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Faros first walk..

When we had so many volunteers on the refuge yesterday it was the perfect opportunity to get Faro and Belle out for their first walk.

Faro created quite a bit of interest with his soulful eyes and gentle demeanor but we really need to find this boy a home, At eleven years old, the summer is going to be very difficult for him and all he wants is a bed to rest his weary bones and a nice enclosed garden to potter about in. Hes a blue de gascogne, probably an ex hunter, is very friendly with dogs and even cats and is slightly timid with humans. He is learning to trust again and all this will take is time and a little patience!

I have to admit Faro is looking scruffy, he certainly needs a good wash and brush up and as summer seems to have finally arrived we will soon get him spruced up!

There are lots of pluses to adopting an older dog. No puppy house-training, chewing or endless havoc. Older dogs like Faro are just happy to be with you and make fantastic loyal companions! Its ever so rewarding to watch them relax and explore their new house and I always feel that they are ever so grateful!

Today at the refuge we had one adoption and one arrival. Lord was adopted after just a short stay.This is great news for a black young dog! Oscar however isn’t so lucky. He was previously adopted from us but has come back as his owner is terminally ill. I hate when this happens and dogs that have really been loved find themselves at the refuge, never mind we will make sure his stay is as happy and as short as possible!

We have also had news from Germany. Robinson ( our houdini who escaped for 2 weeks from the SPA) has settled well into his new life. He lives near a forest and enjoys lots of long woodland walks. The perfect life for an active spaniel!

Faro (right) and Belle (left)


Lord adopted


Oscar is back..


Robinson..relaxed at last!


Adoption of Douce and Fripouille!

Today the refuge was hectic, the busiest that I have seen it in a long time!

First of all we had a special visitor . You can read Todd’s special story on our Life After The Refuge page but today he came along with his new family to say hello and bring some lovely goodies for the other dogs.  It was great to see how happy and relaxed this lovely boy is and we would like to say a massive thank you to his new family! As well as bringing goodies they walked some dogs and said hello to volunteers who were delighted to see Todd again.

We also had two adoptions. The first to leave was little Fripouille. This seven year old boy was adopted from us in 2014 but the family didnt have an enclosed garden. Fripouille was always escaping so it was decided that it was better to rehome him. Today he left to start his new life with a family with an enclosed garden.

Next to leave was Douce a lovely 8 year old female lab who stole Steve and Sues heart. Steve and Sue are well known to us at the SPA and have adopted two dogs from us. A couple of months ago they lost Trudy, a golden Labrador who they initially fostered. Douce will be a playmate for Rufus, also from us and we are sure of lots of updates as to how she is doing!

We did have one arrival….a very, very cute 10 week old pup who has gone into foster with Isa. As soon as we have photos you will see this cutie who I bet will be very popular.

Lots of dogs were walked, one was reserved and another almost reserved. The lady quite rightly wanted to think through her decision thoroughly before committing. We welcome this and dont mind how many times you come back before you make a final decision…adopting a dog has an enormous effect on your life so such a decision is not to be taken lightly!

Todd with his new family!


Fripoullie – adopted!







Holiday Care For Your Dog – The House- sitter!

Today the refuge was closed, so  following on from yesterdays blog about holiday care, tonight we will hear about Milena’s experience with  house-sitters…

“Personally I would always opt to use a house sitter whenever going away for an extended period of time. Kennels and the good will of a friend or kind neighbour are good for a ‘quick fix’ but anything longer than a week, house sitters are the way to go.

 I believe it is a win/win situation. My cats and dogs and my home are all looked after whilst I am away. There is no disruption to their routine which for a rescue animal is vitally important. And for the owner simply knowing that everything is OK at home means that you can have total peace of mind.

Although the concept of house sitting is brilliant, I must admit that I didn’t take to this idea immediately. I logged onto my chosen site* (Trusted Housesitters) and read both ads from people looking for house sitters and from house sitters looking for a placement. It took me several visits to the site to gain confidence and I eventually placed my first ad for a house sitter in February 2013 to come and look after our farmhouse, elderly blind dog and 5 cats for a month.

