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Patty…one of our many black dogs!

In the run up to Halloween we will be highlighting as many of our black dogs as possible!

For those who missed Darcey’s blog on Sunday, we are reducing the adoption fee of any black dog by 50 euros until the 6th November!

That’s a great offer. It means that a identified, vaccinated, sterilised and vet checked dog is only 120 euros..so long as they are black. But as we are in a generous mood, even dogs with a bit of black are included in this super promotion!

So, today I would like to highlight Patty..

Some people think that black dogs are not photogenic but as I was scrolling through the pictures of black dogs, photos of Patty really stood out !

Patty was found with her friend Sweety  alone on the Carcassonne ring road. They were very close and obviosly used to living together abd it wasnt long before Sweety was adopted. Patty is a gorgeous deep black labrador cross. She is very affectionate but even although she loved Sweety she does not love all dogs  so will need to be an only dog.

At only 3 years old she has lots to offer and I am sure that with careful introductions and socialising she could learn that other dogs are not a threat.

Have a look at her photo album  https://www.facebook.com/SPA.CARCASSONNE/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1146466048729739

Come and meet her, take her for a walk…you will fall in love with this lovely girl!

One black dog did leave today, Granite, who was reclaimed by his owners!

Patty needs a home!




Adoption of Chicanos

Every day a dog leaves the SPA is a special day, and today was a great day for Chicanos. This not-quite pup was adopted after five long weeks with us. We say “long” because this boy has not been at all happy at the refuge, and his cries as we left his kennel have been very distressing to hear. He is a gorgeous young shepherd cross who is just desperate for human affection, and going to see him for a quick pat always ended up as a good half hour of cuddles. His new family came to meet him with their dog last week, and so as of now Chicanos will have canine as well as human company. We hope he is very happy in his new home.

Two other dogs arrived and were reclaimed thanks to being identified, and we had a reservation, so as Mondays go, this was not a bad one.

No one has yet taken us up on our Hallowe’en offer, as Chicanos is not black (although quite what colour he is remains a mystery…just a bit of everything, I guess, although the pink stripe on his nose is certainly unusual), but there is plenty more time to take advantage. Thanks to volunteer Dominique for her poster to help publicise the “special offer”.

Let’s see what else the week brings.

Chicanos – ADOPTED
tricoloured dog




Hallowe'en poster

As Hallowe’en Approaches….

Anyone who has children or is on Facebook (or both) will doubtess have realised that Hallowe’en is approaching. Yet again at this time of year our thoughts turn to the black cats and dogs at the SPA. We have blogged on this subject many times, but have been requested to do so again, due to the large number of black animals currently at the refuge.

This week Noche (now Geyna) was adopted, and her adoring new family did not for one moment consider that having a black dog might be a bad thing. Moira and I have three black dogs between us, and we know that many of you also have black dogs and cats. Yet for some reason they are often overlooked at the SPA. People who have adopted black dogs from us often mention that they are given a wide berth by approaching pedestrians, so perhaps black dogs do look more threatening. As for cats, this boils down to superstition alone; how can the colour of an animal affect its supernatural powers?

Of the SPA cats, approximately one fifth are black or predominantly black, and one of them has been there for seven years! Things are not quite as drastic with the dogs, but we are all aware that, lucky exceptions aside, black dogs tend to stay longer before finding a home. The longest serving black dog at the SPA is Scooby Doo, who has been with us for just over three years. Admittedly his cause has not been helped by the fact that he is a bit old and a bit grumpy, but ten years is not the end of the world, and he, like cat Dynamo, will benefit from a seniors’ adoption tarif for whoever takes the plunge.

Not only that, but in an incredible burst of generosity from DRC, we will pay €50 towards the adoption fee of any dog and €30 towards the adoption of any cat who is considered to be suitably dark of hue. In order to take advantage of this limited time offer, just say the magic word when you adopt. And the magic word is, of course, “Hallowe’en”. The offer will end after the November open Sunday, so let’s hope for some great adoptions over the next two weeks!

Depending where you are in the world, Hallowe’en is often acompanied by various revelries, such as trick or treating etc. Constant knocking on doors by strangers is quite unsettling for animals, so please keep them safe. In addition and very sadly, some people use Hallowe’en as a reason to deliberately upset animals, espcially black cats. If your cats loves to roam, next weekend and Monday night it might be wise to keep them indoors. Oh, and please remember Moira’s wise words concerning Hallowe’en sweets….NO (for your animals, that is; you can eat as much as you like, we won’t tell!)

