LAARF – Helping dogs and cats living in French animal shelters

In the sunny South West of France, something is afoot, or more accurately, apaw!

It all started when a Phoenix and Hope fosterer chose to spend a special birthday walking dogs at her local refuge, rather than hold a party to celebrate.

Lots of people who wouldn’t ordinarily think to do so, joined together to give these dogs, some of whom have been there for months or even years, a taste of fresh air and a chance to test their pulling power.

We had a wonderful afternoon and think we walked about 70 dogs between us.

As a direct result of that afternoon, a number of people have started volunteering regularly, walking dogs or cuddling cats that so desperately need some exercise and attention.

As you can imagine, going to a refuge and smelling and hearing hundreds of dogs in small cages can be quite daunting. You’d also think it would be upsetting, and I admit I often get quite emotional, but the feeling of doing something, even giving such a small gift of time, is amazing and it is seriously addictive. I’ve spent quite a few hours at a couple of refuges now. Of course there are some sad cases, but the majority of the dogs are wagging their tails with excitement, hopeful that they will get a walk. It makes a huge difference to the animals, by keeping them interested in life, socialised and interacting with people, thus making them more attractive to someone looking for a new pet.

It also makes a big difference to volunteer with someone. Since that first walk at the end of November, we’ve setup a website and Facebook page, in the hope that we can have groups of volunteers in as many refuges around the country as possible.

There are over 900 refuges according to Seconde Chance, most of which would be delighted for you to go along and offer to walk their dogs or spend time socialising the cats.

Of course, you WILL want to take some of them home, but obviously you can’t save them all. What you can do is talk about what you’re doing, make your friends and family aware of the gorgeous pets waiting for a new home. Remember that feeling from just walking the dogs? Imagine the one you’d get if you actually help get just one of them in to a loving home. It’s certainly all the thanks I need.

If you’d like to join us, we will welcome you with lots of open arms around the country. There are areas we need to get our feet in, so if you already volunteer at a refuge near you, please let us know as we may have someone just waiting for someone to give them the confidence to go through those gates for the first time and make a huge difference to the animals waiting in there.

LAARF – Les Amis des Animaux des Refuges en France

Website – (With a link to our Facebook oage) Email –

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Dogs looking for a home

We thought it would be a good idea to show you a selection of the dogs looking for a home at the refuges where our LAARF volunteers are involved.

If you are in France and are interested in adopting one of them or have a question, if you are looking for something different or if you would like to join us by volunteering at your local refuge, please get in touch by email

Spa Refuge Animalier Bortois
19110 BORT LES ORGUES, Correze

Vodka, Border-Collie cross, is about 3 yrs old. She is lively and intelligent but has known little of life outside the refuge. She pulls badly on the lead at first but settles down after the initial adrenalin rush. With a little training she would be a total star.

Vodka 080614

Association Galia, 85200 Fontenay le Comte, Vendee

Paola came to Galia from the Fourrière in a very poor state, she was so thin it was painful to see her, now she is, if anything a little
overweight… She is a really nice dog, good in the kennel, sits on command and as with all starved dogs she is eager for her food but will wait until told to get it. She pulls on the lead in her excitement to go for a walk but once out walking she is fairly good but still needs some lead training. She is Ok with other dogs and had a kennel mate for a while, she is not so good when it comes to food as she will steal her kennel mates food, no surprise there… Not tested with cats.
She needs a home with a secure garden and plenty of walks, she is non destructive in her kennel and would take to home life quickly as she is quick to learn.
This poor girl has had a bad life and needs a family that will give her cuddles and love and as with all dogs of her breed will be a loyal and loving companion.

Paola 180614


SPA Limoges 87270 Couzeix, Limousin

This is Indra, a 3 year old female Border Collie/Griffon cross. She is a very calm, loving, gentle girl who adores human company. She is not the kind of dog that can be left throughout the day as she bores easily so is looking for a family who would be able to include her in their daily routine and truly become part of the family. She is sociable with other dogs both males and females but not so good with cats. She pulls on the lead in her excitement to get out for a walk and would benefit from some lead training but is otherwise a gorgeous dog who deserves the opportunity of a life outside the refuge.

Indra 180614

Refuge d’Angoumois 16600 Mornac, Poitou-Charentes

Daisy is a six-year-old pure basset fauve de Bretagne, a rare breed in France and even rarer in the UK – so she is bound to be a talking point, as if she didn’t have enough going for her! Basset fauves are small to medium sized with short legs.

Daisy is currently in the refuge at Mornac, Angouleme. She is sweet, gentle, attentive and loves affection without being needy or possessive. Daisy gets on well with all humans and animals, and is currently wandering around the refuge reception or napping in amid the visitors. She is an absolute treasure and would make a delightful addition to any home. A real gem!

Daisy Mornac 180614