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The story of Hulk and Red

A different blog tonight, telling the story of two dogs who were brought to the SPA Carcassonne in dire need of help, and whose lives have been completely turned around since.

In February this year the SPA Carcassonne fulfilled its primary purpose when it became a true place of refuge to Hulk, a 2 year old American bulldog and Red, a 3 year old doberman. The dogs had been given away on the internet by their owner, who honestly believed that his dogs were in good hands. As the article shows, this was far from being the case, and shows the risk many people take when rehoming animals to strangers. I do not want to delve to far into this, as there are ongoing legal issues, however anyone attempting to home their dogs like this should take note.

tow dogs cowering in doorway

Hulk and Red as they were found in February

Furthermore, due to legal and other issues, neither dog was allowed to be officially rehomed. But we were informed that it was possible to let them leave for foster homes, should these be available.

Of the two dogs, Hulk was in the worst condition. We do not know why. He was already incontinent (the SPA has been in touch with the dogs’ former owner, who has told us all about them), but six months of mistreatment had left him hardly able to walk and he was covered in sores, as well as being seriously underweight. He received a massive amount of attention at the ScPA, and there were many people interested in offering him a home. However finding a forever home for a dog who will have ongoing medical issues (for incontinence in this case) is not easy. It is one thing wanting to save a dog who is in the public eye, quite another to make a promise for life.

Luckily Pauline, who is well known to the ScPA came forward to offer this boy a home. We all know that Hulk will be very safe in her care. A lover of all dogs, but particularly of larger breeds, Pauline is a very conscientious as well as loving owner. So in April, Hulk left for a foster home that would become permanent as soon as the all clear was given.

Huge thanks to Pauline who is responsible for turning Hulk into the maginifent dog he is today.


This left Red. As I said, he was in better condition than Hulk. He was underweight and had lack of muscilature on his hind legs, but was well enough to go into an outside kennel like any other dog. Not for him the interest online nor the offers of homes, although like Hulk he must have been traumatised by his horrendous ordeal.

Enter Nicki, a friend of longstanding and a great lover of the Doberman breed. Would she be able to help? A Facebook appeal for Red was all it took. Charlotte, a friend of Nicki’s, got in touch to see if we would consider application to be Red’s new mum. Charlotte came with excellent references, as well as loving the doberman breed, she runs a galgo rehabilitation centre in southern Spain and we have several mutual friends, all of whom were more than willing to vouch for her. So Red, too, had found his forever home.

This is Charlotte giving therapy to a galgo

This was back in April, and we had been told that Red was not allowed to leave France. But in the state he was in, it was inconceivable to leave him at the SCPA. Just like Hulk, this boy needed love as well as far more regular exercise than was possible in a refuge with over a hundred other dogs. So next we had to find a foster for him in France, and with someone who could keep him for an indefinite period. Easier said than done, eh?

Except it turned out to be very easy! Enter Janet; dog lover extraordinaire, and best friend of June, who adopted three-legged ScPA podenco Daisy a couple of years ago. Are you starting to see how this networking thing works? Janet drove down to collect Red in early May, and since this time she has given him more love than many dogs experience during their entire lives.

Janet collecting Red from the ScPA in May

Charlotte has understandably been keen to get her hands on Red at last, and as soon as the all clear was given a couple of weeks ago, his trip to his new home was arranged, thanks to June and her friend Sonja of Precious Paws. I can only imagine how attached to him Janet has become during these 4 months. I am sure more than a few tears were shed as she said goodbye to Red last night. Especially as, to add insult to injury, she had to drive for several hours in the middle of the night to put him safely on board the transport. And then drive home to get her girls to school on time, as today is the dreaded Rentrée! And she has to work tonight too. Just as well thay she is superwoman in her spare time!

As I write, Red is in the final few hours of his journey to Andalucia where Charlotte is waiting. It has been a long wait for her, but thanks to Facebook we have all been in constant touch. Janet has  sent news and photos on a regular basis, and June has been to visit (and to pass on some much appreciated funds). We have all seen Red gain in strength and confidence, and seen him blossom into the magnificent dog he must have been before his mistreatment.

June pays a visit to Red

Of course we will show you photos of Red in his new life. But for now I want to thank everyone who helped Red get to his new home. First off to Nicki for all the help she has given, including the fundraising she did with Jackie Amor and Doberman sans Frontiers.. To June for all her contacts, as well as her help and advice, to Janet for being the best foster mum a dog could ever have, and to Charlotte for offering Red a new home.

Red in the safe hands of Dave – he is on his way!

