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Latest News

What did you say? NINE Adoptions!

In what felt like the middle of the night, but which was in fact very early morning, we had our first departure of the day. This time it was Babar who left with a TRACES registered vehicle for his new life in the UK.

Babar’s story is quite interesting, and many of you have read the diaries written by his foster mum. Before leaving for his new home, Babar was lucky enough to spend several weeks with Kate. She is a very experienced fosterer, having fostered dogs for “Guide Dogs for the Blind” amongst others. Needless to say Babar made huge progress while he was with her and we cannot thank her enough.

TRACES legislation meant that Babar had to return to the SPA for a couple of days before his departure, which must have been a shock for him. And even with all her year’s experience of fostering, Kate admitted that saying goodbye was very emotional. I know exactly what she means. There is something about a timid dog that just gets hold of your heart; you are their world, and they have such trust in you. Still, knowing that Babar’s time at the SPA would be short must have helped, along with the knowledge that he is going to such a wonderful home.

Babar is going to live with Kath, who adopted dalmatian Jazzy last year! Babar is used to having a friend to play with (he always shared his kennel at the SPA, and Kate has another dog, too), and we already know what a great life Jazzy has. So good things await Babar!

long eared beagle


Huge thanks to Kate for looking after Babar and of course to Kath for adopting a second dog from us! We look forward to news and photos. And we are happy to know that the two families (foster and adopters) are going to keep in touch. Kate is already talking of visiting when she and her husband are next in Scotland.

Believe it or not this afternoon we had eight further adoptions.

Of those the “best” (they were all wonderful) is that of Roxy. Two years this dog has waited. Would his turn ever come? Of course it would. And it did. A few weeks ago a gentleman came to walk Roxy and couldn’t get him out of his mind. Sometimes it just happens like this. Today he came back to adopt the dog of his dreams. Roxy couldn’t believe his luck. He went round giving everyone kisses before leaving. It just goes to show that we should never give up hope and neither should the dogs. With wonderful staff and  volunteers to keep the dogs socialised and to give them regular walks, it is just a question of finding the right person. Many thanks to Stephanie, Roxy’s sponsor who has walked him almost every time she has visited, but who was not there to say goodbye today. However Roxy’s new owner has promised regular news and visits, so I am so they will meet again.

black griffon

Roxy – ADOPTED (after 2 years)

The other adult to leave today was Lady. She had been brought in for rehoming yesterday by someone who really loved her but whose circumstances had changed to the detriment of his dog. Labrador Lady had everything in her favour; good with dogs, cats and children. Not only that, the day before, Estelle had taken the name of a family who were looking for a labrador. She phoned them today and they came in to meet Lady, and this lovely girl left after just 24 hours at the SPA.

pale lab


The other six adoptions were all of puppies. Four of the five Australian shepherds left with their new families who were selected thanks to the recently introduced Pre-Adoption Questionnaire. Yes, this litter attracted a lot of attention and so staff and volunteers wanted to select what arae considered to be the most suitable families. This is the case for all adoptions from now on, with the plan being that we have fewer (or in an ideal world) no puppies going to families just because they are beautiful to look at.

Australian shepherd


Australian shepherd

Dannie – ADOPTED

black and tan puppy

Gibson – ADOPTED

red merle pup


Puppy Froggie, who was fished out of the canal before she drowned was also homed, as was puppy Tonnerre, who was abandoned on Wednesday this week.

Froggie – ADOPTED

Tonnerre – ADOPTED

So it was a wonderful (and busy day). A final plea….Please don’t forget the last of the Australian litter, Nicole. She may not have the instant charm of the others, but she is a gorgeous affectionate girl who is calm and sociable. Let’s find her a home soon!

black and tan puppy

Nicole is still waiting for a home


Happy day for Hounds…and not only hounds

Today got off to a flying start, with three dogs leaving before the SPA had even opened. Three of our hounds, Jura, Hershey and Comete are on their way to new lives in Germany, thanks to the association Tierfreunde helfen Tieren in Not. There, these three fabulous dogs will have a complete change in environment, and hopefully very soon families to adopt them.

lovely big hound

Jura has left the SPA after over two years

Incredible though it may seem when you look at their photos, no one has shown any interest in adopting any of these lovelies. Jura has been at the SPA for over two years, and although he is adored by everyone, he has not been chosen. Hershey and Comete have been with us for less time (Hershey one year and Comete just over 6 months), but why wait? They were offered the opportunity of a new start, and who are we to deny them this!

