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When I’am Old and Grey..

If we are lucky enough to still have our dogs when they become old and grey then helping them stay comfortable, as pain-free as possible is something that we may have to deal with.

My Boxer x Labrador, Phoebe is a large dog who has had arthritis for a couple of years. This was confounded by a partially torn ligament in her back leg when she chased a hare over a recently plowed field.


She, of course, has prescribed pain medication and I have tried some supplements like turmeric, CBD oil etc but there has been no miracle cure.

So, how do you keep an old dog happy and active? Well, weight management is important and that’s very difficult when feeding time is one of the things they really look forward to. Luckily mine like veg so I try and bulk meals up as much as possible.

Careful logistical management is very important too. I have found that although she manages the stairs, she bunny hops down so I limit how many times a day she goes up and down to a minimum.  She now chooses not to jump on the sofa or bed as its very painful for her to get off them.

Laminate flooring is a nightmare! If we are anywhere with it, I have to create a track; for her with blankets or whatever is available. If booking hotels or holiday lets, I find myself looking at the room floor coverings and whether there is a lift or not!

There are some advantages. Her walks are slower, and she doesn’t go far from your side which I really like. Walking 2 older dogs certainly takes less concentration than 2 mad youngsters!

Its approaching holiday time and we will have 2 youngsters as well as my two oldies. I am seriously considering a dog ‘buggy for Phoebe so she can be with us all without limiting the younger active dogs walks too much.

As yet she doesn’t need a car ramp but I have removed one of the back passenger seats so she just has a little step to get in the passager door through to he back doggy area, Opening the boot means a much bigger leap in and out!

I have heard a few nightmare stories of dogs going off their legs whilst on walks. So I am going to buy a ‘Help ‘Em Up harness and shoulder strap’ just in case. I certainly couldn’t pull her on a blanket, coat or anything else in an emergency without really distressing her and me!

Phoebe has no problem with her neck or shoulders, but I do use a raised bowl. This does take some strain off her joints.

Have you a dog with limited mobility?  Are there other methods you used that were successful?  Do you have any hints or tips? Do let us know!!!

To brush or not to brush…..

A Third of British Dog Owners Brush Their Dog’s Teeth (& It Could Save Their Dog’s Life!)

I laughed when I read this headline as every time I am coming back to France from the Uk, Darcey asks me to bring doggy toothpaste. She cleans all of her dog’s teeth every night.

I have to admit that I did laugh, but no…it really could save their life!


Tooth and gum disease is something which is easily preventable if owners follow simple steps including regular brushing, improving their dog’s diet and using dental specific food and chews if recommended by vets. Two thirds of vets recommend that owners clean their dog’s teeth every day.

Gum disease can lead to periodontal disease, a build-up of plaque which can if left untreated cause the gums to recede, bacteria to enter the bloodstream and sometimes even spread to other organs, the heart, for example.

The worst-case scenarios for untreated tooth and gum disease in animals can result in tooth extractions, blood poisoning / septicaemia, tooth loss, disease in other organs and even death.

So what are the signs that there may be a problem  :

  • Blood on their toys
  •  Facial swelling
  •  Dropping food
  •  Favouring one side of the mouth
  •  Bad breath

If you decide to start, here are a few tips..

  • Start by getting your dog used to having your fingers around its mouth by gently pulling gums back and massaging them.
  •  Use a finger brush to get your dog used to having something touching its teeth and gums.
  •  Once your dog is used to the finger brush, move on to using toothpaste and a doggy toothbrush.
  • Only dog-friendly toothpaste should be used as it does not contain fluoride which is dangerous to dogs.
  • Always use positive reinforcement with treats and praise so your dog ends up enjoying having its teeth cleaned.

So, I am going to give it a go………who else brushes or what do you use to keep these knashers sparking????





Time for a Change

Tonight will be the last blog from me for a while, as I am off to the UK tomorrow for a few days. Moira is already there and will be away for several more weeks.  So now seems like a good time to let you know that as of now the blog is changing , and we hope you agree it is for the better!

Since the “retirement” of our long suffering translator, Helene, the blog has been less accessible to the French community. Many people use Google translate, but the information on the blog can be gleaned quite easily from just seeing which dogs’ photos have been added to the album of adoptees. So whereas the blog will be visible here, on the DRC website, and on the DRC Facebook page as usual, it will not longer be duplicated on the ScPA Facebook page.

