We held our second Woofer Walk at Mornac SPA just outside Angouleme on Saturday alongside the refuge’s Portes Ouvertes.
Two of my friends were attending for the first time, and it’s always a good thing to see the refuge with fresh eyes, as we quickly forget how difficult that first visit can be. Is it a bit like having a baby? Obviously not, but any distress is far outweighed by the amazing feeling we get at the end of a walk, just by being there and getting some of the dogs out for some time outside their cages. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who has been once and not wanted to go again. I think, through social media, we are conditioned to expect to see cage after cage of sad, depressed animals who we can’t help, when in reality most of them are bouncy, lively dogs, full of life and excitement at the thought of their walkies time.
The facilities at the refuge are very good. We have flat, dry roads leading out from the main gates providing three safe routes for dog walking. The refuge identify dogs who shouldn’t be taken out by volunteers by putting a red triangle on their cage and we think we had every dog who was allowed out, out for a walk on Saturday. There were a few more red triangles than normal, but at least it meant we were less likely to have any accidents at the hands of inexperienced walkers, and I’m pleased to say there were none, well none that anyone owned up to anyway!
It was a very busy day, lots of people attending with dogs they had adopted and others looking for a new companion. This time we had our own photographer with us, thank-you Jacqui! She took some amazing photos, some of which you’ll see here over time, but some of the individual dogs which we hope will help the refuge to rehome them.
I noticed that a lot of visitors were walking round the cages looking at the dogs. The potential problem with that is that the dogs are frustrated that they can’t say hello properly so I like to think that, by being there to walk the dogs, we may have helped someone fall in love with one of the dogs they would have walked past in their cage.
One of our first timers sums her first experience up here:
“Yesterday afternoon, I was a ‘virgin’ volunteer at the SPA at Mornac. Having never walked a dog before in my life, I buddied up with one of the ladies who has visited the SPA several times before.
In the days leading up to the visit, I thought it was going to be a really upsetting experience to see so many abandoned animals. I planned to have several tissues in my coat pocket at the ready, but it wasn’t as bad as first feared which was lucky for me as I had left the tissues back in the car! I had been pre-warned about the noise that the dogs would make, but wasn’t prepared for the smell, which was perhaps a little naïve of me, considering how many dogs are at the refuge. But the noise is only because the dogs are so excited at the anticipation of possibly being taken out for a walk.
Once Jocelyn decided which dogs we were going to take, I had to concentrate so hard on getting the leash on properly whilst they were jumping around in excitement, I didn’t really have the time to get too upset!
Because it was an Open Day at Mornac yesterday, we didn’t enter the cat area, as they didn’t want too many people in that section when there could possibly be potential adopters looking for a ‘furball’ to take home. As an owner of 5 cats, I think perhaps that I would have been a bit more upset if I had gone in there as I probably would have wanted to sneak one or two home in my coat pocket! I think my OH might have not been too happy about that!
I also met a lovely bunch of volunteers and so, all in all, it wasn’t such an overwhelming experience as I thought it would be. It was very busy at the refuge yesterday and perhaps on a quieter day, it would be a totally different experience but I will be returning as soon as possible as it was such a worthwhile and uplifting feeling to be helping in such a small way.”
I went in the cat house for the first time on Saturday. It’s warm, clean and bright and provides the cats with plenty of indoor and outdoor space to exercise in, as well as cosy nooks to hide away in if they want to. I have two cats at home and they spend practically all of their time sleeping so I don’t worry about the cats at all at the refuge. They are as content as my cats are, although I’m sure they would love more cuddles and attention in the home of their own servant (owner). They are healthy and happy and it’s a great place to go for a snooze after the exertions of having your arm practically pulled out of it’s socket by an excited dog!
One of our youngest members on “Good with children?” test. Watch out Mornac, this young lady means business!