4TH APRIL 2024

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First of all the excellent news that this beautiful Husky has been homed after such a long wait. There had been several offers from people but Danielle will only rehome when she considers the conditions are totally fitting to the dog. So, to agree to a Husky going to live in the South of France, for example, is just nuts. Huskies need a cold climate and finally THE person has arrived, so the lucky dog will be going to live in Switzerland ! It is a lovely story actually, the daughter of a couple who live nearby always goes to visit Danielle when she is in town and walks dogs for Danielle. Ever since the Husky has been with Danielle (over six months now) the kind girl would take him on REALLY LONG WALKS. They bonded beautifully but the living accommodation in Switzerland was not suitable for dog adoption. That situation has changed and much to everyone’s delight girl, partner and Husky are starting a new life together.

New additions here at Poorpaws too. I looked after a couple of dogs for a month for Danielle when she was away recently. a lovely couple of dogs, both of whom had confidence problems, one had no confidence and growled at me at first, the second too much confidence and tended to use his teeth too much, not only for eating ! They settled in here well and used to play beautifully together. I had to leave a lead on the nipper one so that I could get hold of him without going for the collar (lots of dogs don’t like that). Well, when Utah realised that by taking the lead in her mouth, she could drag Robbie around the garden, she thought that was great fun. As she is bigger it was not really a fair game, so I finally decided to take the lead off and they would race around the garden like lunatics have the best time. So, come Tuesday it was time to take them back to Danielle. With a heavy heart I took them back, convincing myself that it was best for them. When I left them and Utah realised I was leaving without her, she howled. Well, I speak ‘dog’, and she was definitely saying “I trusted you and you betrayed me”. Tears all the way home, a sleepless night ……. and this morning I am off to get them back.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all who came to the Book Bonanza on the 23rd. So lovely to see you all and to receive all your lovely comments. Apologies for our ‘over enthusiastic’ cashiers, they mean well and I love them. We arived with 100 boxes of books and left with 50 so that was a huge success in my book – see what I did there ?! We took 1,660 euros on the day and with more donations coming in, I’m hopeful of getting to 2,000. Thank you also for the fabulous cat food donations which have been very gratefully received by people who need a helping hand. I know I say it each time, but I really do enjoy preparing the sales and from the many kind remarks I know you enjoy them too. I try to get as many up to date books as possible and, please, if any of you are looking especially for any author or title, do let me know so I can look out for them. Older titles often don’t make the cut and get into the sale, especially if the condition is not that good, but I may be excluding just the book you are looking for, so do drop me a line.

Well, the weather is looking Spring like at last and I am attacking our garden – this year with help !!! We have a very large garden, most of which is left wild, but I do like nice ‘cosy’ corners. The friend who is helping me does make me laugh, I can’t bear to throw away any piece of junk, but “Non, Suzanne, ca c’est moche, faut que ca part” says Virginie, and, of course, she is right ! She is working miracles and is achieving exactly what I want. Mind you, I notice that prices for even little plants in garden centres have boomed. Photos, next newsletter !

I can hardly believe that we will be off to Ile de Re in two weeks time, my reading box is packed with books I know I will need a push to get in to and I will have the time to do just that, not just diving in and out for ten minutes at a time. Bliss !

Sue x

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4TH MARCH 2024

Well, no of course my mobile ‘phone did not miraculously start working on the 1st February !!! So back down to Leclerc after giving the ‘phone a weekend to pull itself together and start working. The lad who looked about ten, who had ‘dealt’ with me a few weeks previously did, I am sure, a mental ‘eye roll’ when he saw me approaching. Hi sighed as he took my ‘phone, pressed a few buttons, then his expression changed. Oh, the old lady is right, this ‘phone is not working ! However, a quick call to Reglomobile on a secret number and abracadabra, we had lift off. Apparently on the previous visit the Reglo person had set everything in place but had ommited to press the button to get everything going. I am happy to report that all is going well except that I still cannot received calls on the mobile at home because we have no mobile reception here. Unless (!) you use Whatsapp, but that’s a whole new ball game.

Adoptions have been going well at La Mere aux Betes and Danielle is abot to take her well earned annual visit home to Switzerland so the refuge will be closed from 9th to 31st March. The poor husky is still looking, but one piece of excellent news is that Rex the Springer who we suspect of being deaf and who was to be transferred here to Poorpaws tomorrow has had a brilliant stroke of luck in the form of a lovely guy who ‘lost’ his elderly deaf dog last year and who has decided that he is ready to take in another companion. When he saw Rex on the website he felt that he is exactly what he needs. So Rex will go on a trial period whilst Danielle is away and we are all crossing everything that all goes well.

