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November brings joy to Auguste

We had another wonderful adoption today. After four months at the SPA Auguste found a new home today. Despite his name this lovely shepherd cross did not arrive in the month of August. He in fact got his name due to his resemblance to SPA resident Cesar. In fact there are many dogs who look a bit like this, and our hearts always sink when new ones arrive. Looking a bit unusual can definitely be a good thing at the SPA, when each dog is effectively competing for the attention of visitors.

Auguste’s new family did in fact look at a couple of dogs of the same type, but they finally chose Auguste and we are delighted for him. We suspect that he was left behind when some travellers passed through the area, and he has not enjoyed being locked up. His new family promise lots of lovely walks and outdoor activity, and Auguste should have a great life with them.

Tomorrow is December 1st, and that is Auguste’s third birthday, according to the vet’s estimate. What a great birthday present he has had. Other dogs are hoping that Christmas brings them joy, even if it is only in the form of a Christmas bauble! Although of course an adoption would be best of all!

There were no arrivals…let’s hope this carries on. More dogs in the warm is what we all want.

Auguste – ADOPTED

big dog with couple


Adoption of Gertrude and Operation Christmas is launched

We said that Justin’s owners had visited and were quite taken with the thought of another spaniel. Well today they came to offer a fabulous new home to lucky Gertrude. They had taken her for a walk with three of their dogs on Saturday, and although they were also drawn to both Risette and Lutine (yes, they REALLY like spaniels), they felt that old lady Gertrude needed them most. Great that the first adoption we have had for several days is such a lovely one.

Sadly Gertrude’s place in the heated infirmary was immediately taken by a new arrival, whom we have named Gino. He hasn’t seen the vet yet, but the feeling is that he will be the oldest dog at the SPA. Unidentified, of course, but maybe someone is looking for him. And he is small, which might help him find a new home if one is needed.

Little jack russell Masha was reclaimed, as was fabulous lagotto romagnolo Julo, who only arrived this afternoon.

Moving on, those of you who have been following the SPA or the blog for a while will know that usually at this time of year we launch our Christmas bauble appeal. The SPA will soon put up its Christmas tree, and we hope to adorn it with a bauble for every single dog who is sadly destined to spend the festive season with us.

These baubles are filled with dog treats and each will be labelled with the name of the lucky dog. As in previous years they cost just €4.50 and of course you can purchase them for your own dog too. For obvious reasons we are unable to send them by post, though. The SPA now has a Paypal account, which is spacarcassonne@yahoo.fr or if you prefer to send your money to DRC we will of course buy the bauble on your behalf. Please don’t forget to state who you want to receive the treats. Or if you have no preference, just say so and we will make sure that one of the forgotten dogs (yes, there are always a few, sadly) has a gift after all.

Many thanks in advance. Let’s get that tree loaded!

Gertrude – ADOPTED










Gino – new (old) arrival

Old dog









Christmas baubles can be bought for your favourite dogs



Dog Park 11 Donates!

The week got off to a very positive start with news of the faboulous donation by the supporters of Dog Park 11. You many remember that their walk planned for 11th November was postponed due to poor weather. Well yesterday was THE DAY, and believe it or not this group of dog lovers collected a massive 280 kg of dog food for the SPA.

Many thanks to Fabrice and his team. Incredible result. And it looks like they had enormous fun too. Fundraising is always best when it is a pleasure, not a chore.

There were no adoptions today, but a couple of “maybes”. And for anyone who saw the post on the SPA timeline yesterday to notify us of the arival of a boxer and a rottweiler (found wandering lost on the road to Villemoustassou), they were both identified and have been reclaimed by their owners.

So not a bad start to the week, although of course what we really want as the weather turns colder is lots of lovely adoptions!

Honestly, I promise I can be trusted alone with this lot!
Malinois delivering food

Hunt dogs as pets

Next Sunday and the one following that the SPA will be open, so today the volunteers are enjoying a Sunday afternoon at home, many of us with our own dogs.

Of course there is nothing better than a Sunday walk, especially in these warm and sunny autumn days. However one thing is almost guaranteed to spoil a walk; the sight of men clothed in green carrying guns. Yes, it is the dreaded hunt! Being in animal protection means that by definition the SPA is anti-hunt, however, as far as the dogs are concerned, we know that there are good hunters out there, ones who adore their dogs and treat them well. Their dogs are effectively family pets, but pets who spend lots more time outside with their owners than the average dog. On the other hand (and far more commonly, sadly), we see dogs who are left in appalling conditions, unvaccinated, unloved, undernourished and all too often abandoned when they are no longer of use.