 Unfortunately, my very first experience was not good as just 4 days before our departure the house sitter pulled out. We did manage to salvage the situation but at great cost and not via Trusted Housesitters. It would be untrue to say that I wasn’t bitterly disappointed. However, the following year my husband encouraged me to try again to find a house sitter using Trusted Housesitters saying that we wouldn’t be recruiting the same housesitter and not everyone should be judged because of my one bad experience. Thankfully he was right and for the subsequent 3 years Trusted Housesitters has introduced me to some fabulous housesitters.

 Because there are so many experienced housesitters available I would suggest that anyone looking for a housesitter write their own ad. That way you attract those that are available for the period you are looking for plus they obviously have picked up something from your ad that appeals to them. You can also stipulate what exactly you are looking for and hence eliminate any mis-match of experience or availability or any other criteria.

 For anyone looking for a housesitter I would recommend you start your search as early as possible. Be honest about what you are looking for but also be reasonable. Be sure that you cover everything you wish them to do for your pets and around the home as once they are there it would be unfair to add to the list. Remember not everyone will do things the same way as you, but they will do it, just differently. It’s all a matter of trust. You have to trust your house sitter to carry out your wishes and the house sitter has to trust your belief in them. Spend time getting to know your housesitter. And make their housesit as enjoyable as possible. Show them around, introduce them to some of your friends, make them feel very welcome. If you want to have peace of mind whilst you are away the best way is to ensure your housesitter is having a good time.

 A happy house sitter = happy pets = happy owner = win/win situation!

 * There are several sites offering the services of house sitters. As I have only ever used Trusted Housesitters, my experiences are solely based on their services and I cannot comment on any of the others.”.

Thank you Milena…next time we will hear about Rebecca’s experience using doggy kennels…

Scruff and Karla  who loved the house- sitters!

Scruff & Karla

Holiday Care for your Dog – Be Prepared!

It wont be long until the summer holidays are upon us so to make sure that everyone is organised and informed we will cover  holiday care options with guest bloggers describing their experience of each option.

The main options available are house sitters, boarding kennels, family or friends or of course take your doggy with you.

Today we will hear what our behaviorist Vanessa Lee – Jones has to say:

“Get your pet ready for its holiday”

Your cats or dogs are no fools. They know when something is going on!. Here’s a few tips to keep your favourite pet from stressing too much near the holidays!

First of all, don’t leave your suitcase lying around the house days before your departure: best case scenario they’ll sleep in it, or worst they’ll destroy it! Whether your pet comes with you or not, the suitcase is a visual reminder something is about to change and that’s stressful.

If you call a pet sitter at home (friend or professional) try to insure they will respect in the maximum of their capabilities your dog or cat’s habits: feeding hours, walking times etc…and it’s highly recommended for your pet and it’s sitter to already be acquainted before their “roomy” experience begins!

If your four legged pal is going to stay at someone’s home (friend/family) or in professional kennels; it’s important to visit their future “holiday home” with them so they can see and smell it out, it will allow them to relate to the place as a safe and friendly environment. Do not forget to prepare their travel bag too: bed, favourite toys, even a t-shirt of your own for your sent, when you will drop them off on D day, they should be more relaxed and less frustrated.

One last thing : your animal picks up YOUR stress ! In theory you trust the person you leave your beloved cat or dog with so DON’T be worried and DON’T feel guilty…you are allowed a pet free vacation and they are allowed an owner free time out too !!

Thank you Vanessa. Tomorrow we will hear from Milena about her experience with house – sitters!


holiday dog




Two adoptions and three arrivals..

Todays weather did not stop adoptions and  both Boogie Woogie and Chronos were adopted!

Before we talk about the doggies, we have an update on the pussy cat who arrived yesterday with a collar injury. She will be fine and is now recovering after have her shoulder injury repaired, being sterilized and identified.

