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‘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!


Comings and Goings- Typical Monday!

Two dogs left the SPA today but sadly there were two arrivals. However, as Mondays go, it was pretty good!

The two departures were those of Atomic and Denali, who have left together with a couple who had been waiting for a female border collie. Their desire for some canine company finally got the better of them, and so they decided on a compromise. Rather than a female border collie, they adopted a female AND a border collie! My kind of people!

Both dogs were reserved last week and since this time they have been sharing a kennel (Denali having been sterilised, of course), so we know the dogs get on well together. I am sure they will be delighted to have their freedom. Good luck to both of them!

In a bizarre twist of fate, we do now have a female border, Milana, who arrived at closing time on Saturday having been found on the motorway. Perhaps she is just lost, but in any case, she is so pretty and sociable that I am confident that she will find a home soon. Perhaps today’s lovely couple will take a third dog, you never know!

There were a couple of other reservations too, but you will have to wait to see who are the lucky ones. Let’s hope things are picking up and that more dogs find their forever homes before winter arrives!

Also a date for your diary. Or even for your memory, as there is not long to wait! This Sunday, the 27th, the Club Canin Carcassonne (Route de Bram) is having an open day. The SPA has a partnership with the Club, and our adopters are offered two free training classes at this excellent dog training school, with most people staying for much longer. On Sunday you can see what the Club has to offer you and your dog, there will be demonstrations of agility training, obedience, education and of course there is the ever-popular puppy school.

The event starts at 10H00 and goes on until 18H00. There will be a couple of SPA dogs there too, naturally!

Denali leaves…..







Together with Atomic











And Milana has just arrived- let’s hope someone is looking for her.


Why so many pictures?

It was only today when I was uploading to Facebook the almost 180 photos taken yesterday that I realised the extent of the walking that was done. An incredible number of dogs were exercised, and in fact I did not even manage to take photos of all them, as at times the refuge was a bit like Piccadilly Circus at rush hour!

The reason taking photos of the dogs is important is three-fold. Firstly for new arrivals it can alert their owners to the fact that their dog is at the SPA. This applies to unidentified animals only, of course, as otherwise we contact the owners immediately, providing of course that their details are up to date in Paris.

Secondly once the photos are added to Facebook it moves the dog’s album to the top again and new fans of our Facebook page may see a dog that they have not noticed before.

Thirdly (and to be honest, my favourite reason), is that we can follow the progress of a dog. We try to take photos of dogs on the day they arrive (see reason one). Often the dogs are in an appalling condition, and the photos that are subsequently taken show the dog’s gradual recovery.

There are numerous examples of this, with perhaps the best and most recent being that of Tootsie. She arrived in a terrible state, skeletally thin and clearly having lost the will to live. Now she is if anything a little bit chunky and is a beautiful glossy girl.

Sadly last week she had what appeared to be an epileptic fit, and so for the moment she is under surveillance. It generally takes a couple of weeks for the dosage of medication to be correctly assessed, but once this is done, Tootsie will have a tablet or two to take each day. Otherwise she will lead a perfectly normal life. Epilepsy in dogs is hardly a handicap, and with treatment being so inexpensive, we hope that this girl’s chance of finding a home will not be diminished by her illness.

So today I thank Team Sport once again (which incidentally consisted of both men and women!), and all the other volunteers who walked (or ran) the dogs yesterday. I also put out an appeal for a home for lovely Tootsie (who is fine with other dogs and cats), and I also wonder if anyone fancies coming along with a camera and taking snaps of the dogs. As I said, many more dogs were walked than I was able to take photos of, and it is a shame that their albums have no new pictures in them!

If this is something that you might like to do, even if it is only occasionally, please get in touch. We can provide a chair, and even a camera if required!

Tootsie when she arrived on June 27th









Tootsie now. What a transformation!


Team Sport bursts into Action!

Well, today wasn’t great in terms of adoptions, but in terms of dog walks it was probably one of our best days ever!

Ronan, our soldier/ volunteer, has returned from his deployment. We were delighted to see him, as were the dogs! Especially as he brought three friends with him, and “Team Sport”, as it became known, burst into action!

Team Sport took many of the dogs running! Going out in teams of four, even dogs who are not usually good with others had no time to think about even growling as they raced round the circuit. I watched from a distance befitting my age and lack of energy; but there seemed to be no stopping these guys! I know lots of dogs who are going to sleep well tonight. And maybe a few volunteers too. I was exhausted just watching them!

