Can you help us in 2015?

I hope everyone in blogland is having the Christmas they wished for.

It’s a great time to regroup and think about what you want to achieve in the coming year. If you are an animal lover and are interested in helping animals, all you need to do is find a way to do so.

Every time we do something, it means it’s a bit more than was being done before, whether it’s as much as adopting a pet or just by sharing the details of an animal in need, it all makes a difference.

What we need is more people to adopt, foster, volunteer and to fundraise and educate.

A year ago, although I’d often considered it, I had never been in a French refuge. Three years ago I had never even had a dog and suddenly, through LAARF, my life is full of them and people who care about them and it feels wonderful.

Many people are afraid they will not be able to handle the refuge environment. I won’t deny that sometimes it’s hard to leave a particular animal there and that it is noisy and smelly, but that doesn’t matter when it makes such a huge difference to the animals chances of being adopted, and to keeping them socialised, to improving their confidence and just to make their days more enjoyable.

There are some refuges who welcome help, but others who, for one reason or another, can’t.

We have one volunteer who is welcome, but has very strict lines within which she can operate. It hasn’t stopped her taking two extra dogs in to her own home, and personally sharing the plight of numerous others until she has found them a new forever home.

Another one struggled to be accepted when she started walking dogs where the walking area is just a small field and only one walker was allowed there each day, but she has a little group there now and at least one person is walking dogs each day.

Two volunteers have setup and run Facebook pages for their refuges. The chances of rehoming the animals is so much higher when they can be seen on the internet.

My local refuge can’t walk their dogs more than once a week as a neighbouring business complains about them. The only way I can help them is to donate bedding and food when I can afford it, and to spread the word about their dogs, so that’s what I do and then I go and walk dogs at another refuge.

Each of our members has their own corner of animal rescue that is close to their hearts, and in that way we can help lots of refuges and organisations, dogs and cats, old and young, but at the same time support each other. That support helps keep us sane, to share the successes and to keep us motivated through the tough times.

If you’d like to find out how you can help, the best place is on our Facebook group where you’ll be welcome with open arms. https://www.facebook.com/groups/433692586732464/

If you prefer to contact us outside facebook, you can join our forum at http://laarf.com/forum.html

Christmas Day 2014

 

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Mornac Advent Christmas Finale

The Mornac advent calendar has reached it’s finale. Eight of the dogs featured have been adopted and a few more were lined up to appear, but also found new homes. It’s great to see so many of them in a home for Christmas, especially Ufo and Dalton who had been in the refuge for years. The final six are here. Please consider adopting a dog…

Advent 24 2014

Benji is a mastiff and is a big, powerful boy. No cats, children or other dogs for Benji, which means his stay is sadly very likely to be a long one. Watching Benji being walked by people unfamiliar with big dogs and you will be most likely to see him needing three or four walkers, towed behind him like water skiiers. That said, I watched him being walked by a 5″2′ mastiff handler last week and he was as good as gold, walking to heel, sitting, following her every command. He absolutely must go to a home that has mastiff experience. He was removed from his home as part of an abuse case and his former owner had not given him much by way of instruction or love. He has finally reached the weight that he should be at, but with such a big boy, you can see how important it is for him to find an appropriate home. With expert owners, he is a lamb. With owners who aren’t prepared for such a boy, he’ll rule the roost.

Absolutely vital that Benji is shared – without it, he will sit in the refuge and never find a home. If you know any mastiff lovers or anyone who is good at handling big dogs, who might be missing a Benji, or of any mastiff groups, please let them know about him. He might not be Tiny Tim, but he would still like a happy ending to his Christmas Carol.

Benji
23 Poor Skype was having a hard time in the enclosure and was so excited to go out for a walk that he would happily bounce around like Tigger – a little disconcerting. He’s been at liberty at Mornac since August and is now super calm. He is choosy about his friends and gets on fine with some dogs and not so fine with others. He forms deep and loyal friendships with other dogs, as he does with humans too. Can you believe someone recently turned Skype down because he is free to wander around the refuge, rather than in an enclosure? Poor guy can’t win! He looked over-excited in the enclosure and now he’s out, he doesn’t look sad enough!