This is Dynamo who has been at the SPA for 7 years. He arrived when he was a kitten, so bear that in mind next time you hear of someone not sterilising their cat and assuming that the SPA will just rehome the kittens. 
black cat with white patches








And this is ten year old Scooby Doo, the SPA’s oldest and longest-serving black dog. Three years and counting

Big black dog

A sad Saturday

Today was far from the best day we have had at the SPA.

Tonight three new dogs are at the SPA, and as the weather has taken a turn for the worse, it is sad to think of them in kennels rather than in the loving homes they deserve.

One of the arrivals was planned, although it is sad nonetheless, and perhaps a bit hard to understand. Mambo was adopted when he was a puppy and was called Robin. He appeared to have found a good home, then we heard that he had tragically been killed on a road. Anyone who has gone through this knows how devastating it can be, so naturally we were extremely sympathetic. It really can happen to anyone’s dog; often a moment of inattention is all it takes. Imagine our surprise when the family subsequently contacted us to abandon the dog as being too lively. Lively is obviously not dead then! In any case, Mombo is small, LIVELY and fun and as he was born in mid February, he is still a puppy, more or less. We hope he doesn’t have long to wait this time.

The other two arrivals were found by the people who brought them in, although both dogs seemed to be unusually attached to their saviours. As neither was identified we have no way of knowing where they really came from. Perhaps someone is looking for them, but we all feel that new homes are required for both. So although it is sad for them in the short term, sometimes a stint at the SPA is required before a dog can be truly loved.

On days like this it is easy to get all glum. However we had some great adoptions this week, and we should not lose sight of that! Let us not forget that tonight both Chaussette and Kipnak (amongst others) are in the warm, something that we would never have believed this time last week.

And despite the drizzle there were lots of volunteers out walking, so even if no adoptions took place, plenty of dogs are nice and tired tonight.

cream and white dog











New arrival – Flynn

Grey and black dog with pointy ears











New arrival – Granite

Black and white dog


Descartes is reclaimed but Bella is back

Last night we spoke briefly about identification, and today we have yet another example of it in practice.

Descartes (not his real name!) arrived at the SPA on October 10th not identified. His picture was immediately put on Facebook, and in fact the couple who found him searched high and low for his owners in the village where he was found and in the neighbouring village. They also informed the mairie and the local police before bringing him to the SPA.

Yesterday the daughter of his owner came to the SPA on the off-chance looking for a dog called Charlie, and they found the dog we had named Descartes. In fact his real owner had phoned the SPA on Monday (the 17th, a week after he went missing) to ask if he was there, but the description bore little relation to the dog, so no one put two and two together.

Dog and owner are now happily reunited, but this could have been done much sooner had Charlie been identified. Or perhaps if his owner had sent a photo to the SPA we would been able to match the dog with the picture. However it is a happy ending nonetheless!

If your dog is not identified and you would be upset to lose him or her, then get him identified asap! It could save a lot of heartache. And don’t forget after 10 days the SPA is legally allowed to rehome a dog! A couple more days and Charlie/Descartes might have been enjoying life in with a new family.

On a less positive note, Bella was returned to the SPA today. This whole dog and cat thing is a lot more complicated than I thought. Bella used to live with cats, but this does not mean that she is good with all cats, by all accounts. This was not helped by the fact that the family cat is not okay with dogs. What a shame! So a cat-free home for Bella next time, maybe, or at least one where the cat is dog-friendly.

As we say, every failed adoption teaches us something, and Bella is young and has plenty of time to find the right home.

Charlie (aka Descartes) reclaimed (and now identified)
tricolour spaniel









Bella – back again. 

pale brown griffon


News of Two Adoptions

First of all, for those of you who doubt the use of identification, here is something interesting. Between just before closing time last night and this evening four dogs have been reclaimed thanks to their being microchipped. If your dog isn’t identified, please think about doing it! How much more proof do you need that it works?

Now onto the news! After the excitement of Kipnak’s departure yesterday, we promised to tell you about the day’s other adoption. Noche finally left for her new home. This lovely girl arrived early last month and was an instant hit. She blotted her copy book only once, during what is known as the annual blanket massacre. This is the first cold night of each year when all the dogs are given blankets. The next morning the employees can be seen picking up what looks like confetti and a list of dogs who cannot be trusted with soft furnishings is drawn up. To be fair to Noche, she was alone in her kennel at the time (Kouban having already left) and so she might have been feeling a bit anxious.