Of course there were many other volunteers walking dogs at a more leisurely pace and of course not all our dogs are up to running with Team Sport in any case! Thanks to everyone who came along; I think about half of the SPA dogs got out for some much appreciated exercise! I have 179 photos to add to the Facebook albums, which will keep me out of trouble tomorrow!

Three puppies left, one from the Egyptian Deities litter, Osiris, and the two magic sisters, Hocus and Pocus. Three dogs arrived, though, two as “pre-booked” abandons and a third found on the motorway. So we  have the same number of dogs as before. In addition many of us spent time today trying to catch a small white jack-russell type, whose owner had clearly dumped near the refuge in the hope that he would walk through the gates on his own. He didn’t and is wandering terrified in the fields around Berriac. The least you could do is tie him up so he can be brought in and looked after. Grrr!

And not forgetting the collection held at Gamm Vert today. It was lovely meeting people who had adopted dogs from us and hearing their news. Thanks to the volunteers who manned the stand, as always, and I am sure some adoptions will result from the day. The dogs that we took were immaculately behaved, as usual, and it was a great way to promote the SPA! Thanks to Gamm Vert for your hosting and to Royal Canin for sponsoring the event. If you weren’t able to make it today, they are happy to collect for us for a further two weeks, so no excuses!

Not every day can be judged by the number of adoptions; today was a successful day in so many ways!

Hocus leaves











Pocus leaves













Osiris leaves












The collection at Gamm Vert



Three dogs; three fresh starts!

Three lucky dogs left the refuge today, and none came in.

Two of today’s adoptees were puppies, Gin Fizz and Pina Colada of (yes, you guessed it) the Cocktail Litter. Sometimes when puppies leave the SPA I worry about them. I know it is stupid, as all every pup really wants is a loving family of his own,  but I sometimes wonder how they feel at suddenly losing the companionship of their brothers and sisters.

Well today I have no such worries, as Gin Fizz and Pina Colada left together! So they have the best of both worlds, a sibling AND a loving home. And for these pups who had such a rotten start in life, it is wonderful news. A couple of the litter are still left, and as ever there are plenty of other pups at the refuge, so come along and fall in love!

The third dog to leave was one who I was a little bit in love with. And were it not for the fact that I already have four dogs and a husband (who puts the brakes on), he may well have turned my head.

Biggles changed his name when he arrived with us, as we wanted him to have a totally fresh start. This three year old beagle cross had been left alone most of the time and was hardly ever walked due his owner’s work regime. Inevitably he found other ways to spend his time, and being in an apartment there was not much else to do apart from chew. Now, however Biggles has a garden and a family who are at home all day, so he will have a more normal dog life!

So good news all round today, and don’t forget we have a stand at Gamm Vert tomorrow, in partnership with Royal Canin. Gamm Vert is just behind Geant Salvaza, so if you are shopping, why not pop in. There will be photos of all the dogs at the refuge and even a couple of live models (of the canine as well as human variety)

And of course the refuge is open in the afternoon, so you can come and meet the dogs and cats in the flesh if you like!

Gin Fizz – adopted










Pina Colada – adopted











Biggles – adopted




Walking and getting good news!

Yet another beautiful sunny day here in Carcassonne and the volunteers were out in force. For some reason Thursdays seem to be Brit days, so if any French volunteers fancy improving their English, Thursdays would be a good day to come!

No dogs came in, no dogs went out. We ended the day with exactly the same number as we started with, although one identified dog did make a brief appearance.

We have had recent and very good news on three of our recently dogs, though sadly no photos yet. Fido, the poodle cross is doing excellently, as is lovely Duffy, who has been renamed Trompette. She has turned out to be just as cat-friendly as we promised, and her new owner is over the moon. Cheyenne too is doing well and is going to agility classes at the Club Canin Trebes. That is every Malinois’ dream, so it goes to show that her long wait at the refuge was worth while, as it meant finding the perfect home!

Another dog who found the perfect home is Canelle. She, as you remember, was adopted by one of our supporters, Isa, specifically for doing canicross. Isa has just returned from the European Championships in Switzerland, where she was placed 17th overall and the 5th French female. An incredible achievement and, as the photos show, there is a love and complicity between human and dog that is wonderful to behold!

In a perfect world every dog would find the perfect home, and this is what we want for all the dogs at the SPA. But while they are waiting, the volunteers and employees give them as much love as possible so they are ready to move on when their turn comes!

Isa and Canelle










And at the finish, draped in the French Tricolore!