Skype is fine with cats. He is castrated. He is choosy about other males and females, but if you have other dogs, a female would probably be okay. Skype is a four-year-old pointer cross and has been at the refuge for two years. He will need a family to exercise him and tire him out – older children or teenagers would be just perfect if they’ll throw him a ball. He is smart, so if he’s not kept fairly busy, he’ll be destructive. Kongs, chews and play will make sure Skype behaves perfectly in your home. Having said that he’s a busy boy, he’s also a sucker for a bit of armchair love – all he wants is for you to spend time with him and he doesn’t care in what capacity. Love, play, belly rubs, all the same to Skype.

Skype
Behind door 22 we have Gentil – the most distinctive mutt of them all!

Now Gentil’s file says Griffon Bruxellois cross, but he is much bigger. My guess would be border terrier x boxer x griffon x muppet. He is a very handsome and unusual guy. Gentil is exactly that – very gentle. He is a very solemn soul and I’d love to see someone put the spark back into his eyes. He walks well, but is definitely a dog for those seeking a bit of sofa life rather than long romps in the country.

Gentil gets on with males on a case by case basis, but really would prefer to be an only dog. He isn’t interested in other dogs and I think it would be just fine with him if he were your only pet. If you have other dogs who are calm and well-behaved, or don’t feel the need to get in other dogs’ faces, Gentil would probably be okay with that too.

Gentil benefits from the 600€ fund from 30 Millions d’Amis (Officiel) to help you pay for any vets’ bills he might acquire in his old age. That said, he is so robust and hearty that he was judged to be less than 7 when he arrived.

If you adopt Gentil, you are going to find yourself with the happy talking point of a very unique dog, as well as seeing the spark come back into this boy’s sad eyes. What could be a better Christmas present?

Gentil

Ulla is down as a Great Dane cross, which is always surprising to any Great Dane lovers. Other than her beautiful harlequin colours, she’s not very much like a Great Dane! Ulla is a medium-to-large dog, but she’s definitely not in the big girl category. When Ulla arrived with Dali in July 2013, she was incredibly nervous and hesitant about everything – but she has made so much progress. She is a loving, affectionate dog. She must be adopted with Dali and they will need to be the only dogs. You might think that is a challenge, but hey, Alaska and Fairbanks, two husky brothers, were adopted together this week! If you’re considering one oldie, why not take two?

Ulla will need a home with no cats and no young children. All she wants for her retirement is a lovely, calm home where she can relax and enjoy the finer things in life. Both she and Dali are very pleasant to take for a walk and you could find yourself enjoying much longer walks than you thought you’d ever take, such is the joy of taking a stroll with these guys. Both dogs are quiet and don’t really grab your attention, which is why it’s time to see them in the spotlight.

Ulla

Vanda is a German shepherd cross, as you can tell from her lovely photo. She is on the little side and she is nine years old. Vanda is in great condition for her age and that cross-breeding and smaller size means she has avoided any congenital defects of bigger, pedigree GSDs. She is a sweet little dog who gets on fine with males, but is a little choosy about females. She has not yet been tested with cats.

Vanda is not going to need bags of exercise and she walks well on the lead. She would prefer to live in a quieter household and will not appreciate the hustle and bustle of a busy family or a family with very small children. She has a great temperament, a happy smile and is very affectionate. If you like GSDs, she’s going to thrill you.

Although Vanda is not a puppy, she still has a lot to give. Just because she is not a couple of years younger does not mean she deserves to spend months at the refuge and she will repay you in love, loyalty and kisses, I promise!

Vanda has reduced-price adoption fees and a small contribution of 80€ is all that is asked for her.

Vanda

Noah is another refuge veteran who really, really needs a home. He shouldn’t have to face another refuge winter and he’ll reward you infinitely with kisses and love if you can give him a warm spot by the fire. Noah is a black labrador cross who is coming up to eleven years old. He has always been on his own at the refuge and doesn’t particularly like or get on with other dogs. Definitely no males or females for Noah. He’s not aggressive towards them – he’d just rather not have to share his life with another animal – and who can blame him? He’s fine with cats though – so for any of you cat lovers looking for a little one to share your life, he might be just perfect!

