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Flash leaves for Belgium…

Today we were pretty sure of one departure and it was Flash!

Like all of our dogs who are travelling to other European countries, preparations began weeks ago. First of all Flash needed to have his rabies vaccination and a passport, we then had lots of paperwork to submit to the DSV so that they could issue him with a TRACES certificate. This means that the authorities can track where the dog is exported to and that he is transported in a DEFRA registered vehicle under strict health and safety conditions.

Flash arrived with his sister Poppy in February this year when they were five months old. Wherever they had been they had missed out on a lot of socialisation and they were vert timed and nervous.

We are used to this at the SPA and with lots of love and tlc its wasn’t too long before Poppy was adopted. This left Flash alone  which seems like a shame but it was the perfect opportunity for us to put him with a more confident dog who could teach him that we humans were not scary things, we brought great treats and took them for great walks!

Prosper, our 8-year-old border cross was just the dog to do this. He was friendly and confident and loved the volunteers which really brought Flash on in leaps and bounds.So tonight he is off to our friends Animal Trust in Belgium.

There he will have 5 star boarding facilities, extra training and lots of socialisation and I am betting that it wont be long before this stunning boy is adopted!

Thanks again to Animal Trust for helping the SPA. Quite a few of our dogs have gone to this organisation and all have got super homes and are very happy.

Apart from Flash’s departure there were no other comings or going but I am really hopeful that tomorrow we will have news of 2 adoptions!


border collie x




Adoption of Fonzy

Today we had the adoption of Fonzy, after  some 6 weeks at the SPA. He has been renamed Beau, which is a great name for him now that he truly is handsome. He was certainly in a dreadful state when he arrived. Thanks to Angelique amongst others, he is now looking fabulous.

His friend Flora was adopted on Saturday by which time Fonzy had laready been reserved.  His new mum has visited him regluarly but was unable to take him home until today, and she was very excited, as was little Beau. Like Flora, he left wearing a lovely new harness. And thus starts a new chapter in his life bringing to a happy end the tale that started when the two dogs were found cowering near to a lake in the local area.

A recent arrival, the magnificent Mark was reclaimed. His real name is Toscan and he is now identified.

It was another baking hot day, and as walking dogs in always complicated in this heat the volunteers found other ways to occupy themselves. Several lucky dogs were groomed in the parks and there was bin bags full of fluff being disposed of as old fur made way for new.

There is always something to do as a volunteer!

Fonzy (now Beau) – ADOPTED
foz terrier wearing harness









Mark (real name Toscan) – RECLAIMED (and now identified)

white setter cross with balck head

Adoption of Skippy but Looky is back

All adoptions are good. Some adoptions are wonderful. Today’s is one of the latter,  as it concerns a long termer. By coincidence, the dog in question arrived at almost the same time as recent adoptees Phoebe and Kate, ie in May 2015. There must be something strange in the air right now, and whatever it is, we like it A LOT!

Skippy has just turned three years old and is still full of energy. He has not found SPA life particularly easy, as he pulls quite strongly on the lead and so many of the volunteers find him hard to walk. But he was always happy to be in the park where he proved to be a bright and engaging dog. He will love being out of the SPA, so he can really stretch those long long legs.

He new family had recently lost their beloved dog, and their main criteria in choosing a new pal was that he didn’t resemble their last dog too much! When they saw Skippy their decision was made! Everyone is delighted for this dog, who despite his handsome looks has been overlooked for so long.

The bad news is that Looky is back. Perhaps looking after a deaf dog is not so easy. It was only two weeks ago that this lovely young border collie left for what seemed to be a great home. Things did not work out as planned, despite plenty of pre-adoption advice from the SPA. So Looky is still looking.

Skippy – ADOPTED after 15 months!

pale beige dog











But Looky is back again

border collie with blue eyes.

Adoption of puppy Sphynx and a lovely donation

Today we had a very good adoption, that of puppy Sphynx. This little lad arrived three weeks ago or so, and although he was not a very young pup, arriving at the age of four months, he was quite thin. For this reason it was decided that he should live in the infirmary. This is probably why he had not been seen by many people, and probably why this adorable young lad was not adopted sooner.

However all good things come to those who wait, and today Sphynx’s life has definitely changed for the better. A couple came to introduce him to their magnificent dog, Hercule, and there was no looking back for little Sphynx. He now has a BIG big brother, as well as a massive enclosed garden to play in. Quite a change from his inside kennel and tiny play park at the SPA, although of course this was all with his best interests at heart.

