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Keeping your dog safe in the car…

There has been lots of talk about how dogs should travel in cars on the facebook forums lately and the law does say that dogs should be attached. So lets have a look at how dogs travel and what common sense rules we can apply to keep them nice and safe.

Driving down the road on any given day, it is not uncommon to see dogs hanging their heads out of car windows, bouncing around freely in cars, and sometimes even on drivers’ laps. It doesn’t take much common sense to know that these are not safe situations, but many of us still allow our dogs to ride in the car unrestrained. Why? Many people feel their dogs become stressed out if restrained. Others feel that their dogs enjoy the car ride because they can do things like hanging their heads out the window. Regardless of how happy these things make the dog, they are undeniably dangerous. Here’s why:

  • A loose dog can easily distract the driver.
  • An unrestrained dog can block or move the steering wheel, gear shift and gas/brake pedals.
  • A loose dog can be injured or killed by an airbag.
  • When hanging its head out of a car window, debris from the road can injure a dog’s eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • In the case of an accident or even stopping short, your dog can become a dangerous projectile. This not only poses a risk to your dog; it is a risk to you, other people in the car, other drivers, and even pedestrians.
  • In the case of an accident, a loose dog can become a threat to emergency workers trying to rescue you from a damaged car. Or, your dog could escape and become lost.

Do your dog, yourself and everyone else a favor and restrain him. In addition, do not allow your dog to travel in the front seat, even if restrained. Keeping your dog restrained and in the back will decrease the likelihood of a distraction-related accident and keep your dog safer in a crash.. Here are the main types of car restraint options for dogs:


A cage is one of the safer ways for your dog to travel, provided the crate is very sturdy and secured in place. If you have an SUV or similar vehicle, you may wish place the crate in the cargo area of the vehicle. Just be sure to find out if this is the crumple in your car. If so, the cargo area may be the worst place for your dog! A small or medium crate will typically fit in the back seat of most vehicles. Look for straps or harnesses that will keep the crate secured, or find a crate made to have a seat belt strapped to it. Otherwise, you can end up with a deadly projectile in the case of an accident.

Car Harness

A car harness or seat belt is another one of the safer ways to restrain your dog in the car. Car harnesses fit just like regular harnesses but are made to withstand the impact of a car accident. Look for a harness that fits your dog well and attached securely to your car’s seat belts.  Thoroughly research the brand of the harness before you buy it to find out what studies the manufacturer has done.

Car Seat

Dog car seats and booster seats are similar to car harnesses but designed for small dogs. The concept is to boost the dog up to a higher level where he can see, but to still keep him safe. Be very selective when choosing a dog car seat. Some are merely modified dog beds that provide little safety. Look for a seat that attaches securely to your car’s seat belts AND has a harness that attaches securely to the dog. Some have leash clasps meant to attach to your dog’s own harness. Never hook this up to your dos collar, as your dog can be strangled in a crash.

Car Barrier

Car barriers are designed to block off a section of the car. Some are placed behind the front seats to keep a dog in the back seats. Others are placed behind the back seats in SUVs to keep a dog in the boot area. However, the barrier can easy come apart in the impact of a crash. Even if the barrier stays intact, the dog will still be thrown against it and around that area of the car. Basically, a barrier is better than nothing, but not as good as a harness or crate.

So cage, harness, seat or barrier are all options to consider. Obviously, it is most dangerous to travel with no restraint at all. Your best bet is to find the right restraint for your dog and increase his odds of survival in a car crash.

Not the safest way to travel!



A Dog Show with a Difference!

For those of you who haven’t been on this site’s Events Page, here is a date for your diaries.

On June 4th La Petite Pépinière in Caunes Minervois is hosting a fundraising day to benefit refugees, and Dog Rescue Carcassonne (and hence the SPA) is invited along! We (well, Jane and her team) are organising a dog show, in which you and your dog can take part. There are a number of different categories from Longest Ears to Waggiest Tail and just about everything inbetween.

There will be prizes and rosettes and the Mayor of Caunes Minervois will be the judge.

The dog fun starts at 14H30, but the event lasts all day, with lots of other non dog-related activities. There is food available on site too, so you really can make a day of it. Yes, of course dogs are welcome throughout. You can pre-register for any event by contacting Jane at  jane@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk (in either English or French) but you can also enter on the day, if you prefer. We hope to see lots of our ex- SPA dogs there. We all know that rescue dogs are the best, so now is our chance to prove it. Naturally more up-market pooches will be just as welcome. I wonder if we will be able to tell who’s who!

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that July 4th is also the first Sunday of the month. This means that the SPA is open in the afternoon, and if you are currently dogless or have room in your home for another pooch, you could always pop in and see the dogs who are waiting patiently. Who knows perhaps one of them will win a rosette at a future dog show!












Here is more about the event.


Adoption of puppy Nell

Just one adoption today, that of puppy Nell. He was spotted online by Wendy and her husband and although they had a three hour journey to meet and adopt him, they are sure that it was worth while. Nell is a great looking puppy, who arrived with brother Nappo ten days ago. Apparently their dad was a labrador and their mum a shepherd, and it looks like these two pups will be stunning adults.
We hope that Nappo will not have long at the SPA before finding his new home too, and in the meantime we thank Wendy and her husband for offering a fabulous life to Nell.