Unfortunately, the stresses of refuge life have led to Noah licking his legs repeatedly in stress or boredom, as another refuge veteran Charly was also used to doing. Charly was rehomed a couple of months ago and the licking has stopped. Finding a home for Noah will also help him find better mental health. Noah loves walks and loves being petted. He’s a sweet, loyal little guy who will love you endlessly.

Noah benefits from 600€ of vet support for his vet bills in his latter years. He is in good health other than the sores on his legs and he’ll really benefit from a warm home and a bit of care.

Noah

Mornac Advent Calendar (days 13 to 18)

Some people worry, when adopting an older dog, that they may not be able to cope with the inevitability of their death. First, it’s worth saying that they have some life left in them, often years in fact. Second, it’s always tough when taking on an oldie as you worry more about their health and how long they’ll be with you. However, if this is the only thing holding you back from adopting an oldie, it is the only thing keeping them in the refuge. Though it is always hard when we lose a beloved animal, it is harder for these animals to spend month after month or even year after year in the refuge when they could be cosied up in your home. It is impossible to predict how long any animal will live – but it seems it is the oldies who must pay for our preoccupation with the fact that we will mourn them when they go – a fact that is true of any animal we bring into our home. It is not the quantity of days we spend with our animals, though: it is the quality. Five more oldies at Mornac for your consideration:

Behind door number 13 we have the delightful Smiley (who looks a bit terrified in this photo!)

Now, you have no reason whatsoever not to adopt Smiley. He is DELIGHTFUL. He is fine with most other dogs, though of course will need testing if you have one of character, so males and females are fine with him on the whole. He’s also fine with cats – so whatever your situation, Smiley is the dog for you.

Smiley was found as a stray at the beginning of October – and it’s hard to believe such a lovely old guy was more than likely kicked out after having provided loyal and faithful service. He walks well on the lead and isn’t a dog who follows his nose wherever it leads him. He is ten years old and any long-term illnesses are usually very apparent by Smiley’s age so he doesn’t suffer with anything that is going to become expensive. In fact, he’s in fine health for a dog of his size and age!

Smiley is a shepherd/beauceron cross, so he is on the larger side (although he is not enormous!) and he is just delightful. Whoever adopts him is going to take home a most marvellous Christmas present – a loyal and faithful companion who asks little more than a bit of love and tenderness.

Smiley

Behind Door 14 is the one and only Nichman!

Now poor Nichman doesn’t have much in his favour. He is big and old and a boy. He’s a boy who doesn’t like other boys. He’s not even really a fan of girls either, or cats. I’d not want to trust my chickens or rabbits to his care either. He is very happy to see his walkers and loves to play. Poor Nichman isn’t likely to find a home unless he’s shared and unless everyone helps find this big old guy a home.

He’s going to need very little more than a fairly secure garden and someone to take him for a walk every day. He may be old, but he has energy. He likes to be outsid but it would be nice if he had a little somewhere to keep him warm in the winter. He comes with 600€ vet support for his aches and pains of old age.

Nichman has been at the refuge for 5 long years and it’s time he found his home. He is 11 years old and a complete character. Someone must fall in love with that grizzled old mush, surely?

Tomorrow is his five year refuge anniversary. Wouldn’t it be nice if he could spend his next anniversary in a warm home?

Nichman

Cachou REALLY needs a home for Christmas. He has arthritis which is most certainly being worsened by the cold air of an outdoor lifestyle and although he has shelter and a cosy basket, the warmth of a home will no doubt make his pains a little less. Plus – and this is the unbelieveable part! – he’s been at the refuge for four years!

So what do you need to know? Cachou is a spaniel/beagle cross. He is eleven years old and somewhat portly. A controlled diet and a bit of gentle exercise will also help with his arthritis. Being a little porker definitely isn’t making it easier for him to move about. Like all the dogs over 10 yrs old, he comes with a 600€ fund from 30 Millions d’Amis (Officiel) to help treat his arthritis, which, all being well should go a long way to cover his treatment.

Cachou is a little grumpy with people who fuss him or take him by surprise these days – so a home without small children is a must. He may be an old veteran but it doesn’t stop him being a chicken chaser and a cat hound either – his spaniel and beagle ways are obviously very strong! He will therefore need a home that is only home to himself or other dogs. Cachou is currently housed with a male, but he can be picky about boys. Girls are no problem at all.

