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Friday brings freedom for Flip

Some Fridays bring multiple adoptions (remember the glory days of “Five dog Fridays”, anyone?), some bring none, and others bring just one, but one which raises the spirits enormously.

Yesterday one of the volunteers remarked on how many large shepherd-type crosses there are at the SPA at present. This is undoubtedly true. I think it was mentioned in the blog on the day of Digs’s adoption, in fact. Yes, they are all different, and those volunteers who spend lots of time at the SPA do pretty well in differentiating between them all on site, as do the employees, naturally. And of course they each have very distinct characters.

Today it was Flip who stole the heart of his lucky new owners. Flip has been with us since early November 2015 and we were remarking just yesterday on what a great dog he has become since a somewhat nervous start.

Another dog to leave today was Alice, whose real name is Kaina. She had arrived on Tuesday and was a real beauty who I am sure would not have stayed long had she not been reclaimed. She is now identified, of course.

So a good Friday and hopefully tomorrow will bring yet more good news!

Dark coloured shepherd cross in profile










Alice (real name Kaina) – RECLAIMED (and now identified)

Charcoal coloured dog with black mask

Cuddles in the cool

It was very hot at the SPA today, and so although a few dogs were lucky enough to be walked, as soon as the cooling breeze died, we admitted defeat. However there is always something to be done, and the volunteers who were able to brave the heat found other ways to spend their time.

Although the dogs adore their walks, panting along on hot concrete in soaring temperatures is no fun. And perhaps what they really crave is just human contact. Sometimes it is just enjoyable to sit in their kennel with them, and many dogs love to lie next to you being patted and perhaps remembering happier days when this this sort of affection was the norm. And maybe dreaming of a day when it will be so again……..

Timid or nervous dogs are often far happier when they are in the safety of their own kennels where their trust in humans can gradually be built up without them having to brave the outside world.

Another hot weather option is to do some dog-washing and grooming. But often this is best left to the experts. Today was little Milou’s turn again, and Angelique did a fabulous job, turning this slightly unkempt lad into a vision of foxy beauty!

Some cooler weather is on the way, luckily (or sadly, depending on how you look at it), so if the hot weather is putting you off volunteering, don’t let it!

Gulliver enjoying some affection
big white fluffy dog smiling









As does new-ish arrival Penny.

small black dog with white chest











Milou enjoying a pamper.

beautifully groomed fox terrier

Two more adoptions!

Yesterday’s two griffon arrivals did indeed leave with their owner, and we have two more adoptions to report!

Neither dog had been with us for very long, and although there is a tendency for us to celebrate wildly when one of the long-term residents is adopted, in many ways it is great when dogs are adopted soon after their arrival.

Seeley arrived towards the end of May and so has spent just over two weeks with us. He is a young dog, just an estimated seven months or so when he arrived. Wonderful that he has found a home already.

The second adoption was that of Tom Pouce (Tom Thumb, obviously). This little lad has been with us for just short of three weeks, but many people are surprised that he spent so long with us. Small of stature, as his name implies, this three year old lad is calm and affectionate. Usually dogs like this are snapped up almost immediately. Perhaps with the large number of small dogs at the SPA at present, people are overwhelmed by the choice!

In such circumstances it is always worth talking to staff and volunteers who can help steer you towards a dog with the right temperament to suit your lifestyle!

Seeley – ADOPTED
golden coloured rough coated dog







Tom Pouce – ADOPTED

Small balck and white dog

Three adoptions to start the week

Tonight we have three adoptions to report! Two took place yesterday and one today.

First up is Tobias, who arrived at the SPA at the end of Summer last year having been found tied up to a lamppost behind the airport. He had been microchipped in Belgium, and despite the best efforts of our team of volunteer detectives, his owners could not be found.

I must confess that I never walked him. Like many of the volunteers, my contact with Tobias was limited to giving him pats and cuddles (and being loving slobbered on in return) as he made his way to and from the parks or on occasional walks (thanks Erwan!), usually towing  someone behind him. Yes, this boy was strong strong STRONG!

It was love at first sight when his new owner visited the SPA yesterday, though and so after almost 10 months behind bars, Tobias finally found a home.

And he was not the only lucky dog yesterday, either. Bonnie had not been with us for long, but it is always wonderful when a dog is adopted before spending too long at the SPA.

Today’s adoptee, Tonka, had a bit longer to wait, arriving as she did in mid-April. Her new mum arrived with only one dog in mind, and providing Tonka got on with her magnificent male boxer, all would be well. Sure enough they seemed fine together and so it was goodbye to Tonka. She is not quite eight months old, so it is wonderful that she found her new home.

There were three arrivals, including that of the beautiful girl below. The two other should be leaving with their owner, so no photos for now.

So three adoptions so far this week. Let’s hope there are more to come.