Boogie Woogie, now Prince arrived at the refuge about three weeks ago with his litter mates and we knew that such cute gorgeous pups wouldn’t have a long wait. On Monday we posted their profiles on facebook and were inundated with enquiries. Today he had a quick wash before his new owners arrived. It was Jeanne who reserved Prince on Tuesday and today he is off to his new home where he will be a play mate for five children and a lovely one year dog.

We want the best for our pups and we give each new owner advice sheets on preparing the house for their new puppy, house-training and crate training.

We also advise new puppy owners to socialise their pups and to enroll in dog training classes as soon as possible. With pups you want to make the most of the socialisation window so you will end up with a well-balanced happy pooch!

The dog training club in Azille is both English and French speaking and is run by our volunteer Shirley who will give you a couple of free lessons after which you will hopefully sign up for more!

Next to leave was Chronos, an 18 month old shepherd cross who arrived in December 2015. Chronos is a calm and super natured young dog and is going to be a super family dog. Like all young dogs he is going to need patience and training but this is a smart, keen dog….now his life can really begin!

On the arrivals side we had three, a lovely but deaf dalmation and two very cute puppies. Pictures will follow once they have been vet checked and are ready for adoption.

Puppy Prince ( ex Boogie Woogie) adopted!


Chronos also adopted..


Collar CATastrophe

Despite this blog’s being very much canine-centred, sometimes we simply HAVE to talk about feline-related issues.

Today a cat arrived at the SPA with a horrifically mutilated neck. This was due to a collar that had apparently been caught on something and caused extensive cuts and a great deal of bleeding. Of course once at the SPA this cat was rushed to the vet, but perhaps it is worth reminding people of the dangers of putting collars on outdoor cats. It is wonderful that you want to show that they have an owner, but is it really worth the risk? After all identification is far less hazardous, either in the form of a tattoo (visible) or a microchip (okay, not visible, but if your cat becomes lost, a chip will reunite you).

The collar issue also applies to dogs, of course. It is generally accepted that all dogs should wear a collar, but a proper fit is essential. Who remembers the state of Prosper (the current DRC Urgent Appeal) and Douce when they arrived at the SPA? They both had horrible injuries. In Prosper’s case this was due to use of a prong collar, and Douce’s collar appeared not to have been changed since she was a small puppy. Both are now fine, of course and we wish the same for today’s arrival.

No adoptions today at the SPA, but two reservations. One will remain a secret until tomorrow’s blog but the second is that of Lindy Hop. We tell you that just so you know that only one spaniel pup now remains, gorgeous little Bugle Boy.

It is the start of another long weekend, but please remember that although the SPA is closed on Monday, we are open tomorrow and we hope there are lots of adoptions to end what has been a mixed week.

Today’s horror

cat wearing collar covered in blood












Prosper arrived with a neck injury

dog with injured neck










As did Douce

Brown dog with injured neck

Summer leaves

The refuge was blessed with glorious sunshine today, and it seems perfect timing for puppy Été to leave for her new home. This little boy is the brother of Printemps (Spring), who is still waiting patiently. He is now living with the remaining two spaniel cross puppies, Bugle Boy and Lindy Hop, so they are all getting lots of exercise and socialisation.

Another dog, Weed, arrived and left again thanks to being identified. So all in all it was a pretty quiet day! Or so it would appear. Of course the volunteers were walking and Angélique was back grooming. Today it was the turn of little Ondine. Doesn’t she look fabulous?

Finally the SPA Facebook page received a lovely montage of one of yesterday’s lucky dogs. Just look at Digs! It is wonderful to see pictures like these!

triclooured puppy with foppy ears









Weed arrived and left again

black and white dog












Ondine had a makeover, thanks to Angélique

two pictures of dog, one scruffy, one clean











And Digs is looking so happy! Many thanks to his new family. 

montage of pictures of big dog

Three adoptions and news from afar

Much to our amazement, today has been a good one at the SPA. With constant rain we were imagining an afternoon with no visitors and just staff doing their best to make sure all the animals were as dry and comfortable as possible. Instead we have three adoptions to report! And this time none of them were puppies!