You might also notice less refuge news, and more information of general interest. And as we will not be waiting for news from the refuge, the blog will not be tied to a particular time of day either, which will be quite liberating for both Moira and me.

Moira and I regard this as a very positive move both for DRC and for the ScPA. Times have changed and the refuge has less need of DRC now than when we first started to help them some 10 years ago. Euthanasia is now a thing of the past, and many of the things for which DRC worked at the beginning, such as castration /sterilisation of all animals, are accepted as standard. There are far more volunteers and things seem to be rolling along well. There is no reason to think that this will change in the future.

Plus DRC has its own distinct identity, which is something we would be stupid to ignore.

So less refuge news, more Home to Homes, and more DRC and Anglophone related news. In brief a much more streamlined approach all round, always with the well being of dogs as our number one priority.

We hope you continue to support us in this and are as excited about the changes as we are.

Adoptions of Kyra and Milo

Two dogs were adopted today, and they have something very important in common. Both Kyra and Milo were brought in by their owners for rehoming.

This means that the ScPA already has plenty of information about the dogs, their likes, their dislikes and their actual age (rather than a vet’s estimate). It also means that the ScPA does not have to keep the dogs in the pound for 10 days whilst looking for the owners. The dogs can move to the refuge proper immediately (which usually means canine company and walks!) plus the dogs can be adopted without delay. And in fact both of today’s leavers found new homes before spending 10 days at the refuge! QED.

First off was Kyra. She is a very sweet English bull terrier who arrived less than a week ago with a great CV; good with dogs, cats and children! She caught the eye of the family who had adopted Price earlier this year, and everyone was delighted when the two dogs hit it off well. We get regular news of Price who is clearly a very happy boy, but who will be even happier to have a fabulous friend to play with.

English bull terrier


Next the ScPA said farewell to Milo, a classic looking border collie. He caused quite a stir when his photos were put on line; he is a stunning boy with many typically border collie traits, most significantly his quickness to learn and attachment to his owner. Border collies are very intelligent animals and often find refuge life very difficult, so we are pleased that Milo has found a new home so quickly.

black and white border collie


So that was Sunday and brings to end another week, one which had plenty of adoptions. Let’s see what next week has to offer.

Adoption of Kitana and Loupiotte

There were two more adoptions today, meaning that it has been one of the best in terms of numbers leaving for some time. Long may it continue!

First off today was Kitana. She arrived in September with dogue Argentin Gino, and is although initially we thought they would be at the ScPA temporarily, the green light was given to find them new homes. This is great news for them, and it is even better that Kitana’s time at the refuge has been a relatively short one. Let’s hope that Gino’s turn comes soon, too.

black and white dog

Kitana – ADOPTED

Next up was little Loupiotte. She is a very small terrier cross. In fact she looks like she could be long haired jack russell, except so far she doesn’t seem to have the “feisty” gene. It is not surprising that a dog like this; small, fluffy young and female, should find a home quickly, and indeed Loupiotte has been at the refuge for just two weeks.

small white JRT

Loupiotte – ADOPTED

So we say goodbye to two more lucky dogs and as ever, hope for yet more good news this weekend.

Adoption of Oscar

Oscar’s time at the refuge has been typical in some ways and very atypical in others. He was seen straying in a terrible state and brought to the refuge thanks to the perseverance of a volunteer (in this his story is exactly identical to that of Melba, and several other dogs, mostly but not exclusively, hunting types). He was terrified on his arrival and the employees and volunteers did wonders in bringing him on.

He was adopted and brought back about three weeks later due to a “change in circumstance”. Grrr. And as he was absolutely terrified to be put back in a kennel, it would have been far better for him had the first adoption not taken place at all. This was in late September and it looked like Oscar could be in for a long wait.

However his luck changed when a woman came to visit him a couple of days ago and offered him a new home. She is not from the area, but had seen Oscar on line and paid him a visit while she had other business close by. Rather than her drive back, it was agreed that the ScPA (in the form of Carole) would take Oscar to his new home. As was the case with Arthos and Indian, this enabled a pre-adoption check to take place at the same time, which is very reassuring.

This afternoon the refuge has already received pictures of Oscar on the sofa, so it looks like he has got the hang of things pretty quickly. Anyone who might think that hunt dogs are made to live outdoors, think again!

griffon cross


There have been lots of adoptions this week, but the good mood at the refuge has been tempered by the news that Canelle, the young malinois who was adopted on Monday, was killed on the railway line just 48 hours after leaving for a new home. Her new owner is very upset, as of course are the staff and volunteers. These things happen, as we know all too well. It is so tragic that Canelle’s wonderful new life was cut short.