We had a new arrival and we want to tell you about her as soon as possible, because she could just be the dream dog you are looking for.

Tia was born in 2010, so she is a calm dog, of medium size and with impeccable credentials. Okay with other dogs, cats and children, and even with chickens, providing they stand their ground! She is only at the SPA due to her owner’s illness, and seems perfect in every way (unless you are a nervous chicken). So definitely one to watch!

puppy in arms of family









Brother Nappo still waits

beige puppy










Tia looking for a new home

spaniel cross

Adoption of Nikki

Great news today with the adoption of Nikki. This little girl arrived at the SPA exactly ten days ago, and I think we were worried that she would have a long wait. Not for any particular reason other than that there are other pups at the SPA, and Nikki has just reached the stage where she is nibbling a bit. This can be off-putting for potential owners, especially families with young children.

Nikki’s new family does have children, but they are old enough to withstand tiny teeth. And the parents are well aware of Nikki’s foibles and the need to watch carefully. Besides which, Nikki made no secret of the fact that they were the right family for her. She laid down on her back for a belly rub, and stared lovingly into her new Dad’s eyes. What a little charmer!

We wish her lots of love and happiness in her new home, and look forward to news and photos.

For all those of you who have been kind enough to ask, Caillou is settling in superbly. Not a single cross word with the other dogs, really respectful to them and especially to our old fragile beagle. He was housetrained from day one and is already off the lead, happy to meet everyone he meets on our walks, both canine and human. Incredible to think of him as the terrified and seemingly aggressive dog who arrived at the SPA last summer.

Caillou was by no means our first rescue dog (in fact neither of us has ever had anything else), but he has certainly been the easiest. Don’t go by first impressions and please give every dog the chance that he or she deserves. And above all, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!


pale beige puppy









Caillou relaxing in the sun.

black and white dog relaxing in sun

Adoption of Rose and Caillou

Yesterday saw the adoption of beautiful Rose. Well, some of us call her Rose, but her given name is Stinka. Not so sure about that one, in English, at least. This fabulous black shepherd arrived at the SPA last month, and as this was not her first visit to us, we had details of her owner (and her name). However this time he did not come to collect her, and many of us were pleased. Okay, it is not nice for any dog to spend time at the SPA, and Rose was not mistreated before arriving. However her owner’s lifestyle meant that she was probably destined to have lots of puppies, so her staying at the SPA long enough to sterilise (ie 10 days), was ideal.

It took a bit longer than that to find a home, but not too long in the overall scheme of things, and she has gone to live with a wonderful family whom we know thanks to their adoption of beauceron cross Silver several years ago.

And there was another adoption today. I (Darcey) finally cracked and adopted Caillou. He arrived in early July last year in a terrified state after being tied up and repeatedly beaten. When he finally emerged from his kennel he appeared to be very agressive with both people and other dogs, and so it was decided that taking him to dog school was the best solution.

We are lucky enough to have a partnership with the Club Canin Carcassonne, who permit us to take dogs for free training and socialisation, which is incredibly generous. Caillou is not the only dog to have benefited from this scheme, and we hope that other dogs will do so in future.

In any case, Caillou made quick and dramatic progress, and the bond between him and me became very strong. Jean-Pierre the trainer, kept telling me that I would end up adopting Caillou, but with three dogs at home, I insisted that this was not possible. However as the French say “C’etait plus fort que moi”. Tonight Caillou is in his forever home and I am over the moon!

Rose (aka Stinka) – ADOPTED

Black dog with white paws










Caillou – ADOPTED

black dog with pointy ears

Sunday Adoption of Levis

Yesterday we had a visit from a couple who live in Paris and who had come all the way to meet some of our dogs, and hopefully leave with one. Facebook is a wonderful tool for many things, and it was thanks to this medium that Kate and her husband found out about the SPA. They were attracted to a couple of dogs, and decided that coming to meet them was the best way to make a final choice.

We are delighted that they have chosen Levis, a young dog who arrived at the end of March, when he was no longer a pup, and who risked doing a lot of growing up at the SPA. Although we didn’t put two and two together at the time, he and Bruce were brothers. As you know, Bruce was adopted a couple of weeks ago and is now living happily in an apartment close to Carcassonne. Levis is also going to live in an appartment, but for him it will be in Paris.

You might ask if it is possible to have a dog of this size in an appartment. Of course you need to take them out regularly and make sure they get plenty of exercise, and that depends on your working routine and level of personal activity. In the case of Levis, he will have someone at home all the time, and we are promised lots of news and photos.

Long and happy life, Levis!

Levis (renamed Rumi) – ADOPTED
black dogw wiht young couple

Yesterday’s Adoption of Tex

Yesterday we spoke briefly about the adoption of Tex, and today as promised, we will tell you more.