Hershey is off to a new life, as well

Of course we will keep you in touch with how they get on in their new lives and we would like to express our thanks to the association for taking them in and also to Carole who spent much of the last couple of days tearing her hair out due to TRACES documents. And when I tell you that another dog is leaving tomorrow under TRACES and that our usual contact at the DDSCPP is on leave, you will understand why several of us are looking a bit frazzled. Or more frazzled than usual, should I say? Still, it was all in a good cause!

hound dog

As is seven year old Comete

Then of course it was a “normal” afternoon at the SPA. Although what is normal these days? In any case, we had one adoption, and it was of a dog who has been at the refuge since just before Christmas, when his owner decided he was too much of a handful. Titou is a very lively dog, and is extremely enthusiastic when it is time for walks. Who remembers Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout? Well, that is Titou. Luckily though he is not very big; he looks like a short legged malinois. He caught the eye of a gentleman who visited the refuge a few days ago and he returned today to adopt Titou.

small malinois


We wish him and all today’s leavers lots of happiness. There is another dog leaving in the middle of the night, so it is an early night for me!

See you tomorrow with more (good) news.

Four dogs are reclaimed.

Although there were no adoptions today, four dogs were reclaimed, so it was not the worst day we have had.

First to leave was Lea, a beautiful yellow lab. She arrived yesterday and her photo was put on Facebook where she was immediately recognised by her owner. As well as by friends of her owner. Social media is wonderful in so many ways. But naturally identification is better!

yellow lab


Second to leave was Easy, a young border collie. She had been found in Narbonne yesterday, and the person who found her brought her to Carcassonne. Luckily Easy was identified, and even luckier her owners came to collect her immediately. This is not always the case, so in general it is far better to take any animal you find to the nearest pound. Had Easy not been identified, one cannot assume that her owners would have thought to look for her in a refuge so far away. Still, all is well that ends well.

border collie

The two other dogs arrived today so had no albums on Facebook. And of course all four of today’s leavers are now equipped with a microchip!

We will have lots of news tomorow, so see you then!

An Easter excursion and adoption of Skip

Welcome to the first blog of the week. Yes, the SPA was shut yesterday, but as usual some volunteers took some time off from eating pancakes and chocolate and devoted their afternoon to walking some of the refuge dogs at a local lake. They had a wonderful time, by all accounts, so chances are there will be more such excursions in the future. Many thanks to Sebastien and the rest of the team.

Three dogs enjoying an Easter excursion

Now, onto today. As you know we always love it when a dog is adopted by a volunteer. First of all it means we know that the family are real dog lovers, and secondly of course it means we will continue to have news. So we are delighted that little border collie pup Skip has been adopted by volunteer Sylvie. He arrived ten days ago, and due to the arrival of yet more puppies, we were worried that he would be left behind. Yes, the new pups are indeed stunning, but so is Skip! Many thanks to Sylvie. She is quite smitten, it must be said, and we can all see why. Skip is a fabulous lad and already a much loved member of the family. Skip has been renamed Spike after the “good vampire” in Buffy, by the way.

black and white border collie pup

Skip (now renamed Spike) – ADOPTED

Two other dogs were reclaimed; nine year old Tequila, who arrived on Thursday and who had a tear-jerking reunion with her loving owner today, and Gawa, who was just as delighted to be back home.

elderly shepherd



big beaceron cross


Now let’s see what the rest of the week brings us. We all hope that Bowling turns up safe and well. If only he had waited long enough to realise what a wonderful home he had found, this dog would have never left!

Adoptions of Onyx and Bowling

Today, amidst the wind and rain and brief sunny spells, we had two adoptions.

First to leave was American Staffordshire terrier Onyx. She arrived in mid-December, but this was not her first time at the SPA. She had spent some time with us last summer, but just as she was about to leave with a wonderful new family, her owner showed up to reclaim her. This time there was little chance of that happening, as inbetween times, Onyx had been given away to someone else. This new home clearly didn’t want to keep her, so although it has taken another relatively brief spell at the SPA, what was needed from the outset, ie a new home for Onyx, is finally here.

Onyx is a fabulous dog but as she is falls into the category of “dangerous dogs” (haha), some paperwork is needed. However her new family got all this sorted out in double quick  time, and today they came along to take Onyx to her new life. We wish loads of love and happiness to Onyx and her family, who have promised us news and photos.

brindle coloured staff


Today’s second leaver is Bowling. This terrier cross arrived some two weeks ago in a very sorry state. Not only did he have piraplosmosis, but he had been hit by a car. Unsurprisingly he was more than a bit nervous of people. However as we well know, the SPA is excellent with timid dogs. Treating them with love, kindness and respect, even very shy animals gradually realise that the bad times are over, and that they can trust us humans. Work with Bowling had hardly begun, however, when he caught the eye of a couple who had recently lost a beloved dog.