No need, I am sure to remind you that our next Book Bonanza will be on 23rd March and I am collecting and sorting like mad. I know I say it every time, but we really have got a great selection of excellent condition books. Some brilliant authors, old and new plus some old favourites who I have included having found that when I left some out, there was sure to be someone looking for just that book.

As you all know, Poorpaws and La Mere aux Betes, primarily help out dogs in need, but we are fully conscious that there are very many cats who don’t have such a good life either and there are just as many people helping them. I know of one elderly lady who gives an enormous amount of time, and more money than she should, feeding the many strays around where she lives, plus getting them sterilised. Then there are many families who are struggling to feed themselves let alone their pets. So, at the next Book Bonanza there will be a bin outside the door for any cat food you would like to donate, be it croquettes or tins. These will be distributed to persons in need of a bit of help.

Oh, I managed ‘no biscuit February’, but ate more cake, so that was a bit of a farce. Can I do no chocolate March ? Well that’s been a no no already, perhaps I’ll try again April ……….

Take care,

Sue x

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SIRIUS

sdr

Sirius here is a beautiful (stating the obvious) pedigree Berger Blanc Suisse, three years old. We are looking for someone who has experience of the breed and the time and energy to give . Sirius is hyper sensitive and very active needing to use up energy both physical and mental. He has a good basic education, “sit”, “down”,”wait” however walking on the lead needs a bit of ‘attention’ ! He has no problems with the dogs and cats whose home he shares at the moment but would definitely benefit from being the only dog of the household, needing time to interact with other dogs. Having had problems with some other dogs, he is wary and scared when meeting new friends and this can manifest in him being initially grumpy. Sirius is looking for a new home because his owners situation has changed and they no longer have the necessary free time to devote to him. For more information and photos, please get in touch with me. Currently in Montpellier, his owners are prepared to travel to find him the right home.

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1ST FEBRUARY 2024

Again I am sorry to have to start the newsletter with the report of the death of one of Poorpaws’ first pups adopted. Dear Elmo bade his owners farewell on the 9th January after spending 15 years with Becky and Tom. He was just a fabulous dog from the day they adopted him and I am so happy that they all found each other. I just hope Olivia was there to welcome Elmo to his ‘new home’ I am sure they will be having great fun together.

Well I did it ! Dry January, ticked ! It wasn’t that difficult after all and one definite benefit was that I slept so much better. I find that I sleep for about an hour after going to bed, then lay awake for a couple of hours before grabbing a few more zzzzzzz. Alcohol free and I slept six, seven and once, eight hours non stop ! Brilliant. I’m not giving up the sauce completely but certainly intend to keep it limited.

Next challenge ? Biscuit free February, now that will be a toughie !

This month we had fibre connected. We were assured that the laptop connection would be much faster so went ahead. Huh, no difference whatsoever. I have also had problems with Reglomobile. Trying to get through on the ‘phone took two days then the lady I spoke to did not seem to understand that we have no mobile reception here. In the end, she got snappy with me and I got snappy with her. I ended up going down to Leclerc where a very nice young man and lady took 45 minutes to sort out the problem and assured me that my ‘phone would work perfectly from 1st February. We shall see. Amid all the frustrations I realised that I have lived for 70 years without a mobile ‘phone, so will it really matter if I continue my life without one ? All it does is take up more time with Whatsapp messages – no I CANNOT ignore them !!!

Danielle has had quite a good month with all the pups she had going to new homes except for one little beauty – look on the adoptions page, OMG a real aaaaaahhhh ! There are so many dogs on that page at the moment, all of them beauties and dear, possibly deaf, Rex, faces a long time at the refuge unless a guardian angel presents his/herself.

I am gearing up towards the next book bonanza (23rd March) and am actively collecting now. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but please, please, please, good condition books only. I recently had to throw away two huge bags full of yellowing, damp, old, stained books, complete with the dead insect collection which was included. I think people think that oh, second hand books are acceptable in any condition but, durrh, no ! So, paperback novels are the most popular, auto/biographies, historical fact and fiction are good too. Please no out of date maps and travel books. This sale’s treats are hard back books at half price (so 50 cents) and childrens’ books are, again, free. There are some cracking hardbacks which people seem to ignore, possible because they are heavy and can give you quite a blow if they fall on your nose when you fall asleep when reading in bed. My solution, keep them next to your fireside chair and keep the paperbacks for the bedside table. If you have books to donate, get in touch and I can arrange to meet up or collect.