Cachou

Behind door 17 we have the delightful Tobby, who would dearly love a home for Christmas.

Tobby is a very handsome twelve-year-old Belgian Malinois Shepherd who still has a lot of spring in his step. He loves walks and he LOVES playing. He’s easy to walk, never too powerful and he’s very focused and attentive. So why has this boy been waiting for a home for a year? Yes, he’s big – he’s a shepherd. Yes, he’s old – but he’s in great shape. He gets on fine with most dogs and is currently homed with a castrated male. He is a little unaware of how big he is and he still plays hard, so no small children please. I feel quite sure he would love a home with older teens who would take an interest in him, though. Like many Malinois, he is smart, keen and friendly.

If my twelve-year old big boy is anything to go by, there’s still lots of life and love left in the old guy yet. Playful, fun, attentive, okay with males – Tobby is a dog who is going to fit in really well in many homes. Don’t let him waste any more time at the refuge when he is going to be a superb, loyal and loving companion.

Tobby

Now here’s a little lady behind door number 18 that I really expected to have gone by the time we got to her, and I’m sad to say she hasn’t… it’s our little Tulipe

Tulipe is a sweet, affectionate medium-sized dog who is definitely a Heinz 57, though she is down as a shepherd cross. Quite a lot smaller than a shepherd, you’d be pushed to find much of any one breed in her history!

Tulipe may be twelve, but she is still lively. Sadly, she spends most of her time in her kennel watching the world go by as she waits for someone to take her out for a walk or to be petted by our ‘petting therapist’ Louis. She is often very excited to see other dogs on a walk and how she gets on with them depends on how they are with her. She’s often in reception with five or six other dogs though and is well-used to doggie manners. Older dogs or dogs who know how to behave around others will be a lot easier for Tulipe. She is interested in cats, but not really bothered in chasing them. Tulipe LOVES long petting sessions and if you want a dog who will curl up with you by the fire, a dog who isn’t demanding or in need of two-hour walks, Tulipe is a perfect choice.

She is in good health although you will need to give her ears a regular inspection as she has had trouble with them in the past.

Tulipe

Thank you to Emma Lee for all content.

Any room by your fire?

Advent 7-19 2014

We’re a bit behind the curve with the Mornac SPA advent calendar, but look at it now. Five of the dogs have been adopted, including the wonderful Ufo who had been at the refuge for six years. Everyone is particularly pleased about that one.

So, who else do we have? Of days 7 to 12, Alaska is on his way to Germany. The other five are here, and all benefit from a 600€ fund to be used for veterinary treatment, excluding vaccinations, as they are over 10 yrs old:

Edge has spent four years in the refuge, having been found under a bed following the death of their master. Over the years, he has watched their other pack members being adopted, and it has never been his turn. Will someone crack for sweet, little Edge?

A quiet home without other males is a must for 11 year old Edge, and he’d probably appreciate an older family or couple who won’t ask too much of him and won’t expect him to be all over them. It’s hard to get used to love when you’ve never had much of it in your life. He is okay with cats and female dogs.

Poor Edge has only had the briefest of reprieves. Back in 2013, he was adopted for a short while, but returned when the owner’s circumstances changed. He is such a gorgeous little guy and he has known so little love, it’s surely his time to find someone with a big heart who can make up for all the years he’s spent without a home of his own.

Edge

Ten-year-old Justin may not have the years of refuge time under his belt like the first few doors that have opened on the refuge advent calendar, but he certainly doesn’t seem to have had an easy ride these last few years. He arrived at the refuge painfully thin and obviously had some problems eating as he often refused treats. His ears were also in a terrible state. Now he is in a loving foster, he’s found his appetite and is managing to put away lots of pasta and rice (and cat biscuits!) though dog biscuits are proving a bit much for him. Justin needs a home who will give him a bit of pampering and perhaps use some of the 600€ vets’ support pack from 30 Millions d’Amis to investigate why he’s having so many problems eating. It could just well be old age though, and Justin preferring soup to hard biscuits. I know how he feels!

Justin is fine with other male dogs and with females. After 9 days of advent dogs, it’s about time we featured one for all you lovelies who already have cats and dogs. He’s also okay with cats too. He is deaf and you will need to bear this in mind – a quieter home without the hustle and bustle of the refuge will probably do him the world of good. He can be a little snappy at food time – though he might just be worried someone will sneak up and have off with his gourmet cuisine!

