We now have a good number of English speakers volunteering at Limoges and Angouleme SPAs and a smattering of volunteers elsewhere but more are always welcome so please get in touch if you’d like to join us. The refuges are full to bursting at this time of year, so if you or anyone you know is looking for a pet, please rescue one. You not only save that animal’s life, but that of the one you make room for at the refuge.
Today, I am posting from the Furry Tales blog, which originally appears on Angloinfo Dordogne on Thursday. Thankyou Puss In Boots!
This is Donti (at least we think that’s her name but the writing on her card on her cage is difficult to read). She is about 3 years old and is absolutely gorgeous – she has thick fur like a big cuddly teddy and is such an affectionate soul. She is described as a Bassett/ Bretonne cross but to me she looks more like a golden Cocker cross. I walked her for the first time last week and fell in love – once she gets to the grass she rolls over on her back and scoots around just enjoying being away from the concrete. She hates being caged and cries when I put her back after her walk. I walked her again this week and I’m convinced that she would make a very loveable family pet. If there’s anyone out there with a vacancy in front of their fire please go and visit cage 68 at Limoges SPA!
I have been volunteering at Limoges for a couple of months now and my feelings about the experience have changed a bit since I wrote about it in January. You never really get used to the smell or the noise of the dogs all vying for attention but as it becomes more familiar the impact is less severe. The main change for me though is that the dogs start to become individuals. As you get to know them and maybe walk the same ones over time they become separate personalities and inevitably you start to have your favourites and become emotionally attached. Although all furries are special there are those that just get to you in some way. When I see people looking at the dogs intending to re-home one I always want to guide them to my favourites. This week, a favourite of all the volunteers, a little black chap called Toupie was missing from his cage and we were all delighted to find that he had been adopted. Toupie had a deformed front leg but it certainly didn’t stop him galloping around. Also we are so pleased that Falco, the BBD who was my Furry of the month in February, has gone to live with a British family.
As I’ve become more confident in my role there I’m happier to make my own decisions as to which ones to walk. Although it’s tempting to take your favourites it’s so important to make sure they all get their turn. This week many of the dogs hadn’t been out of their cages for almost a week! Not surprisingly they were desperate to get out and getting their leads and harnesses on was even more of a challenge than usual – often a 2 person job! There were 4 of us British volunteers and 4 or 5 French and so we were able to get something like 35 – 40 dogs out of their cages during the afternoon. Some of us walk the dogs in pairs if they’re caged together whilst those that don’t get on too well with others have to be walked alone – we always think that if they were not on a lead there would be much less tension between them. Many of the dogs are big and very strong – rather than us taking them for a walk they drag us up the path and today I’m aching in places where I didn’t know I had muscles. Despite the dogs being so full of energy and presumably many of them with bad experiences of humans, I’m always surprised by how good natured, friendly and amenable they are. I always take a bag of snacks which helps and at the end of the day I usually go around the cages giving away the remaining pieces of smacko and saying hello to some of those that aren’t allowed out for walks yet. It’s at this point that I often feel close to tears but I have to tell myself that I’ve given up just a few hours but made a bit of a difference to a few of them.
Staff have said that at this time of the year there tends to be an influx of dogs and that this coincides with the end of the hunting season and also presumably when Christmas puppies have grown up. The hunting dogs make me very sad – there are so many and they must be very hard to re-home. Is there no way hunters can be stopped from abandoning their dogs in this way?
I’m going to be away for a few weeks now and so won’t be able to go. When I go back in April I know that I’ll be checking on who is still there and who were the lucky ones. I will be paying particular attention to cage number 68!