Have a good month and if anyone sees a hot yellow planet floating around, send it down to the Lot please.

Sue x

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UDGY AND ULLY

Udgy and Ully are two eight month Welsh Corgi mixes rescued from Roumania. They are very shy and a couple of visits to La Mere aux Betes in Castelnau Montratier would be essential to make friends with either of these two girls. Onec they are used to you they will show their love. A home without children is recommended. Heaven knows what they have been through before arriving here. The girls can be adopted separately and would probably benefit from that. Adoption fee applies.

Please note that Danielle will not normally take dogs rescued from abroad, this was totally a one off.

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TELLIS

Tellis is an 18 month old Springer Spaniel with bags of energy -have you ever met a Springer without ?! – she is loving, gets on very well with other dogs and has a good nose, which could be turned towards truffle hunting ! If you are looking for a good family dog and you have a fenced in garden, look no further. Adoption fee applies.

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HARLEY CHARLEY

Cutest hand reared kitten, turned into magnificent impressive cat. Sadly, Harley Charley does not like his brothers and sisters and is making their lives a misery. HC would like to be King of his world, so if you are looking for a cat to keep others out of your garden, and/or a mouser barn cat, then Harley is for you.

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3RD JANUARY 2023

Eek, why oh why did I agree to do ‘Dry January’ ?! I would not consider myself a heavy drinker, a glass of wine or two with supper, then usually I fall asleep before even finishing the second. Get the Prosecco out and I may make more of an effort ! However, I must admit to an excess of alcohol over the Festive Season, partly because Ernst and I were up in the mountains at La Clusaz staying with his sister and her husband and family and boy can they put it away !!

I was also drinking for other reasons, to deaden the pain and try not to be the spectre at the feast. You see my beloved Olivia, the love of my life, died unexpectedly the week before Christmas. She was not ill and was not even six years old, but I got up on the Friday morning to find her dead in the garden.

I know many of you will know the pain of losing a much loved dog so I don’t need to describe the absolute agony. She was a bit of a runaway rascal and I just thank St. Cadbury that whatever happened, happened here in the garden and not when she was on one of her hikes.

I must also mention Dotti, who was adopted by Sheila and Bob when she (Dotti) was eleven months old. She died in October aged a good, very good, 16 years old !!!! I know Sheila and Bob are suffering and I can only thank them from the bottom of my heart for giving Dotti the happiest of happy lives.

A good friend sent me a quotation when she heard about Olivia, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” …..which immediately set me off again but it is a lovely sentiment.

Right, tissues away. I hope you all had a happier Christmas and fingers crossed that 2024 will be a great year.

What would make a great year for Danielle (La Mere aux Betes) would be if some (all !) of the dogs she has there could be adopted. She has some beautiful ones there at the refuge in Castelnau and if I was younger, she would have a lot less. The little dogs go like hot cakes, but the medium size and large dogs take longer. Personally I prefer medium to large, they are more difficult to trip over ! Let’s hope that my February waffle starts with adoption successes !

Can I here make a plea for everyone to put their telephone numbers on to the collars of your dogs in indelible marking pen ? It really would make life easier for those charged with taking care of lost dogs. There was a case before Christmas when two dogs went missing, were found, then escaped again, then were missing for several days. A lot of people put in a lot of work to get them back home and it all could have been settled very quickly had there been a number on the collar. Don’t bother with the medalion things, they come off as I well know. Number on the collar is the only sure way of getting your dog back. Not everyone will take a dog to the vet to see if he/she is chipped, but if there is a telephone number, easy peasy !

Right, 6pm (nearly) time for a little apero ….. oh nooooooo !!!

Sue x

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1ST DECEMBER 2023

Somebody sent this to me and I thought it was rather sweet …….and so true !

So, November, what went on ? Of course there was the book sale on the 4th which was wonderful as usual. Fewer people than usual so therefore slightly smaller takings, but a very respectable 1,700 which meant the vets’ bills were settled and there is enough in the tin for dog food and treats for a few months. A huge thank you to all of you who braved the wet and windy weather, and thank you also for the kind comments and pleas to keep going. I love books so I will keep on for as long as I am able and as long as you keep coming. I think next time I am going to have to look out for young muscle to help load and unload the van, that is becoming more problematical when most of us have dodgy backs now and there are very many heavy boxes to shift. I must apologies also for the number of punaises diaboliques (stink bugs) in the boxes ! I went through the boxes the night before the sale but clearly missed a few of the beggars !! Hopefully the Winter will get rid of them and I will check more carefully next time.