When hunt breeds arrive at the SPA they often share certain characteristics. They are unually unacustomed to being on the lead, and jump and twist to escape. They are often very timid, unused as they are to affection (remember, to many hunters dogs are just tools, and you wouldn’t be affectionate towards a hammer, so why would you be nice to a dog?). Many of them are not housetrained, and far too many of them underweight and / or have had multiple puppies.

There tends to be a mass arrival of hunt dogs at both the start and end of the season, when dogs are tested for their prowess on the hunt. Why keep a dog who is not going to pull its weight? Despite regulations to the contrary, hunt dogs often arrive with no identification, leaving us unable to find their owners, (even if we wanted to). And as you know, collecting a dog from the SPA involves a certain financial outlay,as owners must pay the vet for the dog to be identified. Why would you do that for a dog who is of no use?

Of course there are hunt type dogs who have probably never hunted in their lives, and who have found themselves at the SPA for completely different reasons. They may have been family pets, so are not timid, and they are often house trained. However one thing they will have in common with the hunt “escapees”, is that they will have a tendency to be led by their noses. And it is this instinct which is probably the most difficult to deal with when adopting a long-eared dog.

There are guides to help with housetraining, and overcoming a dog’s timidity is often just a question of love and patience. However the solution to a dog’s tendency to wander is quite often to keep him or her on the lead. However as the hunt dogs are amongst the most beautiful in the world ( and no, this is not opinion, it is FACT 🙂 ), you will probably want to keep them as close to your side as possible!

Recent arrival Ellie. She has clearly had multiple litters and is terribly thin.

tricoloured griffon









Dumbo is quite a different character, friendly and affectionate and probably a family pet, despite his long ears.

Big long eared dog

Look who came to see us!

Well, we didn’t have any adoptions today, but we had a couple of lovely visits that brightened up the day.

Ellen adopted Blue (ex Poilu) last month, and was last seen at Animal Passport Control when, by coincidence, she and Moira were both headed back to the UK. Moira is still on holiday, but Ellen is back in France, and today she and friend Rachel came to the SPA to say hello and to do some walking. Blue is looking wonderful, and apparently he attracted a lot of attention in England. He was a big hit with Ellen’s friends and family, but also numerous strangers approached Ellen to talk about Blue.  One woman even told Ellen that she had only seen dogs of Blue’s breed at Crufts!

Just as well that Blue is not a timid lad. Some dogs would have been overwhelmed by all of that attention, but Blue took it all in his stride. Ellen is delighted, of course.

We then had a visit from Justin. He was adopted in May this year, and his new family are now completely devoted to the Brittany spaniel as a breed. We know many people who become fans of a certain breed, but quite often there are people who adopt a dog, ad even if they keep the dog until the end, they choose a different breed the next time they adopt. However this family’s experience with Justin has turned their heads totally. He must be a very good dog ambasador!

There are quite a few dogs of this breed at the SPA right now, and I have a feeling one of them may be joining Justin’s family before too long.

Other than that we had lots of volunteers out walking dogs, thanks to everyone who came along.

Blue (ex Poilu)
fluffy pale coloured dog










Brittany spaniel

Black Friday Madness!

No adoptions at the SPA today, but no arrivals either.

I am sure that many of you have heard today,the last Friday of November being described as Black Friday. This is the day after the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday in the USA and heralds the start of the Christmas shopping season. Prices are often reduced dramatically and shops are packed  with eager bargain hunters. A few years ago this  made its way over the Pond (as we call the Atlantic Ocean) and has taken hold in the UK and many other European countries, including France.

So what has this got to do with the SPA, you ask? Well, we hate to be left out, so again DRC will offer a bargain rate for any black (or mostly black) dog or cat who is adopted between now and the end of next weekend’s Sunday opening. Yes, we are open as usual on the first weekend of the month, so up to closing time on Sunday 4th December, there will again be €50 towards any black dog and €30 towards any black cat.

And don’t forget, some of the animals are already in the senior category, making their adoption a real bargain. If you are planning on adopting, now is a great time. Why not come along and see us. Please note, however, that good homes only need apply. 😀

All Black has been with us for over a year now. He is just two years old and would love a home.
Scruffy black griffon








Pretty girl Flurry will try to win your heart!

black dog








Ten year old Balou is hopeful too!

black and tan dog



Adoption of newbie Scotty

Today Scotty left the refuge after just ten days, which as we all know by now, is the minimum time possible. It is also known as the Pound time,  and is designed to give owners the chance to come looking for their lost pets.

Scotty is small and young (18 months old) and so is easier to home than many of our older, larger dogs, but so much the better for him. Although clearly in these “post- Smart days” we are keener than ever to find homes for our oldies or dogs who have been at the SPA for a long time, any adoption is wonderful, and we wish every happiness to Scotty and his new family.