Also today we had a visit fromm a good friend of the SPA. Sarah is here from Belgium saying hello to some new dogs as well as meeting up with old friends, both canine and human. And look at the fabulous van of dog food that she brought with her.

With several volunteers and quite a few walks, it was an enjoyable afternoon.

Sphynx – ADOPTED (here with his pal Hercule)
Small pale dog with big dog








A lovely donation of dog food arrived from Belgium

bags of dog food in van

Scary stats!

It was a quiet start to the week, with two dogs arriving. One of them was reclaimed but the other, a puppy, is still with us. More information on him in due course.

How many of you saw the article in today’s Depeche newspaper, talking about the number of dog and cats who have been abandoned in France this year? There are some very unsettling figures in there. Most shocking of all is that despite endless campaigns  and a recent change in the law, so far this year, the number of animals abandoned is up by 27%. This is an all time record, but not one that anyone should be proud of.

To some extent this can be explained (but not excused) by the fact that France has the highest rate of pet ownership in Europe, with some 10 million cats and 8-9 million dogs. This apparent love of animals would be better illustrated if these animals were not abandoned in their droves each year, particularly in holiday season. In July and August there are approximately 1,000 dogs abandoned per day, believe it or not. And the fact that a common location for animals to be found are the many motorway service stations is all the proof you need that holidays are the reason many people decide to abandon their pet.

A new law introduced in January 2015 changed the status of domestic animals and allows for a fine of 30,000 euros and up to two years in prison. But of course with the courts occupied with “far more pressing matters”, this is seldom if ever imposed. To animal lovers, very few matters seem more pressing, but animal welfare often comes well down a list of priorities.

This is why at the SPA Carcassonne every adoption is greeted with joy and we are hoping for many joyful moments this week.

lots of dogs behind bars

Carl gets a Sunday grooming

As usual on a Sunday, at least three Sundays out of four when the SPA is closed, we reflect on the week that has just passed. Highlights of the week were undoubtedly the adoptions of two long termers Phoebe and Kate. And incredibly, the two of them arrived within a week of each other back in May last year. What a coincidence that they should leave within a couple of days of each other.

Regardless of how long the dogs are at the SPA, we love hearing news and receiving photos. Let’s face it, all the dogs have had hard times of some description, otherwise the SPA would not have featured in their lives at all.

Although his recent stay with us was very brief, I suspect that Storm has never been as happy as he is now. Just look at this photo. It should bring a smile to the face of every single person who believes in second chances!

Despite the SPA’s being shut, there has been activity behind the scenes, as usual. Thanks to Dominique there are wonderful new album covers for many of our dogs on the SPA Facebook page, including some newly highlighted older dogs, who are looking for homes urgently. Don’t forget that older dogs leave for a special senior adoption fee of just €80.

Not only that, employee Angelique sneaked into the SPA on her day off to do some volunteer grooming, and has worked her magic on Carl. He is a gorgeous German shepherd who is just over a year old and as well as being fine with other dogs, he is cat friendly too. Perhaps Angelique’s efforts will help him attract a home in double quick time, but in any case he must surely feel more comfortable without all his winter fur.

And tomorrow another week begins with some departures already scheduled.

Storm enjoying life after the refuge. 
Dog lying on his back








Groomer Angelique’s Sunday was well-spent.

germand shepherd before and after.

Four adoptions, including KATE

Well, surely everyone must have guessed who the lucky dog was alluded to in yesterday’s blog. After 15 months at the SPA, Kate finally left the refuge today. For those of you who did not know, on Thursday a puppy was in urgent need of a blood transfusion, and when the vets phoned the SPA, it was decided to take Kate to help out. After which she went straight back into her kennel; which seemed such a shame!

Carole wrote a Facebook appeal which was spread far and wide. Although there were three calls to offer a home to Kate, by the time the first of these was received, Kate had already been reserved by a family who knew nothing about her recent activity! They came to the SPA and fell in love with Kate and their decision was confirmed when Carole told them about her heroics! I guess it was just her turn!

Everyone is delighted for her, of course and her sponsor mum, Isa, even took a detour from her weekend away to say goodbye to her favourite dog.

Another lucky dog today was Banco. She had caught the eye of a family on Thursday and today they came back to see how she was with their own BIG dog. Little Banco was a bit nervous at first (she shares with another small dog), but she soon gained confidence, and off she went.

Funnily enough her new family chose between Banco and Flora, and as it turned out, Flora was the next to leave! Yes, looking resplendent after her recent “do” by Angelique and with a new harness, Flora’s new life starts here. What a change from the scruffy dog who was found with her friend Fonzy exactly one month ago today.