Fabulous Tobias – ADOPTED
Huge headed brown and white dog









Bonnie – ADOPTED

pale brown and white dog sitting down









Pale beige dog with small beard










And today’s beautiful new arrival 

Charcoal coloured dog with black mask



Fundraising in the Gardens

Every year at this time La Petite Pépinière in Caunes Minervois holds a Porte Ouverte, and we have had a stand there for the last 4 years.

Among the the stalls for beautiful glassware, garden tools, musical instruments, metal garden sculptures, and fabulous water colours, to name but a few, we try to raise awareness for the SPA and for what we do, as well as raising some money by selling secondhand books and accessories for dogs and cats.  Gill the proprietor offers garden tours around her beautiful garden where there is a wide variety of Mediterranean style plants as well as many others. This year the Association Audenat and the LPO were building habitats for reptiles and demonstrating ideal habitats for bees, birds, toads and weasels. But perhaps my favourite were the fabulous terracotta beehives and the stall selling all things honey related.


Terracotta beehive

Apart from being a lovely setting and a very nice place to spend a summers afternoon. I particularly like this venue because lots of ex SPA doggies come by to say hello and to show their support for us. We were very lucky this year to have Row Henson with us doing a book signing and donating all proceeds from the sale of the books to the SPA. Row lives part time in Caunes and the rest of the time in the USA. She wrote the book about her adventures with her rescue dog Mackenzie and the sale of all the books have benefited dog rescue associations both here and in the US. You can read about Row here travelswithmacandrow.com

Row books

Row signing her book “Travels with MacnRow”

A good time was had by all and despite the cloud burst on Saturday and the gusty wind trying to destroy our abri covering on Sunday.  Janice and I had a memorable weekend and we raised lots of money for the SPA. If you didn’t get to come along this time, save the date in your diaries for next year in the first weekend in June. We will be there again and hope to see you there.

Garden Weekend 1

Jane and Janice holding the fort

Klitchko adopted!

Today was day 2 at the Petite Pepiniere as well as open day at the SPA and at least the sun shone for both events!  At the SPA we had one adoption and two arrivals.

Lets start with the positive! Todays lucky boy was seven month old Klitchko who has only been with us since the end of April. He was such a cute boy we knew he wouldn’t have a long wait but like with all pups the new family will have to be prepared for lively puppy behaviour and of course housetraining!

In Friday’s blog I talked about teenagers, especially males who often find themselves in rescue. Well today we saw the sad return of Centaurus one of the Stars litter who was adopted last September. He was one of three pups, Andromeda and Gemini his litter mates were also adopted and we hope are doing well in their new homes!

As yet I don’t know why Centaurus is back but if you find yourself struggling with your dogs behaviour please just contact us. We don’t have a magic wand but we can talk you through most problems.

The other arrival was a female pup who we will have more information on soon.

Jane will tell us all about the weekends events in Caunes Minervois in a guest blog tomorrow but from what I hear it was a very successful event. Thank you to Jane and all of the helpers…I hope that by now they are home enjoying a glass of wine!

Klitchko adopted!


Centaurus adopted as a pup…


Todays arrival..






New arrivals…

This morning I added some new arrivals and what struck me right away was the fact that they were all young males. Why oh why do so many youngsters arrive in rescue? Is it mostly because people no longer have the time of patience to work through the adolescent years?

This is such a real shame. If you are consistent, patient and forgiving this stage soon passes and following on from yesterday’s post …when you take on a pup you take on a lifetime commitment!

So what do you do when your youngsters behaviour is getting you down? First of all take a deep breath and look at your daily management of your dog, Write it down.

Are you up and out with the dog so he can burn off some energy? If not, bored dogs soon learn to amuse themselves.  What about mental stimulation…young dogs need fun and games where they can use their brains. Is he taking off when you let him off leash, go back to basics with recall and use a long line whilst you practice. Is he barking like a loony as people pass the garden, supervise garden time, keep him close and distract him from passer byes.

Be kind and forgiving but firm with your dog during this phase, just as you would a teenager and you will soon have a super well behaved dog.

Today was day 1 at La Petite Pépinère in Caunes Minervois. Row Henson, author of Travels with Mac and Row was there with all proceeds from sales being donated to the SPA! Don’t forget that Roe and Jane will be there tomorrow so please feel free to pop along and say hello. We will hear from Jane how it all went once she has had a chance to take a breath. I am sure that she is exhausted in this heat…. many thanks to Jane and helpers who we will catch up with tomorrow.

Don’t forget that tomorrow is also our open day at the SPA. You can pop along anytime from 2-6pm, say hello and visit our dogs and cats!

Samuel..young and male


Sutech…young and male


Tom Puce..yep..young and male


Puppy considerations..

Today we posted photos of three more puppies available for adoption. Before adopting a puppy there are some prime considerations.