They came to the SPA on Thursday with a short list of dogs whom they wanted to say hello to. Although they did go to meet the dog who was second on the list, once they had met Bowling their minds were pretty much made up. Although this little boy is very scared and shy, he is clearly adorable, showing no aggression at all to people or to the new “house cat”, Abricot.

Yes, Bowling has a long way to go. He will need lots of love and patience, but in a new home he will be far more relaxed than he would be at the SPA, and progress should be quick. He is a very lucky boy indeed.

small rough haired terrier

Bowling – ADOPTED

The SPA will be open tomorrow, as as well as being Easter Sunday, it is also the first Sunday of the month. And so far the weather looks like it will be a bit kinder than it was today. Having said that our wonderful (and ever-growing) team of volunteers was out in force today, so a bit of rain will not change our plans.

Happy Easter everyone.

Adoption of Gustav

Towards the end of February we happily reported the adoption of Otto. As we told you, he was one of two dogs who were left alone in an appartment when their owner moved house. Needless to say both dogs were a bit hungry when they arrived, but apart from that were in good health. Anyway, today, some four weeks later, it was the turn of his dad, Gustav.

This handsome lab cross caught the eye of a family from the Netherlands who were looking for a dog to share their life. They wanted a dog who gets on with other dogs, and ideally wanted a dog who needed them. Naturally Gustav’s story touched their hearts. They took him for a walk, then had a think, returning the following day to officially reserve this lovely dog.

A week’s holiday was planned, so Gustav did not leave immediately, but employees and volunteers have been walking him and telling him that he didn’t have long to wait! We hope to have lots of news and photos of the newly renamed “Roux” as his new life begins.

pale lab cross

Gustav – ADOPTED

There is at least one other dogs who has his bags packed, so let’s wait and see who will be leaving us tomorrow!

Adoption of Tornade

Today little jagd terrier Tornade left for a new home. She hasn’t been with us for long, but of course it was not her first time at the SPA. She was adopted when she was just a puppy, then brought back when the family moved house and she was just two. The next time she spent just a couple of days at the SPA before being adopted again, but that did not work out either. However this failed adoption taught us a lot more about Tornade, which we hope has helped to make a better match this time.

Just because a dog is small and fluffy, it does not mean that it will behave like a small fluffy dog! Put  Tornade near a cat, and you will see a totally different side to her personality. And although she gets on fine with male dogs (and has been sharing her kennel fine at the SPA, she can be a bit jealous of other females. And anyone who has walked her at the SPA knows that she pulls like a train. Of course being small that is not much problem for most people, but if you are wanting to walk with a slack lead, there is work to be done!

But of course she has many many positive qualities, one of which is that she is adorable! Plus we do know that she loves children, and we do know that she needs a well enclosed garden. And her new family have young children and an enclosed garden, so that is a very good start.

Tonight Tormade will be no doubt having fun with the kids and running round in their garden as her new life begins. Be happy Tornade, and we look forward to news and photos.

jagd terrier

Tornade – ADOPTED

Two adoptions but 14 arrivals!

It is hard to feel particularly positive on a day which has brought 14 new dogs to the SPA (yes, you read that right!), but amongst it all we do have some good news in the form of two adoptions.

First to leave was little Brandi, who has been renamed Andy and left with a woman who had been looking for exactly this kind of dog for some time. Yes, sometimes it is well worth a bit of patience. Young, pretty pint-sized dogs do arrive. Needless to say Brandi left as soon as was possible after the end of her pound time. She was not identified, but must surely have had a loving home, so it remains a mystery as to why her owner did not come and collect her. Still, she now has a NEW loving home and we wish her lots of happiness.

yorkshire terrier

Brandi (renamed Andy) – ADOPTED

Today’s other lucky leaver was malinois puppy Lola. She too arrived ten days ago, and several families expressed an interest in adopting her. As ever the SPA has to select the family which seems best suited to the pup’s needs, and although some people will be disappointed, we hope you will give us the chance to find you your perfect match.

malinois pup


Voilà voilà. The week has to get better, so as we so often have to do on days like this, let’s look onwards and upwards.

Babars foster diaries….

We always say that we learn so much about a dog when in foster and this really helps us target the perfect home for them.

Babar has been in foster for 10 days and we have learnt so much about him. He will be leaving for his new home in Scotland in two weeks but until then I am sure that you will agree that he is in expert hands!