We are hoping that good news tomorrow will raise morale again a bit.

And three more are off!

Three more dogs left the refuge today, so the week has been an excellent one so far, despite a couple of disappointments, and inevitably several new arrivals.

First of today’s lucky leavers is Gucci. He is the third of three dogs (the others being  the already adopted Angie and Chanel) who arrived after a case of neglect. There is a difference between neglect and mistreatment, though, and Gucci, like his “sisters” was not particularly nervous of people, at least not once he was out of his kennel and on a walk. It was thus that he found his new mum, Jayne, who came along just for a look, but who happened upon the dog of her dreams straight away. Clever boy, Gucci, and we hope you and Jayne have many years of happiness ahead of you.

fluffy poodle cross


Second to leave was Pretoria a young black and grey Breton spaniel. We get quite a lot of dogs of this breed at the refuge, with the black and grey ones being a bit less common. A tiny one like Pretoria was never going to have a long wait. You might have guessed that she arrived on the day of the rugby world cup final, so not long ago at all. She is a real live wire and her family will adore having this ball of energy to play with!

black and white spaniel

Pretoria – ADOPTED

Last but not least we said a happy farewell to Impala. For the second time, as it happens. Except last time she was called Pirouette, the puppy who arrived with her mum Noisette (who is still waiting) in September 2018. Pirouette was adopted fairly soon after her arrival and was brought back a year later as she had been chasing deer.

Now I am not saying my dogs are perfect, but if them chasing deer were a problem, then I would stop them being able to chase deer. I would not bring them back to a refuge. And the renamed Impala is hardly a hunt type breed, so there were clearly management issues. However, as we often say, there is no point forcing people to keep a dog who is not wanted, whatever the reason. Impala could do better.

And today she has done better, finding a new home some six weeks after being brought back. She is a wonderful girl with amazing body language, and has been really popular during her time with us.

shepherd cross

Impala – ADOPTED

Let’s see what the rest of the week brings, but it hasn’t been too bad so far!

Five leavers including the Wolf Dogs after almost three years!

Anyone remember that (admittedly rather cringing) song called “You Left me, Just when I Needed you Most”. Well that could be Max’s theme tune. This purebred jagd terrier was taken to the vet to be euthanised two weeks ago because he had gone blind. Max is only eight years old but apparently it distressed the owner so much to see his “beloved” dog in that state that being put to sleep was the “best thing”. Very luckily for him he was taken to the ScPA’s vet, who immediately contacted the refuge and arranged for Max to be brought to us.

When his album was published on Facebook many people wrote to tell us that they had a blind dog, and that this does not stop their dog from having a fabulous life. And someone else who agrees is the wonderful association Miss Marple’s Universe, who got in touch with DRC to offer a home to Max. This association specialises in rehoming blind dogs and cats, and has a network throughout France.

Max was initially due to leave for a foster family last week, but when the perfect forever home was found, it was decided that it would be better delay his departure for a couple more days and only move house once. So this morning a very lucky Max was taken to his new home under the watchful eye of Jane Marple herself. That is what I call a rescue! Many thanks to all concerned.


small black and tan dog

Max- left thanks to Miss Marple association

The afternoon brought more good news, including an adoption of two dogs who have been at the refuge for almost three years and whom almost everyone knows.

Arthos and Indian were two of five dogs who arrived together just before Christmas 2016. Their three pals were homed relatively quickly, but Arthos and Indian have waited and waited. They are Czech wolf dogs, a breed that is not for everyone, but which has become very popular with a lot of people (including lots of the wrong people) as a result of Game of Thrones. They are complicated dogs, and cannot be left with just anyone. Moreover these two are particularly close and it has been impossible to separate them.

Arthos and Indian – ADOPTED together after 3 years

So who was going to take two dogs of this breed? They need a lot of space and have been occupying a park 24/7 since their arrival. And although they have had lots of walks (let’s face it, who doesn’t feel ten feet tall when walking a dog this imposing (and therein lies a lot of their appeal)), they are both very affectionate. Or have become so, since living at the refuge.

But finally their day has come. Their owner has been to visit them several times whilst enclosing his land, and today a couple of SPA employees delivered Arthos (who is now 9 years old) and Indian, (now 6) to their new home. The end of an era!