Do you really want a puppy?

Puppies are super adorable, but they are also little devils who pee, poo and chew. If you don’t have the time or energy to deal with housetraining or the natural hyperness of puppies, consider getting an adult dog. We have  lots of lovely adult dogs that are looking for loving homes. Getting a ‘grown-up puppy’ can allow you to skip some of the hardest baby stages, while still having an awesome, devoted dog.

Do you have time for a puppy?

Puppies need a lot of attention, and—if you want house training to work—they need to be taken out regularly. If you work in an office for eight or nine hours a day, consider what you are going to do with your pup when you’re gone. Will you be able to come home at lunch to take your dog for a short walk? If not, can you afford a dog walker or have a friend pop by? Its not practical to leave a pup home alone for ours on end.

Is your home puppy proofable?

If you like your home to be pristine and spotless, a pup is not for you. Especially in the first year, your puppy will try to chew on everything she can get her mouth on (including furniture, books, and electrical cords), and she’ll manage to go to the bathroom in in extremely inconvenient places. Be sure that that’s something you can handle.

Are you physically able for a pup?

Most dogs, especially when they’re young, need to be walked—a lot—for a number of reasons: Walking helps them burn energy and stay healthy, it gives them lots of time to train on the leash, and it gives them vital exposure to other people, other pets, weird smells and sights, and unexpected noises. They also need training. Are you willing and able to spend a lot of time walking/training a pup?

Is everyone in the family onboard?

If you have a hubby or significant other, you need to make sure that they are happy to have a puppy in your  home, and that they are willing to contribute to pet care—because, inevitably, they will be called upon to help out with your dog. House training (and dog training in general) requires really consistent routines and rules, and it will only work if everyone in your household is on board.

A pup is a lifetime commitment, not to be taken lightly…if you are ready then keep an eye on our facebook page, we always have very cute pups looking for forever homes!

Malice needs a home


Mascotte need one too..


As does Monoi..




A sunny day at last..


Today was very hot walking the dogs and at the moment we have far too many oldies at the SPA! The heat of summer is going to be particularly hard for them so it would be great to see them out of the refuge and into a home before then!

As with its human counterpart, advances have been made so our pets can live longer, healthier lives.  Are you noticing more services and products geared at the senior pet? Supplements, additives in pet foods, mobility products, age-specific diets, safety devices, and the list goes on.

At the SPA when we have so many cute puppies and youngsters available many of our older dogs are being ignored. This is heart breaking to see as there are so many advantages in having an older pet.

When you adopt an older dog there are much fewer surprises. You can see their temperament, what size they will grow to, how much exercise they will need so you can assess how they will fit into your lifestyle with much greater certainty! An older dog won’t need so much exercise but will still want to play and will happily settle down beside you whilst you watch tv or check your emails. Puppies also tend to chew and destroy things whereas older pets have already learnt what ‘NO’ means and tend to leave the furniture, carpet and shoes alone!  Whats more it only cost 80 euros to adopt a dog over 9 years old, even if they are sterilized!

All that our SPA oldies really want is a bed to call their own and your company. They certainly tend to settle in quickly, calmly and seem to know that outside is for toileting and inside is for relaxing and you can’t say that about most puppies! When you adopt one of our oldies you will certainly have a best friend for life who will repay you with unwavering devotion and you can’t ask for more than that! Almost without exception, people who adopt older animals feel a special sense of pride and purpose in opening their heart to a hard-to-place pet. Doing a good thing really does make you feel good so go on; give that older dog the best years of its life!







A date for your diary, DNA test results and an adoption..

For any of you looking for something to do this weekend DRC will have a stand at La Petite Pepiniere open weekend on 4th and 5th June in Caunes Minervois. Not only that but the author of the book Travels with Mac and Row, Row Henson will be there and all proceeds from sales will be donated to the SPA!

Our stand will be ‘manned’ by Jane and her friend who will be selling books and DRC bags along with a selection of doggy stuff.

Do pop in and say hello, have a look at our display board of doggies looking for homes and buy some goodies too!

This morning I had a message from volunteer Maisie who adopted Bambi from us about 10 months ago. We were sure that she was a little Labrador cross but Maisie was curious so ordered a DNA test. What a surprise, according to the results she is in fact a Rottweiler x Brittany/treeing walker coonhound mix!  Not that her breed matter at all to Maisie but knowing what breeds make up your dog can sometimes help with training and understanding behaviour.

Todays adoption is one that we are all really happy to see! At last puppy Printemps had found a family! Its very unusual for a pup to be with us so long..especially such a cute one! At last his life can begin and he can learn what family life is all about!

Printemps adopted at last!



At La Petite Pepiniere this weekend..


Bambi..Rottweiler x Brittany/treeing walker coonhound mix????