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What a Team!

To say that today was busy would be the understatement of the decade. I arrived to a scene of chaos, with people and dogs everywhere, some (like Canelle) being reclaimed by their delighted  owners, others (Tommy) being reserved. Then Sarah arrived after her long drive from Belgium, and we had to unload her van. Yes, not only is the association for whom she is a volunteer taking 5 of  our “unhomeable” ex-chasse dogs, they have even donated us food and other accessories. This time we got 4 cat transport cages, and 50 cat litter trays, plus I don’t know how much dog food. Lots!
A new volunteer has welding equipment, and several of the boxes were repaired, this morning, while the refuge is shut to the public and a huge thanks to him, too.
A lovely English couple came from 3 hours away and took Lucky, the beautiful golden retriever,  and I am hoping that another British couple may come back to take a dog, whom they met today, too. I was busy busy busy, as were all the other volunteers, who were out walking dogs and introducing them to the numerous visitors.
Meanwhile “team Geant” was hard at work, and just before the refuge shut, 3 cars went off to collect the food that had been donated during the day. It was wonderful to return to the refuge to see about 10 volunteers still waiting to help us unload. Bearing in mind it was 18H30 at this time, I was quite moved to see such dedication. We have a great team.
Of course it was not all good news, with the arrival of a couple of dogs, but they should be easily homed if their owners don’t come for them.  Not a bad day all in all and thanks to everyone for their help and support, as ever.
My plan had been to weed the area at the front of the office and I had taken up gardening gloves and a hoe. The weeds have lived to fight another day!

Lucky leaves

Sarah arrives

Good news day!

Three main things happened today. Hot off the press, Munro has just arrived in the UK and met his new family. No back up plan was needed; the intended adopters (and their dog, a mini-fauve) adored him, and his new life has started properly! Thanks to Moira who looked after him so well during his journey.
Meanwhile back in Carcassonne I spent the day, along with other volunteers, collecting dog and cat food at a local supermarket. It was their idea, but they did their best to hide us out of the way, which seemed a bit strange as the plan was surely for them to benefit from the increase in sales. Luckily we are a bossy lot, and we thrust ourselves forward and chatted to people. We collected lots of food and heard news of dogs who had been adopted from the SPA many years ago. The collection will continue tomorrow at Geant Salvaza. Thanks to the volunteers who helped today and those who will do so tomorrow. 
Thirdly, Melodie left for her new home. Many of you will have seen this sweet little dog, tied up outside the office while her post-sterilisation stitches were healing. Good job she and Munro won’t have a chance to compare notes, as rather than a 12 hour car journey then the Channel Tunnel, Melodie went in 5 star luxury….by air, no less. Well, when your new owner works for Air France you expect certain benefits! 

Food collection
Melodie leaves the refuge

A New Life Begins for Munro

Where to start? Well, I guess the beginning was Gwen, who used to be at the refuge in Narbonne. She was destined for the big kennel in the sky, as the Narbonne refuge was bursting at the seams, and Gwen, a griffon fauve de bretagne, was not doing very well there. We at the SPA Carcassonne took Gwen and 4 other dogs who were due to be put down, as at that time we were luckily enough to have some space (oh, happy times!). Anyway, Gwen caught the eye of a couple in England, and they decided that she was the dog for them. So a human chain was formed and Gwen went off to a much better life and is no longer the timid girl we saw here in Carcassonne.
When Munro arrived in early January, I let Gwen’s adopters know. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask, does it?! They are part of a fauve rescue group (this breed is virtually unknown in the UK) and they found what appears to be a perfect home. And so today, newly castrated and with his very own passport, Munro left the SPA. The human chain is the same as last time, which was more by luck than design, but it does make me think that fate is playing a big part in this entire thing!
Munro will meet his new family and their dog tomorrow and providing all goes well he will start his new life. There is a safety net if things don’t work out; Gwen may be getting another brother, albeit a temporary one!

Safe journey Munro!