It has been quite an adventure, and perhaps a longer one than anyone expected when we started, but both Hulk and Red have found wonderful homes. We hope that no one ever has the pain of finding out that the person to whom they entrusted their dogs has abused them in this way. But for Hulk and Red, the nightmare is well and truly over.

Two adoptions on a (now) normal Sunday

As of now, Sunday open days will no longer be anything special. From now on Sunday is just like any other day at the ScPA. The refuge is open from 14H00-18H00 just as on other days. The logic is that more people have free time for fun things at the weekend and what can be more fun than adopting a dog or cat!

And today we said goodbye to two puppies. One of them, Guenièvre, was already reserved, and her family chose today to collect her. She was the last of the litter of border collies who were so kindly (ah-hem) left at the refuge gates in early July. All her brothers and sisters have left, but Guenièvre has not been alone, as there have been plenty of other puppies for her to play with while she has been waiting for her forever home.

border pup

Guenièvre – ADOPTED

One of her playmates also left today; puppy Coca. He arrived alone a week or so after the border collie litter, and we know a bit more about him, as someone who adopted one of his sisters contacted us to let us know that this little lad is a border collie / griffon nivernais cross. He is very lively and loads of fun, but we were starting to wonder if his turn would ever come. As more and more puppies arrived, Coca looked like he would grow up at the refuge.

However today a family came along and offered him what appears to be the perfect home. They live in the countryside and will have lots of time to devote to this young, active lad. Everyone is over the moon for him, as they are for Guenièvre.


Plenty of people came along to see the refuge, and it is hoped that some of them will adopt or join our ever growing team of volunteers. Let’s hope this is the start of a wonderful thing.

Four fantastic adoptions!

It always great when we have multiple adoptions to report and today we have 4! Bouba, Funk, Milou and Marcelou have all  been adopted!

I am so delighted that little Bouba has found a home. He arrived with his mum in January and was sad when his mum was adopted. We of course found him some new friends, but I am glad that today he found his forever family!

Bouba adopted!

Milou 2 as we called him as we already had a fox terrier called Milou left next. He arrived  at the beginning of August in a sorry looking state, He had an allergy to flea bites but once this was treated soon regained his handsome looks, A lab/dalmation is a lovely cross and we wish him all the best with his new family.

The next to leave was Breton spaniel cross Marcelou. He was a very loving , happy boy who really needed an active family. Yesterday his perfect family came along and off he went.

Puppy Funk was also adopted, We have had lots of pups leave recently and we hope that each family is prepared for the chaos pups bring, They also bring lots of fun and nonsense but we do hope all of our puppy families realise how much an impact a lively pup has on their life

Puppy Funk adopted!

Dont forget that this Sunday afternoon we are open so do feel free to pop along, say hello , walk some dogs or cuddle some kittens!

Terrific Tuesday

After a poor day yesterday, today was a bit better, with three of yesterday’s five (yes, 5) arrivals leaving, and four adoptions.

First off we said goodbye to another of the little pups. Frida left for a new home and although she leaves her siblings behind, she will soon have forgotten all about them, as her new life is finally beginning. We still have pups at the ScPA, and although we were delighted for today’s adult leavers, it is always sad to see puppies growing up without homes.


Next we said goobye to Twig.  This lovely young braque cross was found by some British visitors to the area on the day before they returned to the UK. They adored him and have kept in regular touch with a view to adopting him if this became possible, but as this was not possible for the moment they were delighted when we informed them yesterday that he had been reserved after 5 weeks or so at the refuge. Twig’s new family are happy be in touch with the English family and have already sent some pictures so they can see the dog they found as a stray playing happily with the family’s other dog.


Third to leave was old boy Chechpouch (no, we don’t know what that name means, either, nor how to pronounce it, but the dog responds instantly!) This is not the first time he has been at the refuge. The last time he spent a month with us, with no news from his owner before he was reclaimed. Perhaps his owner will show up in a few weeks time, but as far as we are concerned, once the pound time is over, Chechpouch, who is eleven years old, has as much right as any other dog to find a new home.

mini border collie

Chechpouch – ADOPTED

Finally today we said goodbye to Boris, a lovely young dog who arrived way back in February as one of several dogs  found in a deserted warehouse. The girls were all rehomed quickly but Boris is the first of the males to leave. He has a lovely new family with two young and very dog-savvy children, and we are sure that at last he is going to have the home he deserves. The family took their time choosing, walking three dogs to see how they were on the lead and how well they responded to the family. The staff and volunteers were on tenterhooks to see who would be the lucky dog, and Boris was the one they picked. There followed much kissing and petting (the humans) and tail wagging (Boris) and it was off to a new life for him.


