are certainly the most expensive!

In the last week alone 9 black dogs have arrived and they may have a long wait.  So why should we love our black dogs….because they need us to!

There was however good news today when Constance, one of our lucky black beauties was adopted! This is great news for Constance who has just recently recovered from mange but is now looking fantastic.

Constance who was adopted today!



Here are a few of our SPA black pearls who have been waiting a long time, if you could offer any of them a home please get in touch.

Louve – Its such a shame but at only two and a half years old, this is Louves second time at the refuge! She was adopted but her owner developed a terminal illness so she had to come back. She did stay with a neighbor who had children who she loved; unfortunately she did not like their cat!



Toby – Toby is only two and has been  at the refuge for over a year so has spent most of his adolescence behind bars! He is now sharing with another dog and is steadily improving on the lead. With a little training he will make a super pet!



Solo- Another two year old who has been with us for at least a year and really needs a family of his own. Solo is very sociable with other dogs and has learnt to walk nicely on the lead. He’s a very clever boy and learns very quickly!




A busy day!

Today started off well with Geo being reunited with her owners. Geo was one of the lucky few dogs who don’t spend long at the refuge before being reclaimed. Then along came a super reservation of one of our pups which you will hear about next week.

Geo heading back home!



Then there were three fantastic adoptions.

The first one was of a tiny pup called Phoebus who arrived last week.  He was bound to be adopted quickly as he certainly had the cute factor! Phoebus, like a lot of our pups was in a foster home so as well as this being great news for Phoebus it also frees up a foster place for another needy pup!

Phoebus leaves for his forever family!



Next to go was Lola, a 13 year old Yorkshire terrier. At 13 years old with a few health issues we thought she might have a long wait but thanks to our volunteer Melanie she is off for a very comfy retirement.

Lola is next to leave.



Then there was really good news when our stunning one year old Beauceron, Rocky was adopted. He was abandoned when a new baby arrived. This is a story that we here all too often but luckily Rocky hasn’t had more than a few weeks to wait for a new home.

 Rocky smiling as he leaves!



All that good news was indeed too good to be true and three other dogs one of them a puppy arrived.  Still, that was four out and three in, we have had worse days!



SPA Flooded with Abandoned Dogs

We are now full to bursting point with abandoned dogs!  More dogs are arriving every day and despite a super reservation today our numbers are still on the increase. This is the reality of summertime in France, where people with no scruples whatsoever simply abandon their animals whilst they head off on their summer holidays.  How can they possibly relax by the sea or have a cocktail by the pool whilst their loyal friend is either starving to death or dying from dehydration, in the woods or on the streets, wherever they have dumped them!

Despite campaigns run by animal charities this is still happening and is in fact on the increase. Why is this? When will people realize that owning a dog is a lifetime commitment and if you go on holiday, have to move house, have to go back to England, whatever your change in circumstances you have a responsibility to that animal.

I do agree that it is better to take your dog to a refuge than tie it up in a woods but do you know the life that your animal will have at the SPA?  Dogs can wait a long time to be adopted, years in some cases.  They will be lucky to get one walk a week, will be boiling in a concrete kennel in summer and freezing in winter. Is his truly better for the dog than organizing your life to accommodate your dog?

Here are a few of the dogs who have been waiting a long, long time. If you could offer any of the following dogs either a foster or forever home please get in touch!

Here is Todd who arrived two summers ago. A Berger cross and at only four years old he has spent half of his life in kennels! Todd is very affectionate, so much so that he grabs you and wont let you go. He is now sharing his kennel with Melba who will be leaving soon so it would be great to get him out too! He is castrated and micro chipped so ready to go!



Uta and Ugo are ten year old Shepherd crosses who were adopted from us as puppies. After eight years of being loyal family pets they were abandoned when the family moved into a new house!  Uta gets on well with everyone but Ugo  can be very protective of her . They make a great couple and are easy to walk on the lead.   I’d love to find them a home for their retirement!



Chico is a tricoloured cross who has also been with us for two years and like Todd that is half of his life! He is a lively, happy boy who needs an enclosed garden and a playmate.  An active family who were prepared to do some training with him would be perfect!