Adoption of Invisible Dog

Some dogs are instantly noticed at the SPA, as they are of a certain breed, or a certain size. Others just seem to go unnoticed as there is nothing in particular to distinguish them. Inevitable they have a harder time being adopted. I would say that the two main groups here are ex-hunt dogs (of whom we have far too many) and the is dogs who are black or mostly black.
Lizzie arrived at the SPA a couple of months ago, having been found in a nearby village. She was noted on the file as being black with white speckles, and that is about all we could say about her. We have several other dogs who look like her, Blaise being one. And then there are the all-black dogs. Quite a lot of competition! It wasn’t until someone noticed that there were hardly any photos of Lizzie on Facebook that two volunteers took her and her kennel mate out for a walk. The resulting photos, one of which is below, is what turned the tide. 
Out of the kennel Lizzie proved to be a beautifully attentive dog, keen to show what a great family pet she would be. The photos reflect her willingness to please, and they attracted the attention of a couple who were looking for a new friend, having recently lost one of their own dogs. 
Lucky girl Lizzie. She left today, after having been sterilised, and a wonderful life awaits. If only all our black dogs could be as fortunate! 

Cats Balls, Anyone?

Well, today got a bit weird, to say the least! I arrived at the refuge at 14H00 as normal and spent some time chatting to the employees and discussing which dogs could be mixed with which others to make some room (we are bursting at the seams). A couple of volunteers were out walking dogs in the sunshine, and then all of a sudden a rental car pulled up. “Cats’ balls!” I thought!
Several weeks ago the SPA , which currently homes 80 cats, was asked to take part in a DNA collection project for University California Davis. Having been involved in scientific research myself in a previous life, I was happy to agree, and today a geneticist arrived to take swabs from inside the mouths of our cats. She clearly knew what she was doing and between her and Mika there were just a couple of scratches. Amazing, as some of the cats were not exactly thrilled! She and I then went off to the SPA vet, who had kindly been collecting cats testicles for the past couple of weeks. We discussed the project for a bit, and said goodbye. Sadly (or maybe fortunately) my camera was left at the refuge, so I have no pictures of the day’s activities. The images will be in my head for some time to come, however. No Maltesers for me tonight, thanks!
On the dog front, I am not exactly thrilled to announce the arrival of yet more puppies. Thanks to the volunteer who took these photos for me. She was much more on the ball than me (geddit?)
There are three boys and a girl, all are black, some have longer hair than others and they have been named Papyrus, Lotus, Nenphar and Magnolia. See, that is what happens when I am not there to choose names!

King goes over the Rainbow Bridge

Animal lovers understand that the hardest thing of all is knowing when it is time to say goodbye. Today we said farewell to King, who during his 7 months at the refuge has become something of a mascot. After an unsuccessful attempt to have King fostered (which for legal reasons I won’t explain; we are in the middle of a judicial process for mistreatment), King came back to the refuge. He was very thin and was riddled with cancer. We decided that as long as he wasn’t suffering, he had the right to live. And boy did he live! Some people found it odd that we had a big elderly dog loose in the refuge, albeit one that only walked slowly. And other people wondered why he went to the vet every Tuesday, with his beloved Mika, one of the refuge employees. But we don’t care what people think. King was happy, he loved his days in the park playing with his girlfriends Zina and Eugenie. And everyone loved King. 
But over the past couple of weeks it became clear that King was going downhill rapidly. He spent yesterday in his basket in the sunshine, being fed treats and being given cuddles by all the volunteers. We wanted everyone to have a chance to say a proper goodbye to this lovely dignified old man, and it just happened to be open day. And it just happened to be sunny. And there just happened to be cakes! Someone was smiling down on us yesterday, for sure.
This morning Mika and I took King on his final trip to the vet, where he died peacefully in our arms. He is now over the Rainbow Bridge. Goodbye King, we will never forget you.

King yesterday and last summer with Estelle.