His foster Mummy would be delighted to answer any questions you may have…

Justin

Behind door number 10 we have the delightful little breton spaniel, Doucette. She’s the first lady on the advent calendar and it’s time she found a forever home. Having arrived at the refuge in March, she is facing her first winter in the cold of an enclosure.

Doucette means ‘little sweetie’ and she certainly looks like a little sweet-heart when you have a sausage to hand! Doucette is not such a little sweetie around cats and it’s imperative that she find a home without any felines. Although she is eleven, she is still very active and she really enjoys a walk. That walk will, of course, turn into a sprint should a cat be involved! Doucette is fine with male dogs and will need testing if you have female dogs, but she is not aggressive towards others in general.

Doucette has had some surgery to treat a few more serious problems, but she really needs a home where she can be warm and loved. She has some pain in her hind quarters and is not a fan of being petted around her back end. Like with many female spaniels who can be a little particular, it may be best to let her do the approaches, as she is very affectionate as long as she decides it’s time to be! Doucette will not appreciate a home with young children or a lot of hustle and bustle, so a quiet home where she can wag her busy little tail and flash you her best and most winsome smile for a treat would be just perfect. She is a little diamond and she just needs to find the home that suits her.

Doucette

Drack is a big old boy, with a lot of shepherd in him. Yes, another big old boy who doesn’t like males or cats and will be happiest in a home where he is with another female dog. He isn’t hard to walk – though he is not a fan of other male dogs passing. Every single volunteer who walks Drack is amazed by what a good boy he is and how easy he is to walk. He has quickly become a favourite because he’s such a magnificent boy! Unfortunately, although he only came in in March, he is likely to be a long-term old guy seeing as he shares so many characteristics with some of the other big oldies. Big, male, old. Not a fan of male dogs. Not a fan of cats. It just mean we have to work a little harder to share him and find him a home.

Not only has he lost his home this year, but he has lost the best friend he arrived with too. It means he more than deserves a big, big share to help him find a home where he will be loved more than enough to make up for all the sadness he’s faced this year.

Drack is eleven years old. He will hopefully need very little as he is doing okay – although he was very ill earlier in the year. Who can give my lovely big teddy bear a home and show him that life is not over yet? Even a foster home for the winter would be just wonderful.

Drack

Val is a real sweet ten-year-old Breton spaniel with such a sad face. He’s a little guy who just puts his head down and gets on with it, biding his time until he is adopted. He was adopted recently on a trial period for two weeks, but it didn’t work out and his family left no words on his behaviour or to say if he had any problems. I would guess if he has two weeks under his belt, they weren’t huge, immediate problems at any rate! Val is gentle to walk, affectionate and loving. He’s going to make someone a great companion. If you want someone who’ll sit with you and appreciate a loving hand from time to time, Val is that dog. He’s not high-energy or demanding, and he looks a lot like life has beaten him into quietude. I’d love to see him regain his spaniel skip.

This little Breton spaniel gets on well with male and female dogs and will need testing with cats. He is a spaniel after all and they are hunters at heart.

Val

They just keep coming

Some days are harder than others when you volunteer at a refuge. There’s no pattern to it, but often a combination of things mean your emotions take a battering and you wonder about the futility of what you’re doing.

I had a day a bit like that yesterday.

The thing that keeps us doing it, is finding new homes for the dogs and cats who need one. During the week we heard of three different cases where people had offered homes to dogs, but it hadn’t worked out.  All for different reasons that couldn’t be helped, but three instances where we’d wrongly thought they’d found a happy ending.

Then at Mornac alone, there were 18 new arrivals, but only 5 adoptions. Two of those new entries were a pair of the most gentle old labs, 10 and 12 years old. It’s when you see beautiful dogs like that, who’s only problem is their misfortune, that you realise you can’t solve the problem. There will always be people dying who leave behind beloved pets, there will always be neglect, cruelty and abandonment so the animals will always need help.

I was lucky to be visiting the refuge yesterday. When I feel depressed about the situation, nothing picks me up like an afternoon walking the dogs.

Box after box of waggy tales waiting and hoping for a bit of attention, or even better, a walk! There were lots of walkers yesterday, including a new pair of pairs of legs.