In the usual course of events, Tex would have been adopted immediately, as he is one of the smallest dogs we have ever had at the SPA. However despite being relatively young, Tex is almost completely blind. Initially he had to live inside, as in the outside boxes he kept walking into the sides of his kennel and bashing his head against the bars when he came to see people. However he soon got used to the park, where many of you will have seen him playing with the other dogs and puppies, and this is where he would spend his days.

Finding him a home meant finding a special person; one who would be able to cope with his blindness. And much to our (and Tex’s) delight, this is what he now has. Brigitte contacted the SPA at the beginning of May to let us know that she and her family had recently lost both her beloved (ex SPA) dogs, and  had a hole in their lives. Then yesterday a message…Brigitte was on her way to adopt Tex! Just like that! And Brigitte knows well the problems that blind dogs can face, as her boy Voyou was blind due to diabetes, so nothing will phase her. She also has a SPA rabbbit, Jumpy, and they are getting along fine together. I am not sure, but I think Jumpy might even weigh more than Tex….

This is such good news and makes us aware again that there are some wonderful people in the world. It would be nice to think that for every person who discards a sick animal, there is someone like Brigitte there to open their heart. This is not quite the case, sadly, but at least for Tex things are looking very much up!

Sunday tomorrow, but an adoption is in the offing!

Lucky little Tex; cuddles every day from now on!

Small dog relaxing


Adoption of Kopo after 3 and a half years

Wonderful news to report today. At long last, Kopo has been adopted.

Some dogs stay at the SPA for a long time, and we are not quite sure why. Kopo arrived at the SPA in December 2013. That is three and a half years ago, and since he has been there I do not think a single person has shown any interest in him. Is it because he was already five years old when he arrived? Who knows. Before he arrived at the SPA he had spent his whole life guarding a wood yard, so family life will be something new to him.

But family life is what he will have from now on! Kopo is on his way to Germany, where a lovely couple have decided to offer him a new home. Kopo’s story (being effectively thrown away when he was no longer needed) touched their hearts. For them it was important that he was good with children, as they have grandchildren who visit from time to time. So we used the SPA guinea pigs to check. No, not real guinea pigs (although we do have some of those for adoption at the moment too). Rather the children of volunteer Fabien. The resulting photo was all the family needed and Kopo was told to pack his bags.

Like all our dogs who go abroad, Kopo has left under the European wide TRACES system, giving us the reassurance that he will be well looked after on his journey.

As ever, many thanks to everyone who has helped this lovely boy stay as happy as possible while he was at the SPA. Regular walkers Karen and Sebastien and of course Fabien and his family and others too numerous to mention. But thanks most of all to his new family.

We have news of another adoption, that of little TeX. But more news about that can wait till tomorrow, today is all about Kopo!

Kopo when he arrived in 2013 and now
white shepherd



















And the photo that helped clinch the deal

white shepherd with two kids

Adoptions of Cap and Camilla

More good news today with the adoption of two of our smaller dogs.

First up was Cap. This little lad arrived on Saturday, much to the regret of his owner, who is very unwell. Yes, there are legitimate reasons for bringing dogs to us, and when the process is respected, we know all about the animal’s likes and dislikes. This helps us to find the best home as quickly as possible; when we have a signed contract of abandon, there is no need for a dog to wait 10 days while we (and he) wait for his owner to reappear (or not).

Cap’s owner was extremely upset to leave him at the SPA, however we assured her that it would not be long till he found a new home. And sure enough the very next day he was reserved. The only reason he did not leave immediately was that he was not castrated, and due to the Bank Holiday, today was the first day when this was possible. So today, four days after arriving, little Cap is off to his new home. Now that is what I call a result!

Next to leave was Camilla. She arrived just over a month ago at the same time as the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Charles, who has since been adopted. A lovely young spaniel cross, Camilla is friendly and affectionate and just about perfect. A move to a different kennel at the refuge gave her the visibility she needed to catch someone’s eye, and today off she went.

On a less positive note we have three new puppies and a couple of new adults, too, all of whom arrived today. News and photos of them anon.


small jack russell










Camilla – ADOPTED

spaniel cross

Papy Oural leaves for a Foster Home!

A quick blog tonight to say an enormous thank you to Debbie and Andrew who responded to the urgent appeal for a foster home for Oural. Tonight he is safe and is doubtless being cuddled as I write this.

It is easy to assume that a dog who has the run of the SPA during the day is happy, and maybe Oural was happier at the SPA than many other dogs. However being alone at night has been hard for him, as he adores company. Debbie and Andrew already knew Oural from their dog-walking trips to the SPA, and they knew already how gentle he is. As they are at home all the time, their lifestyle is perfect for him. On their occasional days out, Oural will be “dog-sat” by a neighbour, so no more lonliness for him!

Elderly spaniel Tis has taken Oural’s place as the SPA mascot, and if he finds a home, the next suitable oldie will get an upgrade in accommodation.

But for now we say a huge thanks to Debbie and Andrew and to the other people who offered a home to Oural. Yes, they were not the only ones to respond, and we are glad yet again for the power of social media and for all the wonderful dog lovers out there!

Oural leaves with his new family

couple with old dog










And here he is exploring his new garden!

dog in garden