So it was a bumper day at the refuge, and we hope for many more like this now that things are starting to pick up after a quiet summer.

More Dog Show News on International Day of the Dog

Today was Sunday so the refuge was shut.

That is the last time I will ever type those words, all being well. Next Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, so we would be open anyway. However as of then, the SCPA will be open every Sunday! This idea has been percolating for some time. Weekends are clearly the time when most people are free, and it is hoped that the new routine will encourage more people to adopt. Naturally we will be open for dog walking and cat cuddling, just as on any other afternoon!

Of course there probably won’t be adoptions every Sunday, so the end of the week blog may or may not take place.

Tonight what we have for you is more news of the upcoming Dog Show.

Registration is now open, and thanks to those of you who have already notified us that you intend to be there. It will help enormously for the catering team, as well as other logistics.

Rosettes and winners’ certificates are being created and we have managed to secure the services of not one but two judges, both of whom are qualified dog trainers and really know their stuff.

Jessica from Le Refuge des Grandes Oreilles has kindly offered to help out with the announcements, and so you will have a chance to chat to her and learn about the wonderful work she and her team do with their donkey sanctuary (hence the big ears!).

All in all the day looks like it is coming together nicely. Please share with your friends and let’s make sure it is a huge success. Although all the publicity is in English, everyone is welcome. The dog show events will be bi-lingual and many of the people manning the stalls speak French. So wherever you are from you will be made welcome; all we ask is that you love dogs! That isn’t hard, is it?

Finally, on this International Day of the Dog, if you are lucky enough to have a dog (or several) in your life, please give them an extra hug and tell them how much you love them. Having a dog is an honour and a joy and we should love them as much as we can, which is still never as much as they deserve.

Three more pups leave, and Annick sets off for the UK.

Yours truly was up well before the larks this morning, as we had a dog leaving for a new life in the UK. At 3 am a DEFRA registered transporter arrived at the refuge to take Annick to her new home. It is quite a long journey for her, but it will be well worth it. Her new home sounds perfect, and moreover Annick will have a pal to play with too. DRC has friends in common with Annick’s new owner, and we know that she will be very happy. Naturally we will pass on news and photos of this pretty young girl as once she has her paws under the table in her new home.

cocker spaniel cross

Annick – ADOPTED

We had more good news during opening hours too, with three puppies leaving for new homes.

First off was Ganache, the last female of the long-eared litter. She, like the rest of these pups, is an absolute treasure, and we are sure that it won’t be long before her brother, little Macaron is off, too. But don’t worry about him; although he is the last of the litter to leave, he is happily playing with  other puppies who are also waiting to be chosen.

Ganache – ADOPTED

Two more did leave, though, both from the same litter. Neither had names when they left, as up till now they did not have albums. However the “pupparazzi” was at the refuge today, and so there will be more photos of the remaining pups on line soon.

This little pup was adopted today

As was his brother

We wish happy new lives to all of today’s leavers, and are happy to see that the adoptions are picking up a bit now that the holiday season is coming to an end. And of course it is wonderful to see so many volunteers, old and new, walking the dogs and making their lives a bit happier before they find their forever homes.

Three littlies leave

First tonight we need to tell you about an adoption that took place yesterday, that of little Gnocchi. This cheeky chap arrived ten days ago, and went straight from the pound to his new home. And despite the fact that he arrived unidentified, we do know something of his history, thanks to the man who has now adopted him. Gnocchi belonged to people in the village where the ScPA is situated, but was left to roam all day. His owners knew he was at the refuge, but didn’t want to reclaim him, so their postman, who has seen and played with the dog for the last year or so, decided to adopt him as a pal for his ex-ScPA dog Monkey (ex- Soprano, for those of you who remember him).

The two dogs met yesterday and got along fine, and wriggly little Gnocchi went off to a new home. So it looks like being nice to postman might be good advice for dogs after all!

Gnocchi (on the right, with new pal Monkey) – ADOPTED

And we had an adoption today, too. Dolly, a ten year old bichon left for her new home after being brought to the refuge by our cruelty insepctors. Dolly had not been mistreated per se,  but had been badly neglected and was a matted mess when she arrived. She is looking much better already and we wish her lots of love in her new home.