That is not all the good news, either. Today we said goodbye to Chaussette, after over ten months at the SPA. She arrived with her three pups who were homed very quickly, leaving poor Chaussette behind. To be fair she was not looking her best; she was extremely thin having given her all to help her pups survive on the streets. Until today no one had shown any interest in adopting her, despite several heartfelt appeals.

However every dog has its day, although some days take longer to come than others. This afternoon a gentle lady was looking for a dog to share her life and her huge enclosed garden. She wanted a female and she wanted a dog who had a hard life. Before even knowing Chaussette’s story, she had fallen in love. Chaussette will have loads of love and the occasional companyof another dog, but she will be what she has always wanted to be; a loved  and loving companion.

Happy new life, Chaussette; you really deserve it.

Blcak dog smiling









Chaussette – ADOPTED after over 10 months
border collie cross


Adoption of an old long-termer. Yippee!

We promised you a wonderful adoption today, so without further ado, here is the news. Kipnak was adopted today after over two years at the SPA.

Yes, this boy arrived on 13th October 2014, when he was already nearly 11 years old. We have no idea where he came from and why he was not reclaimed. Apart from not being good with cats, Kipnak is just about perfect. He neither looks nor acts his age, but as he arrived already identified (and in fact was identified when he was just three months old), we are sure that he is an oldie, it is not an estimate.

His new family came looking for a calm older dog, and when they walked Kipnak, they knew they had found their boy. But with lots of exciting plans on the horizon, initially they were unable to take him until February. That would have meant his spending yet another winter at the SPA. Luckily the family were sufficiently motivated to make arrangements to accommodate their new dog. Lucky lucky boy. .

People often hesitate about adopting an oldie, fearing the inevitable grief of losing a beloved pet. But others say that when you adopt an older dog you do so as much for him as for yourselves, and that you go in with your eyes open. Okay, you may not have ten plus years ahead of you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some great quality time together.

Older dogs are often far easier to look after. With age comes wisdom, and the very fact that these dogs have been at the SPA shows that they know that life can be hard. They are often very good at recognising when they are onto a good thing, and settle immediately to their new life. They often have a kind of peace about them and can bring a calmness to a boisterous pack, or a focus to a family without dogs. Often requiring less exercise, an older dog can be a great companion for a less active family or elderly couple.

Kipnak is in fabulous shape; and for a while at least he will be more than capable of keeping up with his new, young family!

There are several other oldies at the SPA who would love a home before winter sets in, and don’t forget that they benefit from a reduced adoption fee of just €80.

There was another adoption too, but that can wait until tomorrow. Tonight is Kipnak’s moment in the spotlight!

Long live the oldies!

Kipnak- ADOPTED after over 2 years at the SPA
Pale cream and brown husky cross

Dogs in Limbo

There were plenty of people at the refuge, and a couple of reservations as well as a couple of ” we are going to have a think”s, but no actual adoptions. Only one dog arrived, and we hope that he will be reclaimed as he is identified and is in great conditon. However as we are all too aware, this often means nothing.

When an identified dog arrives at the SPA its owners are contacted. Usually they are delighted and come as soon as they can to collect their dog. Sometimes there is a delay; not everyone has a car, and not everyone is able to drop everything and come to the refuge, especially as most people work.  Sometimes our phone call goes unanswered. So how long should we wait before deciding that people are simply not going to come? Pound delay aside, how long should a dog have to wait before finding a new home?

If you know that your dog is at the SPA, please contact us and tell us when you are coming to collect him. It is only with reluctance that we will put a dog up for adoption if it has a good home. However once contact with an owner has been made, the onus must be on him to come and collect his dog at an agreed date or at least keep in touch and a new date given. We will try to help. Please do not hang up the phone or ignore the calls. This helps nobody and certainly not your dog.

Equally we are not a free kennelling service, so try to be reasonable when delaying collection. Your dog may be taking up much needed space. Above all else, please keep in touch and do not leave your dog in limbo.

For those of you who do not live in the area, perhaps telling you what a glorious day it was is not kind. However we are blessed with a wonderful late summer,  and it is great to be able to walk dogs in the sunshine still. And tomorrow we are promised an adoption which will have us all dancing and singing in the streets, sunny or not! So watch this space!