Open Day Sunday

I don’t want to make this post like an Oscar acceptance speech, but I really do have a lot of people to say thank you to for all their hard work today. The sun shone, the refuge was immaculate, thanks to two volunteers reinforcing the morning cleaning team, and I think almost every dog on the refuge was walked thanks to a huge turnout of volunteers.
The cake stall raised 40 euros, and we received a further 140 euros in donations. Thanks to everyone who came along to support us and who gave so generously of their time and hard-earned cash. It will be well-spent, I promise.
Thanks also to the people who came to visit and show off the dogs they had adopted from us. Lovely to see so many old friends, both canine and human. What a day!
So on the adoption front, little Maxime, the fox terrier left, and there were two reservations. That may not sound like much, but it is great news for the dogs! And several people have gone home to “reflect” rather than jump in, which is always wise if you are unsure. 
And perhaps the best news of the day is that little Doudou who was brought in yesterday has gone home to be fostered by gentle-hearted Di. She came to sell cakes, she left with a new family member. Such is the life of a SPA volunteer!
Thank you everyone. I am exhausted but happy.

Only just realised I missed out on the hot cross buns!

Comings and Goings……

The weather was awful today, so a huge thanks to the volunteers who showed up regardless. Walking and socialising the dogs is what makes them so much more home-able! And one lucky boy was homed today:
You may remember Hanover from an earlier post. A couple brought us this ex-hunt dog whom they had found in their village and the woman cried when she left him, saying that she knew we would put him to sleep in 10 days and that he was a good dog who deserved a long and happy life. I promised her that our refuge does not believe in euthanasia and that we would find lovely Hanover a new home. Two days later she phoned up to reserve him and today Hanover left for his new life. He was missing two small details, but I hope he won’t miss them too much!
Other than that a couple of dogs were reserved, news of which will arrive as they leave, and we had yet more dogs arrive, one of whom, little Doudou, is 15 years old. Her owner has died and she is homeless. If you have a tiny space in your home for a tiny dog, she is waiting for you. A foster arrangement will mean that her vets bills will be paid by the SPA, so if you are in or close to Carcassonne, please get in touch!
Oh, and don’t forget that the refuge is open the first Sunday of the month, so come and see us! There will be CAKE!

Hanover leaves

Doudou arrives

Another puppy and a new foster family

Today was not good in terms of numbers, with four dogs arriving, and two more effectively being abandoned, as their owners have decided not to come and collect them after all. One of them is an Australian Shepherd, so he will find a home very quickly, at least.
At about 17H00 the SPA secretary put out an urgent appeal to the volunteers for a foster family, as yet another puppy had arrived. There was no response and so I posted an appeal on my Facebook page. Ten minutes (literally) later, a new foster family had been recruited and were on their way to collect their new charge.
They have named her Lucy and here she is. The foster family will keep her safe until she has had her puppy vaccinations, after which she will be able to live in the refuge without the risk of falling ill. This is an enormous help to us and a life-saver for the puppy. If you are local to Carcassonne and would like to help us look after a puppy for a month or so, please get in touch. In the meantime, meet Lucy

Happy Ending means a Happy Beginning!

Here is a lovely story that will warm your hearts, I am sure.
At the end of February three puppies arrived, Dali, Gala and Snow. Dali and Gala were fostered together and homed soon after their vaccinations. But little Snow had to stay with his own foster family, because very sadly, he was blind. His foster mum has other dogs, and they were teaching Snow about the world. Snow seemed to be responding fine, but in time we started to wonder, was he adapting to his blindness, or was he in fact starting to see shapes and shadows? The SPA vet told us that perhaps Snow was just a late developer and that we should be patient. and sure enough, a few days ago it became official; Snow can see. His vision had just developed later than usual, but he has absolutely nothing wrong with him. I was going to make Snow the Urgent Appeal on my site (www.dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk), but he did not need an extra push in order to find a home.|I am happy to announce that today Snow was adopted and his new owner has already sent photos of Snow doing perfectly normal doggy things, like exploring in her garden! If his blindness was the reason that his owners abandoned him, then they have missed out on a fabulous dog. 
Be happy, Snow!