Here is his second foster report by his foster mum, how many dogs come with a instruction manual????!!!!

Observation of Babar: week ending 25 March

We have now cared for Babar for 10 days. He is a total sweetheart but he is very timid and easily frightened, especially of men and people in dark clothing, as well as sudden movements and unexpected noises, so will need quiet patience for some time. He will make a sweet and affectionate pet after he has built up his confidence. He is much happier and perkier dog than when he first arrived. He trots around after me and goes to Philip now for affection. He loves his walks on the beach and would run around for ages. We keep him on a long lead so he is a little limited but is full of enthusiasm.  He likes other dogs. He has started eating very well. He would like to chase cats. At first he was nervous about getting in and out of the car but now happily jumps in or out as required. Once in the car he seems fine, interested in seeing what is passing by.

He is a quiet, well behaved dog but he doesn’t know the usual commands in French or English. He pulls on the lead if he is not wearing his halti. He is anxious to please and eager not to do anything wrong, so he should not be hard to train. I thought about taking him to a class in Agde while he is here, but I think he would find it too scary, so we are trying to teach him through the consistent use of words and signs.

Babar has apparently been house trained in the past as his preference is to go in the garden. For the first few days, I noticed he ‘marked’ first thing in the morning and after a meal, so I put him into the garden at these times. I let him into the garden pretty regularly and then let him back in as soon as he wees. We have had no incidents after the first few days.

We are able to stop any unintentionally bad behaviour like chewing the door mat. He stops as soon as he is told ‘No’ (said firmly, but not crossly or loudly). We are using ‘Wait’ (for a short wait such as getting out of the car in an orderly way) and ‘Stay’ (with my first finger up) and he is getting a wee bit better on the Halti collar. As he reaches the end of his extending lead I say ‘Stead-ee!’ in the hope that he will learn to slow down and not jerk himself.

We have had friends over for dinner. They are quiet people who understand dogs. He was fearful when they arrived, but OK by the time they left. Today we went to the beach with our friend Tony and his dog. By the end of the walk, Babar was happy to go up to Tony for a sniff.

 Babar’s Routine

Morning: We get up at 8.00. When I am dressed I put Babar into the garden to do his wees. He stays there until Philip is dressed and then we go out. We fix the Halti colour on an extending lead. We keep it short for a walk to the park. We walk very quickly but allow stops to sniff trees and do more wees. In the park I extend the lead, slip off the nose part of the halti and follow him as he sniffs around. Then the ‘nose’ back on and a short lead for a brisk walk home. Breakfast is in the garden where he stays for 10 minutes or so to do No 2 (sometimes he waits till his afternoon walk). Then he is let in.

Day time: He has a ‘safe’ mat next to the sofa where he likes to sit by my feet. He occasionally likes to snooze in his crate during the day too, but Violet often steals his bed. Being with another dog, even the thief Violet, seems to give him confidence. He often copies her, e.g. going outside when she does, chewing the antler after she has finished.

We go out for short periods each day so he gets comfortable with separation. We put him in the crate when we are out.

Mid afternoon we take him for a long walk on the beach. I start him on the extending lead and the halti collar: he is not fond of it, but it helps me to manage him and it teaches him that pulling is uncomfortable. Our halti is too big for him (it is Labrador size), and the ‘nose’ part rides too high and interferes with his eyes when he pulls. This is obviously not ideal, so after a short while we put him of the very long lead and fix it to the collar in the traditional way. By then he has remembered that pulling is a bad idea, so this works well and he has a great time. He loves the beach and will run around, splash about in the shallows and sniff. He enjoys a little play with other dogs. If Philip has the lead, he will run up to me periodically and wag like mad to say he is pleased to see me, and occasionally give a welcoming ‘woof’. Other than that, he is exceptionally quiet. He is nervous of other people we pass walking on the beach and is always interested in other dogs. He does not show any signs of aggression.

Evening: Supper is about 6.00 in the garden or, at first, on his ‘safe mat’ when he was too stressed to eat unless he was close to me. Sometimes I had to hand feed him some or all of his food, but now he eats very well. He stays out for 5 minutes or so to wee.

We let him out last thing at night to wee and then he goes into his crate for the night. Some evenings he puts himself to bed in his crate.

Recommendations for a new family

Do you know if the new family are indeed going to pick him up early April? They are going to be very lucky people.

Before they set out, they may appreciate a little advice based on what we have learned up till now.