My friend and I walked at least 12 dogs between us. At the end of the afternoon, it looked as if most of the dogs had been out, although they still look at you as if to say “is it my turn now?” I think they spend the quiet time practicing the look and the moving from one paw to the other in anticipation!

We walked the pair of old labs. Their tails were wagging from the minute we looked at them to the minute we left them. They walked beautifully on the lead, they obviously love each other and they desperately need a home together.

I wish I’d had my camera. When we passed them later on, they were curled up in their bed together. They’d be no trouble. I hope they find a new home soon.

I came away feeling happy that I’d been, but wondering how we can do more to help find more people to come and take one of the dogs and cats home. So many of the dogs are old and need the warmth of a home.

Onward and upward…

Oldie from the coldy 2

Can you make these Christmas Wishes come true?

The old or big or black dogs find it harder to find a home than others. The same applies to the dogs who have been treated badly and who therefore find it more difficult to trust people.

At Mornac, Emma Lee came up with an Advent Calendar to help promote some of the dogs who have been at the refuge for a long time and here are the first six. Each of them benefit for coming with 600€ towards vet fees, excluding vaccinations, as they are over 10 years old and they can be found at the SPA Mornac in dept 16.

Advent 1-6 2014

Handsome Ufo is Dog Number 1. Six years in the refuge for this handsome labrador.

This boy loves his food! He WILL snaffle through your belongings if he so much as smells the faintest whiff of a treat. He is okay with males but needs a house without cats. He also needs a family who understand he is a big boy and he needs firm rules, otherwise Mr Ufo might be tempted to get the upper hand. He will also need a home with no young children as even after twelve years, he hasn’t learned how big and powerful he can be. He’s certainly on the large size for a labrador, that’s for sure!

Ufo loves water and loves to play. The fact that he doesn’t look or act twelve is probably partly responsible for his long stay, but just because he is as happy and playful as the day is long does not mean he doesn’t deserve a home this Christmas.

Ufo

Sweet little Tino is currently the refuge’s oldest boy, almost fifteen years of age. He has been at the refuge for four years and there is a real risk that if Tino doesn’t find a home soon, he won’t have the time to enjoy it like he should.

Worse still, Tino hasn’t had much of a life, being found huddled up in fear with his brothers and sisters under a bed when his master died. Over the years, some of his other siblings have found homes, but that day has not yet arrived for Tino.

Although Tino looks like a German shepherd, he is in fact a miniature, standing only 40cm at the shoulders. He is a shy, quiet little boy, still nervous and unsure about things until he gets to know you. Tino is probably not going to be the kind of dog constantly seeking out love and affection and he will appreciate a calm and quiet home where he can finally come out of his shell.

Tino gets on well with some female dogs, but is not a fan of other males (not even his brothers!) He is okay with cats and children, though he will need a gentle family who appreciate that he needs a little space. A quiet home will be just perfect for Tino. He isn’t much a fan of being groomed, but appreciates a bit of petting from time to time. He is in great health for his age.

Tino

Behind door number 3 is Paulo, a beautiful labrador of twelve years old.
Seeing Paulo, curious head on one side, coming to see who has come to see him in his home of five years, is incredibly hard. He spends a lot of his time in his kennel, only popping his head out if you stop at his enclosure to say hi. He is always very pleased to see you and to go out for a walk, is gentle and happy to see the world.
So what’s Paulo’s problem? He’s a labrador – often a very hard breed to find homes for, for inexplicable reasons. And who wouldn’t love a big, friendly labrador? There’s a reason they are one of the most popular breeds in the world! Unfortunately, being popular also means they are in large numbers in refuges, where there are many other labradors to choose from. He’s also a big boy, and bigger dogs often find it harder to find homes, unlike the small breeds whose paws often barely touch the ground. Plus, he’s a boy, and boys outnumber girls at the refuge by three to one. For the oldies, boys outnumber the girls by five to one. If only he were a small female Yorkie, he wouldn’t have waited five years for his home.
Paulo is not a fan of other males, nor a fan of cats. He’s currently in an enclosure on his own but that’s not to say he wouldn’t get on with female dogs – he would just need a bit of a try. He loves treats and he loves gentle walks, he is a big fan of kind people and people who want to spend a little time with him.
Being twelve is a good innings for a bigger dog, but there is no doubt that Paulo is going to find a sixth winter in the refuge impossibly hard. He is in good health, although he isn’t as spry as he once was.