Finally it was the turn of Filou, the Lhassa Apso, who was abandoned just over a week ago. Yes, it didn’t take him long to find a new home.

With just one arrival, today was a great end to the week.

Kate – ADOPTED (after 15 months)
black dog with family











small wire haired dog










small brown dog










Filou (aka Lol) – ADOPTED

black lhassa


Flora is transformed

Many of you know of Angelique, our volunteer groomer, who does such amazing work on some of our scruffier dogs. What you might not know is that as of a few weeks ago, Angelique has been working part time at the SPA. Not as a groomer, I hasten to add. Much as we think aesthetics are important, grooming is very much a luxury add on. Angelique’s free time is much more limited nowadays, but such is her dedication that she pops in when she is off duty to do some grooming. Yay!

Flora was done in two sessions, as hand stripping can be very time consuming, especially on a dog in Flora’s state. Yesterday it was mission accomplished, and beautiful Flora can be seen in all her glory. Many thanks to Angelique, and let’s hope it is not too long before her latest “client” finds a home.

There were no adoptions today, sadly, but we had four reservations. Three of them are recent arrivals, but one of them is of a long timer, who perhaps deserves a home more than most of our dogs, due to her (clue number one) recent heroics (clue number two).

Can you guess who it is yet? Facebookers will know, I am sure! The rest of you…watch this space!

Flora – Before and After. 
small brown dog looking scruffy then looking lovely.

Three wonderful adoptions

Well today just about made up for the disappointment of yesterday’s five arrivals, none of which were reclaimed, incidentally.

In Saturday’s blog we mentioned that Chinet’s kennel mate, Big, was also reserved. And today was his BIG day. For a dog who had been found tied up in a ditch without food or water, today is quite a change!

Second to leave, and the reservation that was alluded to yesterday, was Diesel. This young lad was abandoned about 10 days ago by his owner who did not have time to look after him. When the appointment was made to bring the dog in we were told that Diesel was a five month old golden retriever. So he wasn’t quite what we expected, but none the less welcome despite this! In the photos this young lad (an eight month old shepherd cross, in fact) is hanging his head, looking depressed. Horrible to see.

How lucky for him that someone came along on Tuesday and fell in love with him. Otherwise he could have had a long wait, and although I am sure we would have cheered him up (probably by mixing him with another dog and taking him on walks), it is far far better that he has a loving home to go to. Look at the change in the two photos, although this lad is not stupid; his adopter admitted that it was his sad expression that drew her to him!

The third adoption brought a smile to just about everyone’s face. Phoebe has finally found a home after one year, three weeks and three days. This young shepherd cross was a favourite of just about everyone and has been DRC’s urgent appeal on more than one occasion. In all likelihood she would have been adopted recently but for the reaction of the family’s other dog. Phoebe just ticked so many boxes; good with cats, good with people and dogs, no pulling on the lead…What was not to like. Her only “fault” is the fact that she looks similar to many other dogs at the SPA.

Her time finally came and she left for her new home today.

We did have an arrival, a handsome setter cross  who was found in a popular dog-walking area. Perhaps he is just lost, but as he is not identified (grrrr) all we can do is wait and hope.

Big large male golden labrador








Diesel being miserable in his kennel and then once he knows he is free!

13908982_1169065303136480_5632081268050934993_o IMG_0628











Phoebe – ADOPTED (after over a year)
dog with smiling woman









New arrival – Mark

white setter cross with balck head

Five Arrive

Well, after so many “good” days, this day was bound to come. Today we had five arrivals, of whom only one is identified and so far the owner is uncontactable and likely to remain so. Photos of them all have been taken (thanks, Team!) and will be uploaded soon, but so far we know of a pointer and also a malinois and her female pup. Maybe some of them will be reclaimed, but if not, that is five more good homes needed.

We hate not having good news to tell you, but as there were no adoptions today, we have to rely on you to help us out. Luckily many of you keep in touch, and we hope you are happy for us to share your photos on the blog.

Firstly here is a picture of Daïna, who moved to Denmark and changed her name to Dea. Her owner describes her as being the pot of gold at the end of her rainbow, which is beautiful. And we have also received this great picture of Toby (ex Pulco), who is enjoying a bit of sightseeing.

So no good news today, but if you read the blog tomorrow we will have news of a great adoption; and that is the one we know about. Perhaps there will be more!

beautiful dog looking at rainbow












dog looking round ruins