On the subject of lost dogs, today’s new arrival, as well as the three dogs who arrived yesterday, may well have taken fright during the huge storms that hit the region over the last day or so. Many people have notified us of their missing pets, but sadly none of the descriptions or photos match the recent arrivals at the SPA. Thunderstorms can be very distressing to dogs and cats. Unlike people who, even if they are afraid, know that it is just a meteorological phenomenon, animals have no idea what is going on and so naturally try to run and hide. Sometimes when doing so they make very bad choices!

Please keep and eye on your animals during intemperate weather, keep them in doors if possible and hold onto leads even tighter than usual when on walks. And please spare a thought for all the dogs at the SPA who are terrified and alone in their kennels.

Scotty – ADOPTED
small terrier








New arrival – Ellie












New arrival – Fido

Black and tan griffon


Adoption of Teck

One thing you learn about the world of animal rescue is that you have to be able to dust yourself off and move on, regardless of what happens. There are more dogs to save! Thanks to everyone for your kind messages about Smart; no dog should leave this life without tears being shed.

At the SPA today we had three more new dogs to look after, none of which are identified. Let’s hope that at least a couple of them are reclaimed. Never nice to think of scared and confused dogs spending what might be the first of many nights in cold kennels, especially with the rain lashing down as it is at the moment. Still, at least they are under shelter; many many others will not be.

Onto brighter things. As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, amongst all the sadness we had an adoption, that of little Teck. When  he arrived last month it was obvious that he wouldn’t have long to wait. A wire haired dachshund of just a year old was sure to be adopted quickly. Even had he not been one of the most adorable cuddly and affectionate dogs at the SPA. Sure enough a family came along to meet him yesterday, and after a quick trip to the vets today, off he went to his new home.

We must also say thanks to Cecile, who took over translation duties last week while Helene was otherwise occupied. Great job! And to Helene, welcome back and sorry the first couple of blogs since your return were so sad.

Teck – ADOPTED yesterday
wire haried teckel

A Sad Farewell to Smart.

Today we said a sad and very sudden farewell to Smart. It is only four days ago that we made our appeal for a home for him, although he has been on the SPA page as being urgent for over a year. Sadly this time there was no miracle.

There are many upsetting aspects to his death. The saddest thing is perhaps that he has been with us for almost three years, and throughout all this time we were unable to find him the home he deserved. He was not a difficult dog; okay, he did not like cats or other dogs, but he was not unique in that. Many of our dogs are homed without other animals. He was wonderful on the lead, too. Smart was already nine years old when he arrived, plus he was a big dog, and this is maybe why he was never chosen.

Of course a dog of nine must have been living somewhere before coming to the SPA. We often wonder if owners follow the SPA news and see what happens to dogs they have abandoned. In this case it has ended badly and I hope they feel guilty. But they probably won’t. Instead it is left to a group of SPA employes and volunteers to shed tears for a dog they have looked after for almost three years.

Many thanks to Estelle and Mika for accompanying Smart on his final journey. They went to the vets hoping for a different outcome, expecting to perhaps return with medicine, but the deterioration in Smart’s health since he saw the vet just a few days ago left no option.

Thanks to everyone who has walked him and taken care of him since his arrival all that time ago. There will be lots of you, for sure. And let’s try to make sure this never happens again. Please share as much as you can for the old dogs or the dogs who have been at the SPA for a long time. An end to life having not tasted freedom is just horrible.

We did have an adoption today, that of little Teck, but we will write more about that tomorrow. Not even a wonderful adoption can lift the mood.

RIP Smart . Sorry we couldn’t find you a home.

Smart when he arrived in 2014
big tricoloured dog









And shortly before he died.

Smart needs a foster

Happy Snaps on a gloomy day

Mondays are often very hectic at the SPA with multiple arrivals. However today there is just one new dog at the refuge, and we will tell you more about her tomorrow.

I think many of us are feeling a bit glum. A couple of dogs are ill, especially poor Smart, and we all need to be cheered up. So rather than dwell on sad things, such as the advertisements that are starting to appear encouraging people to buy puppies for Christmas, we thought we would show you some lovely photos of ex SPA dogs.

I am sure none of these owners regret having adopted a dog from a refuge. Why put more money into the pockets of often unscrupulous breeders and puppy farmers when instead you can change the life of a dog who wants nothing more than to be loved and who has already been let down by humans.

Thanks to everyone who send us news of their dogs; you brighten up days like these when we all need a bit of a boost.

Prada (ex Lottie) when she was a tiny pup and one year later

tiny pup and same dog but older











Oscar (adopted last month) has fallen on all four paws. His owners came to see us last week and they are over the moon with their lovely boy!

fluffy black and white dog











And no, this is not a disembodied head, it is “puppy” Chase wearing the cone of shame, following his castration