Paulo

Behind door number 4, we have “big bad Wolf” who isn’t bad, although he is big! Wolf is okay with females but not a fan of cats or other male dogs.

Wolf is a big old guy who has a lot of German Shepherd in him, though he is quite a bit bigger. He has the cutest head tilt and a lopsided ear which give him a certain rakish charm. Wolf is the undisputed favourite of many walkers, including all the men who walk him regularly. He is ten years old and is bearing up well for his age, give or take the odd hip pain which you might expect for a dog of Wolf’s age and size, about to spend his fifth winter at the refuge. Surely it is about time this boy found a loving home to keep him warm and to care for him in his twilight years?

Wolf loves his walks, loves being groomed, loves attention and believe it or not is actually a little timid – definitely not a bad boy, just a shy one! He would love a home where he can have a warm spot to stretch out, a comfy bed and an owner who would love a gentle dog to take on rambles or short walks. Wolf doesn’t ask for much but would no doubt appreciate a home that is quiet and peaceful, as well as the occasional bone.

Wolf

Behind door number 5, we have Usty!

Little Usty is undoubtedly the sweetest little shy boy on the block. He tries so hard to like people and to be social, but sometimes it’s all too much and he goes for a hide under his bed. He is a lovely little guy – only 40cm at the shoulders – and with a look of a German Shepherd, just a miniature one!

Usty has not had the best run of luck these last five years. Coming up on his fifth year in the refuge, he was found with his brothers and sisters cuddled up under the bed when his owner died. You will have already seen older brother Tino as he was behind door number 2. Usty is a little more social than Tino, and a little younger, being only eleven years old. He is bearing well for his age, but a warm bed and a place by the fire will make an enormous difference. He really is the sweetest guy and I can’t imagine he’ll be a stick of bother. He is not fussy or attention-seeking. He is gentle and when he gets to know you, he really opens up.

Usty, like all the dogs so far, is not a fan of other male dogs. It is probably this factor making him hard to fit into a home. He is terrified of cats and wouldn’t feel safe in a home where there were lots of them. A home on his own or with females would be just perfect. He’d really appreciate an older couple or a quiet family where he can finally relax. He is really so deserving – a delightful little guy, loved by everyone – will this Christmas bring Usty the present he so deserves? He’s going to make a very fine companion and who’s to say if finding love won’t be everything he needs to feel secure for the first time in five years.

Usty

Our number 6 is eleven year old lab/husky cross,Fairbanks!
He’s a happy, energetic boy who needs an owner who doesn’t mind a 30-minute romp every day. Fairbanks is friendly and outgoing, confident and affectionate. He loves a run, will happily jog alongside you, is just delighted to be out in the fresh air, and heartbroken when you put him back in his enclosure.
So why hasn’t Fairbanks been snapped up after two and a half years at the refuge? Partly because he is – you guessed it! – big, male and old. He also must leave with his brother Alaska (who might well be behind one of the doors of the refuge Advent calendar!) Most people take one look at Fairbanks and Alaska and think they will have their work cut out with these two big husky crosses. During the summer, they were walked regularly by two teenage walkers who loved to take them for a quick run and a slower walk which makes me think these old guys would be just perfect with older teenagers or a sporty family. In fact, I’ve never yet met a teenager who didn’t fall instantly in love with these boys, and vice versa. They love the outdoors and still play together all the time, but they are sociable, responsive dogs who aren’t just fixated on everything but you.
Fairbanks is not particularly interested in other dogs or cats, but he can play rough so a home without cats may well be preferable since they have no idea what cats are. Having had little by way of education, they have not had any rules or boundaries but plenty of exercise, games and time outside in a secure enclosure will mean that when they come inside, they will be much calmer. So why is Fairbanks one of my favourites? Because he is so much FUN! A lively, good-natured, happy, goofy boy who isn’t showing his age and loves to play – well, there’s little in life to bring a smile to your face than an oldie playing like a pup, especially with his brother, who he loves very much. Big, affectionate dogs are just the best.Fairbanks