  • Having his bed in the crate works well. He needs one about 80cm long or larger, preferably one where one complete side will open, as he wasn’t keen to go through the small opening to the one we have. Nervous dogs often feel safer in a crate and are highly unlikely to have accidents during the night.
  • He needs a bed about 70 cm long. A soft one is easier to get in and out of the crate.
  • He pulls a lot on the lead so a halti collar and extending lead will make life easier. Perhaps also buy a very long lead if there is somewhere open to exercise him. If he is let off the lead before he is trained to recall, if he is frightened by something or starts ‘hunting’, or both, he may be hard to catch.
  • At first, we made sure he was secured/his lead held when we opened car doors with him inside so he didn’t escape. Until he feels safe, he will be frightened and if he escapes and may be hard to catch. Now he knows us, this is no longer necessary.
  • It might be wise to follow our routine at first. If he goes off his food like he did when he first came to us, feed him cooked chicken and rice with a warm chicken gravy to bring out the flavour, twice a day. After a few days, we substituted increasing amounts of his normal (Royal Canin, medium sized, adult dog) food.
  • Introduce him gradually to new people, ask them to let him come to them in his own time and make sure he has a safe spot to retire to until he feels ready to come out.

Could you foster for us? If so please get in touch..


Babar in foster….

A day of high emotion!

It was a great and very emotional end to the SPA week.

First off, today in the wee small hours Moira was at the SPA to send Jolie on her way to a new life in the UK. Jolie arrived at the SPA in November last year along with her pal Junior, who has long since been adopted. Jolie would have been too, had she not had a serious injury to her leg, which needed to be re-operated on. This required a long period of enforced reduced mobility, and if she is to make a full recovery probably a period of physiotherapy.

So when Jackie visited the SPA earlier this year and fell for Jolie, it was important that she was prepared for what lay ahead. The email we received was 100% reassuring. Everything, but everything  was planned for. Jolie is going to have physiotherapy and in due course will attend a hydrotherapy centre and eventually, when she is back to full strength, will accompany her new mum, who is a landscape gardener, to work.

Jolie is an incredibly lucky dog. Although she is only using three legs properly right now, pretty soon we will be able to say that she has truly fallen on all four paws.

pyrenean shepherd

Jolie- ADOPTED and on her way to the UK

Then this afternoon we had two dog adoptions. First up was Moon, one of  five dogs who arrived at the end of February and who was already a favourite with many staff and volunteers. A lovely young shepherd cross, Moon was exactly what today’s visitors were looking for. Their young German Shepherd wanted a friend to play with, and after a few minutes of sniffing and cautious intereaction, the two dogs began chasing each other round the park and all in all just showing just how compatible they were. So Moon left for her new home. Wonderful news for a really wonderful dog.

brindle shepherd


A third very lucky dog left today, but unlike Jolie, being on three paws will be a permanent state of affairs.

Touffu arrived in mid-January and although his owner came to see if he was with us, she never returned to reclaim him. Nor did she know how he lost his front left leg! Hmm. He is a great little lad, about the size of a yorkie and very very feisty. He insists on launching himself at full speed at any dog he passes…all except for Alfie (ex SPA dog, Marbrouk) who was adopted over 2 years ago by Chris and Monica.

Chris has been coming along to dog walk for several weeks now, and Touffu and Alfie have become firm friends. But what would Monica think when she came over to visit? Up until today she had only seen Touffu in photos, but we have to remember that is how Alfie stole her heart, too.

The four of them went for a walk, on which Touffu was suitably fesity (no being on his best behaviour for this lad!) and a chat. Yes, there is work to be done, but as we hoped, it was go go go for Touffu too, and he has started a new life full of love and cuddles, which will suit him just fine.

scruffy dog with couple

Touffu – ADOPTED

We can’t leave you without news of the day’s other big adoption. Cacahouette has finally found a home! Yes, we know this is DOG Rescue Carcassonne, but sometimes we bend the rules. Especially when it is for a dog who has accidentally ended up in a cat’s body!

Anyone visiting the SPA in recent months will have met Cacahouette, who likes dogs, but not cats, and so has been camping in reception. And today’s his turn finally came. A couple came looking for a cat who could live with their dog. As usual staff presented Cacahouette, but as usual the family went to the cat house to see who else was available for adoption. But they returned saying that Cacahouette was the one for them! High emotion indeed! And I was not the only one to shed a tear of joy; tinged with a little bit of regret that I couldn’t adopt him myself. He is quite a character!

For completeness’s sake I should mention that cat Fakir was adopted too, but one cat picture on the blog is enough. So here is Cacahouette with his new mistress. We will miss you!

balck and white cat with owner

Cacahouette – ADOPTED

So that was the end of an emotional day at the end of what has proved to be an emotional week.