Little Chouquette was adopted from the SPA several years ago, but was brought back on Saturday. The reasons for her return are a bit bizarre, but in cases such as this perhaps it is just best for the dog to find a new home. Which today she did!

Justin left us too. He is the fabulous spaniel who was brought after (presumably) being hit by a car. He has been reserved for some time, but the need to keep him immobile meant that he was better off recuperating at the SPA. Today his new life began.

And finally we said goodbye to Digs. He was the dog who had been picked up “somewhere between Grenoble and Montpelier” then kept for a few weeks before being brought to the SPA. There are several dogs that look like Digs at the SPA, and we always worry that they will merge into one in the eyes of visitors. Of course they all have their own distinguishing features and characters and today it was Digs’s turn.

Another dog was reclaimed and to complete our joy we received some wonderful photos of Firmin, who is already adored by his new family in Germany.

A good day!

Chouquette – ADOPTED!
white fluffy dog











Justin – ADOPTED!

spaniel wearing plastic collar to stop him chewing









brown and black dog looking through bars of cage











And Firmin is very happy in his new home

beige dog in flowerbed


Adoption of Jitterbug!

Not saying that we are always right, but this time we were! The day following their pictures being posted, and already one of the spaniel cross pups has been adopted and another is reserved. So if you are interested, please get your skates on.

Jeanne was first to get in touch yesterday, just a few minutes after the photos were published and she was hot off the blocks from the other side of Narbonne today. She certainly didn’t want to miss out on the pup who had caught her eye. Yes, the pups really are as cute in real life as they are in the photos, and thus was Boogie Woogie reserved. We don’t always tell you who is reserved, but due to the popularity of the pups we are making an exception.

The first of the litter to actually leave was Jitterbug who is going to be the family’s first pup. Instead of having her three siblings to play with, Jitterbug will now have three cats for company! The family are friends of Moira’s so not only will we get lots of news, but they will also have plenty of advice should they need it.

So the brown and white male pup is reserved and the black and white female has been adopted. So you still have a choice of both sex and colour! But don’t take too long! And don’t forget that we have little Printemps still waiting, if you prefer the classic all black!

Let’s get those pups out of there and into loving homes!

Oh, and we mustn’t forget to wish happy third “gotcha day” to Benson, who is now living in the UK but whose mum and dad keep in touch and still continue to support us from afar, as do so many of you.

Jitterbug gets a cuddle from her new mum – ADOPTED
Black and white pup












Today marks three years of happiness for Benson

fluffy white dog







New puppies!

There was quite a bit of excitement when we posted pictures of the four recent puppy arrivals this morning. And why not? Ten weeks old, two males, 2 females; the Fabulous Forties litter are just stunning.

We are not always right, but this time we are confident in saying that these pups should go very quickly! However, as always, please make sure that you want an adult dog before you adopt a puppy. Because puppies become adult dogs, you know. What is more, if you want a well-educated, well-socialised adult, it is up to YOU to make sure your puppy is brought up properly.

Someone who seems to have done this very well is the family of Gavroche, who was adopted 5 years ago today. On the left he is seen when he left us aged four months (and 20kgs) and on the right today, five years and 25kgs later! If only all our puppies could be this lucky.

One dog whose life has changed enormously in a very short space of time is Romeo, who has been in his new home for just a week. He is making great progress and his new mum says “The best part of the day is when he races downstairs in the morning with Juilette and out into the garden where he does a canter with his tail held high”. And yes, Romeo’s doggy friend really IS called Juliette. Talk about Fate!

There were three arrivals at the SPA today, and sadly no adoptions. Let’s hope for better weather and more adoptions as the week progresses.

Lovely Lindy Hop
pale beige and white puppy









Beautiful Bugle Boy

black and white puppy











Gavroche then and now!

small dog on left, same dog on right but HUGE









And Romeo and Juliette 

Pale beige dog with friend