Duracell – Dog in limbo
at the SPA since Oct 4th – identified but not collected (despite his owners promises to come)

Black lab









Ernie – dog in limbo
at the SPA since Sept 13 – owner promised to collect and in the meantime he has missed out on at least one potential home 

Black and tan dog

Two pups are adopted!

Two adoptions on a Monday is great news so let’s hope that its the start of a really good week!

Today’s lucky two were both pups. First to be adopted was Beary, a very cute ten week old berger cross. He was quickly followed by tiny terrier Alvin who arrived about 6 weeks ago with a fractured leg which was repaired by our vet. After some tlc he was soon ready for adoption.  At only 8 months old he has a great future now that he has a super new family!

We love seeing our pups being adopted quickly, its so important that people consider adopting a pup rather than buying one.

If you are considering a pup please bear in mind that no matter how “reputable” you think your local pet store is, they are almost definitely getting their puppies from one of two sources:  a “backyard” dog breeder, or a puppy mill. How do we know this? Because no responsible breeder would allow their pups to be rehomed this way! The majority of dogs are the product of irresponsible “backyard” dog breeders. These are people who make some easy cash by breeding their dogs and they often sell dogs through the newspaper classified ads. Remember that most of these backyard dog breeders don’t know about breeding for favorable health and temperament qualities, and they don’t know how to raise a properly socialized litter. Many of these little pups are weaned from their mother’s way too soon. Sometimes, a backyard dog breeder turns into small-time puppy mill to increase their supply so you can buy a dog from a pet store and they can make a higher profit.

What are puppy mills? A puppy mill is basically a puppy factory farm where the puppies are just churned out as fast as they can and then sold to pet stores. The dogs are kept in small cages and forced to breed at unhealthy rates… it’s all about the money. Female dogs in puppy mills are made to have several litters per year, which is extremely dangerous and cruel. Each puppy mill produces pups for pet stores, and pays little attention to the specific health and genetic diseases due to inbreeding. Genetic health testing is almost unheard of and mass-producing pets for profit is the bottom line. In the worst puppy mills, horrifying conditions are the norm. How can you stop puppy mills? There is only one way. Take away their profits.

What about responsible breeders? Well, they do health test the parents and breed for temperament and they will be quite happy to show you the results of genetic test. They know how to socialise and care for pups in their care and will introduce you to the mum. They also commit to lifelong care of their pups. These breeders love their breed but are unfortunately few and far between.

So, why not adopt. We have lots of super pups desperate for a home The adoption fee that you pay to us enables us to care for other dogs in need.

When you adopt you are saying no to back street breeding, no to puppy mills, yes to saving a life and enabling us to save another!

Beary adopted..


Alvin adopted..




Another Sunday catch up…

As this isn’t the first Sunday of the month we were closed. Only the staff were in cleaning out kennels, feeding the dogs and cats and giving medication to those who need it.

Sundays are a perfect opportunity to catch up with news of our doggies who are lucky enough to have a home and let you see them happy and settled in their new homes.

We have had lovely photos of puppy Chance who has settled in very well with his new family. This is the happy ever after that we want for all of our pups and we will be blogging on where and how to get a puppy very soon.

The photo which made me smile today was that of Arthur (ex Toby) on his way to the UK. Its just a month since he was adopted and he has settled in very well. He went to live with Terry and John in Brittany along with 2 lovely kittens Ginger and Biscuit. The two kittens are at home with an animal sitter whilst Arthur zooms through Eurotunnel to the uk .

When Arthur was adopted we knew that he would be travelling so we organised his passport before adoption. This meant that 3 weeks after his rabies vaccination he could travel to the UK.  If you adopt from us and know that you will be travelling, please do ask us to have the dog passported. If done before adoption it only costs an extra 30 euros and that’s less than it would be if you took you dog to your own vet after adoption.

Like Terry and John please don’t let distance prevent you from adopting from us. Toby, Ginger and Biscuit traveled to their new home by an animal transporter and this is very easy to organise.

Another way to get a dog to its new home is by co-voiture. This usually involves a volunteer driving the dog to a pick up point where it is collected by the new owner.

Another lovely little dog will be leaving by co-voiture very soon. To see who is the lucky girl…watch this space!

Arthur is off on his holidays..