Two further dogs left as well. Luma, a fabulous husky who was abandoned just a week or so ago. As with the wolf dogs, this breed attracts a lot of attention thanks to their stunning looks, but their needs do not make them ideal pets for everyone. Having said that, Luma had an excellent CV, fine with dogs, cats and children, and we are delighted that she has found such a wonderful home so soon.



Last but not least we said goodbye to Gafarot, a sweet fox terrier cross who arrived in a very poor condition at the start of September. His fur was in such a state that the only option was to shave him, and although his fur is still in the process of growing back, he was much happier after this was done.

Gafarot was one of the ScPA “Ambassadors” at the stand on Place Carnot this weekend, where he behaved impeccably. Although his adoption so soon afterwards was just coincidence, it was high time that he found a new home.

fox terrier cross

Gafarot – ADOPTED

So five adoptions was great news although there were several new arrivals too. Not to mention the sad return of Gaspard who was in supposedly long term foster. Finding good long term foster families is not as simple as it seems….

Still, onward and upward and hopefully more good news tomorrow.


A good start to the week.

It is always nice when the week starts with an adoption or two, or as was the case today, THREE! Especially when we all needed some good news after a less than happy end to the week.

Today’s three adoptees were all girls, all very different in terms of both looks and character. But that is the great thing about visiting a refuge where there are 100 dogs; plenty of choice!

First off was Canelle, a fabulous young malinois who was brought in for rehoming along with her pal Mabrouka back in mid September. Of the two dogs many of us expected Marbrouka to leave first; she is older, calmer and wonderfully sociable. But malinois, like Canelle, certainly have lots of admirers. Appearing very nervy on her arrival, Canelle soon perked up on walks and is a fabulous girl. We hope she and her family enjoy a long and happy life together.

Canelle – ADOPTED

Next up was Tara. She is a young black crossbreed who arrived as a stray in late October. She is a fabulous girl who quickly adapted to refuge life. Being black can result in a long wait for certain dogs, but lucky Tara caught the eye of a family today and was delighted to leave to confines of the refuge.


Third to leave was one of those dogs who has caught the eye of many people since her arrival at the end of October. She had supposedly been found by a family who kept her for a couple of weeks before deciding that they didn’t want to keep her. She had some bald patches which could have been due to fleas, so perhaps this was the reason why she was no longer welcome. Who knows. Their loss is someone else’s gain!

Maggie appeared to be very timid, but out on walks it is a completely different story. She is absolutely adorable, and it is no surprise at all that she has been adopted so quickly.

brown and white dog

Maggie – ADOPTED

So it was a good start to the week. And we know there is good news on the way tomorrow so see you then.

Adoption of Goltenk and Lazare’s dream is over

Today’s adoptee, Goltenk is one of the many dogs who is incredibly lucky to have made it to the ScPA. He was brought in towards the end of August by a woman who had heard his cries and helped rescue this young crossbreed from the bottom of a well. Goltenk turned out to be identified, but as his owner had been trying to give his dog away free on the internet, it was no surprise that he did not come to reclaim him. Although we are assured that he was not responsible for Goltenk’s being down the well. Hmmmm…..

In any case, today Goltenk had yet more good luck. Today he left the refuge for a new home and we hope a new life of love and happiness.

mid brown dog with pointy ears

Goltenk – rescued from a well and ADOPTED

We thought Lazare had found the same, but it was not to be. Anyone who expects a dog to adapt immediately to life outside after being in a refuge for almost 6 years has unrealistic expectations. Either of their own abilities or of the dog’s. And sadly there is a big difference between having good intentions and having the patience and understanding to allow a dog to settle in. Yes, Lazare is back, his hopes (and ours) dashed after just 3 days.

I don’t know how many times we have been disappointed like this, yet in our naivety we still believe in miracles. I guess this endless optimism (all too often unfounded) is what enables volunteers to continue bashing their heads against a brick wall.

German shepherd cross

Lazare is back. – A patient Foster family is required.

Talking about heads and brick walls, the numbers quoted in yesterday’s newspaper article concerning the ScPA collection in Place Carnot make for quite sobering reading. So far this year 610 dogs and over 400 cats have arrived at the refuge. That is a record breaking number, and the year is not over yet. And remember the ScPA is but one of many hundreds of refuges throughout France. These high figures are not unique to our region, and we are sure that the trend of receiving far more older and sick dogs is a nationwide one. No money for vets bills as well as new mobile phones and Netflix accounts, presumably.

Let’s hope that things cheer up next week.