Today another little dog was reclaimed thanks to Facebook, where his owners had seen his photo. Igor was identified when he arrived, but for some reason the phone number was notified as being no longer valid, whereas infact it is still very much a working number. Luckily the owners and dog were reunited, and it is proof that it is worth checking the internet or local refuge for your lost dog, even if he is chipped and your details are up to date. Technolgy is never perfect.

yorkie cross


So another largely positive day at the refuge, although it goes without saying that there are still far too many dogs and cats looking for homes.

Two lovely girls leave

Reently it has all been about puppies, but today two of our lovely adult females left for new homes.

First to leave was Sissi. This little griffon cross had been found and brought to the refuge just over four weeks ago, and remembering how she was on that first day, it is incredible that she was ready to leave so quickly. She went from being absolutely terrified and very skittish on the lead to being a sweet, affectionate and calm girl just in the space of a week or so. This perhaps says more about where she was before than anything else, and shows yet again that the ScPA is often the best thing that can happen to a dog.

Sissi left today for a lovely new home with an active couple who will shower her with love.


The second adoption was that of probably my favourite dog at the ScPA. Admittedly I have lots of favourites, but Mattie was just a little bit special. Left in a garden along with about 8 other dogs when her owner moved house, Mattie is blind in one eye, has had numerous litters (we suspect many of the eight dogs are her offspring), but completely trusting in humans.

Sally is a great friend of the refuge, and when her friend Angela decided to adopt another dog, Sally got in touch with us to see if we could help out. Mattie was one of two dogs who caught Angela’s eye, so initially she was torn, but Mattie just had that extra something, as well as being a bit older and calmer.

I am sure we will have regular news from Angela, but I just might have to go and visit Mattie for myself just for a cuddle.

Mattie – ADOPTED and busy winning over her new mum!

So the week is going quite well so far! Long may it continue.

Revision…Adoption of Oreo and TWO Puppies

Three adoptions started the week of very positively!

The first to leave was Chantilly, who is one of a litter of long-eared dogs who arrived in early July. They have done quite a bit of growing up and the refuge, and everyone has come to adore them. They are all really gentle and we are pleased that we are not the only ones to fall under their charm!

small pup with big ears

Chantilly – ADOPTED

Next to leave was one of the little shepherd crosses, whose sibling Orphée left on Friday. Today’s little boy was already reserved at that point, so although technically he was the second to leave, he was first to be chosen. His family was not able to take him home until today due to other commitments, but he was as thrilled to leave as they were to finally have the puppy of their dreams.


Third to leave was Oreo, our beautiful dalmatian. To be honest I think everyone expected this handsome young boy to leave sooner than this. He has been with us for almost two months, which is a long time for a dog this beautiful and of a discernable breed! However dalmatian lovers will know that these dogs can be quite nervy, and Oreo has not had an easy life before coming to the SCPA, perhaps making him a bit trickier than other dogs to home.

Today a family who had seen him on line, and who are colleagues of one of our volunteers, came along to meet Oreo to see how he got on with their dog. All went well with the dogs, and they are a loving and patient family who will allow Oreo the time to evolve at his own pace. So this lovely boy has left for his new home. Everyone is really happy for him and we look forward to news and photos, as we do of all animals who leave the ScPA’s care.



Let’s hope for many more adoptions as the week progresses.

Puppy Day

Well for three puppies, Saturday brought the news they were waiting for….a new home!

First to leave was Bounty. This lovely setter puppy arrived at the end of July and although several people offered him a home, it wasn’t until today that he found what appears to be the right family. Puppies take a lot of looking after, and an active lad like this will need a lot of attention, as well as plenty of cuddles. He will have both in his new home, and seeing him leave was a great start to the afternoon.

setter pup

Bounty – ADOPTED

Next to leave was one of the border puppies. This breed needs lots of exercise as well as mental stimulation, so it is extremely important to select a family who is prepared for this type of lifestyle. Today’s home looks wonderful and the little boy left, leaving just one female border to find a home. But don’t worry, she is not alone, she was happily playing with the pups from another litter, one of whom also found a new home today.

Male border pup – ADOPTED

Sandra and her family have recently moved to the area from Germany, and her 10-year old daughter was promised that she could chose a dog as playmate for the family’s nine year old border collie cross. I think they were expecting to fall for one of the border puppies, but sometimes the heart decides otherwise.

A play in the park with the puppies was all it took, and the decision was made. Who could resist such a gentle little puppy? Yes, the breed caracteristics are very different from those of a border collie, but with a huge garden of three hectares and a mum who works from home, the newly named Keks could not be happier.

puppy with family


We wish long and happy lives to all three of today’s puppies and hope that the pups still at the refuge do not have too long to wait.