A tale of despair

As you can imagine, we see many cases of mistreatment, but in most of those cases, the animals are in safe hands and everything that can be done for them, is being done, hopefully with a new, loving home somewhere in their sights.

Today, however, we have seen the unbelievable case of Wolfen and Ficelle. This is a pair of dogs who were bought to use as Breeding dogs. In January Association Galia was called by the Gendarmes and Mayor of a village not far from Fontenay le Comte to come and retrieve 2 dogs and 4 puppies that had been left in a house while the owner was on 3 weeks holiday, supposedly being fed by a neighbour. When they arrived the association were appalled at the conditions and the state of the puppies. They were all taken to the refuge and quarantined from the other dogs. The puppies were severely dehydrated and underfed and the adults were in a similar state but being older were OK, even if their bowls of food only lasted seconds. The staff and volunteers at the refuge fed and loved them, gave them cosy beds to sleep on which must have been heaven after the conditions they had just left. Sadly one of the puppies died but the other 3 survived and were adopted to loving families. One morning after Ficelle had been at the refuge for a few weeks they were surprised to find she had delivered 3 more pups, one of which died almost immediately but the other two survived and were bundles of joy. She had obviously been allowed to mate immediately after weaning the previous litter.

Then the fun started! The owner demanded the return of the dogs. Bearing in mind the conditions the dogs had been saved from, the refuge refused and the owner threatened the President and several volunteers with violence. Just after that, in accordance with the refuge’s policy, both of the dogs were sterlised. When the owner found out that had been done he stated that, when the dogs were returned he would kill them.. Unbelievably, as the owner was away when the dogs were rescued, the courts have said the dogs have to be returned this week which is sending them to certain death.

We are asking you to share this in the hope that somehow we can prevent the dogs being returned before Thursday.

This is Wolfen and Ficelle, together with a photo of the conditions they were living in with their four puppies when they were found.

Wolfen & Ficelle Wolfen & Ficelle conditions


Operation Oldie by Emma Lee

Anyone who has met Emma, will know she is a passionate, driven whirlwind of wonderfullness, full of love for the animals coming through the doors at the refuge where she volunteers.

One of Emma’s recent initiatives (one of many!) was Operation Oldie

OP Oldie

and Emma writes…

“Almost two months ago, I put together a little poster because there were over thirty Golden Oldies at Mornac, including ones that were considered ‘unadoptable’ like Smoke. This poster featured twelve of them. Of these twelve, seven have now found homes. Vic and Valix were adopted in France. Sonny, Papy and Zeus went to Germany. Tupie was adopted by her foster family. Smoke, of course, was adopted by a family in the Vosges. We are now down to just over twenty. And yes, I adopted one last week!

It is often hard to think that a doddery old pensioner like Sonny or Papy will ever find a home. It is sad to see dogs like Vic who are perfect in every aspect wasting months in the refuge. You know the potential heart-break that can face a family who take on an oldie, and you know they have to be a little different than those who want a puppy of 5 months who will spend 15 healthy and happy years in a family, if they are lucky.

It is easy to think ‘I’ll just send this dog for the attention of Twilight’, without thinking that there are plenty of other options to consider before giving in to the urge to simply send them for consideration at Twilight. I’m fairly sure Leeanne has a keen eye over all our operations for anyone who might need to become a pudding! In all honesty, I am sure that Sonny and Papy would have been perfect Twilighters, as would Zeus, but if they are perfect for Twilight, they would be perfect for other people’s homes too. We had a little boy that came in before Sonny and Papy, Manu, now Billy, adopted by a local family. I feel very grateful for our two old guys at Twilight, Sirius and Rocky, who are having a wonderful time despite their ailments and fragility. But there are other things I think it is worth doing before instantly flagging up oldies for Leeanne.

At Mornac, we are lucky to have the support of 30 Millions d’Amis along with a few other refuges in France who meet strict criteria. This means when you adopt an oldie, your vet can bill the foundation for up to 600€ of vets’ bills (not including vaccinations and euthanasia) to make sure they are in great health. This is a real sweetener for adoptions, but as it can’t be used in Germany, it is often not a huge consideration. The team at Mornac work incredibly hard to rehome these dogs and no option is left unexplored.

That said, there ARE still over twenty golden oldies available and I’m just about to start on a campaign for three brothers, Usty, Edge and Tino. Gorgeous Gipsy has lots to give. Handsome Victor is suffering because of his arthritis, and we have a deaf and blind poodle who really, really needs a foster home or a permanent adoption. He already has an interested party, by the way, and hopefully words will become actions.

As for my golden oldie? He fitted in immediately. He is asleep on the couch opposite me and he has been the least amount of trouble of any dog I’ve ever had here. He is clean, he sleeps without crying at me through the door, I have no 6am toilet runs, I tell him ‘coucher’ and he goes to get in bed. He trots at my side on walks, plays like an oversized puppy, gets on famously with my others and his big face gives me so much joy. I was a three-dog max household and he makes four seem like a doddle. I have no idea how long he will have – he is thirteen and a big dog – but he is a superstar. A friend said ‘if you can, you should.’ I think that should be the motto for anyone considering an oldie.

So what has made the difference? The refuge. They do everything they can for these oldies, instead of reaching for the needle. The staff and volunteers who endlessly promote the oldies. Good photos. Great position in the refuge (many are closer to the refuge reception). Stories in write-ups. Promotion on the website. Promotion on social media. Traditional media campaigns. Links with other refuges and with a very dedicated team of three women who run the links to German refuges and promote our dogs (and those at Poitiers and Chateauroux) via their website. English sites. Doglinks. The Hope Association.

One day I hope there will be no golden oldies. One day I hope nobody ever kicks out a dog who has put in years of service. I cried this week in the toilets over a labrador abandoned in a horrible, horrible state, abandoned to the streets for months, living in the marshes. But until then, I wanted to pass on some positivity. There are seven faces on this photo who have found forever homes. That in itself is the reason for all that hard work. I know that many of you out there feel despondent sometimes and I also know that other refuges are chipping away, chipping away and chipping away as well.”

If Emma has inspired you to adopt or foster an oldie, or you are not in a position to do so, but would like to help in some way, please get in touch with us at LAARF.

Emma’s blog can be found at Lady Justine’s Blog