Danielle is absolutely snowed under with very adoptable dogs and is unable to take any more until a space becomes available. She does an amazing job there on her own taking great care of the dogs -plus other animals who find their way to her door – doing all the feeding, walking, kennel cleaning and maintenance work alone ,with a little help for the latter. So, if anyone living near Castelnau has time to spare and can give a hand, mainly with cleaning kennels, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Mostly she is asked for small dogs weighing under 10 kilos but these are few and far between. These requests usually come from elderly people but quite honestly I think an older medium sized dog would be better, because the little ones can so easily trip you up.

Our Brittany Spaniel Isabella is giving us some sleepless nights at the moment. A couple of months ago she was coughing non stop and I ended up taking her to a clinic in Toulouse to get grass sead heads removed from her throat. All was good for several weeks, then she started coughing again. To cut a long story short, it seems that a grass sead which couldn’t be removed because it was too far down, has shifted to a lung and may be doing serious damage. An operation is out of the question, much too major and she is not in the first flush of youth. Apart from the cough she is as perky as always, running around and eating well, so it’s fingers crossed that the situation doesn’t deteriorate.

I went to England for 48 hours for the funeral of a dear friend and on the flight over, got chatting to a lady who lives in Nice (I used to live just along the road) and was going to visit her son and daughter in law in Southend on Sea, where I lived until I was in my twenties. Then on the way back from the funeral I sat next to a French lady who had lived in England for over 40 years and she was coming back just for 48 hours for her Mother’s funeral ! On the Sunday I left Toulouse in brilliant sunshine and arrived at Stansted in pouring rain, then on the way back I left Stansted and arrived in Toulouse in a rain storm. In fact the pilot had to have two goes at landing ! (The second was successful !) My friend Tricia, whose funeral I went to, was one of the kindest gentlest people I have ever known and clearly many thought the same, there were 200 people at her funeral, including pupils of hers, now adults, who said she was the kindest, most favourite teacher in the school. She always had time to listen to the children and help with any problems being to do with school or home. Sadly missed.

I’m off again on the 7th for a pre Christmas get together with pals in England, then a big change for Ernst and me, we are going up to Annecy and La Clusaz for Christmas to be with Ernst’s sister as she celebrate’s her 80th birthday on Christmas Day. She has booked a restaurant up in the mountains for dinner and I’m not looking forward to that. Last time we went there, we drove up a certain way, then transferred to a sort of snow mobile. On the way down I, being the smallest, was put on to the front of the machine with just two handles either side to hang on to as we hurtled down in the snow. I reminded myself of Bette Davis in the film Now Voyager with Claude Rains where, at one point, Bette Davis goes out on a yacht with a much younger man, the weather changes and gets stormy and Bette Davis tries to pretend she is having fun whilst being blown about all over the place. That was me, smiling and laughing whilst all the time thinking ” Get me out of here !!!” Hey ho !!

Have a lovely Christmas and if you are thinking of getting a fourlegged pal, do go to La Mere Aux Betes and give a dog the best Christmas present ever. Danielle has got some really lovely ones there at the moment.

Sue x

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TAKAR

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Fabulous Takar is an 11 month Shepherd/Dalmation (I kid you not !) mix. He is a lovely boy, ok with other dogs, cats, children and is just in need of a little more education. Takar has lived inside and outside and would need a home preferably with a closed in garden and where he would not be left alone. A great dog for a family who are willing to help him in his aim to be the best ! Chipped vaccinated and neutered, adoption fee applies.

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ROUXY

Meet Rouxy, a beeyootiful, handsome ginger male, chipped and vaccinated with a carnet de santé. Rouxy and his brother were adopted as kittens three years ago and got on very well until, possible as a result of other males cars moving into the neighbourhood, they have decided that “this house ‘aint big enough for the both of us’ !!! Rouxy can be a house cat but is just as happy outside hunting. If you can give this gorgeous creature a home, please get in touch with me. 0565245303 / susanglibbery@gmail.com.

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IST NOVEMBER 2023

Today, being all Saints Day, or as they say here in France ‘the day of the dead’, I thought I would slip in a little ‘In Memorium’. Over the last couple of months I have had emails from adopters from way back when Poorpaws started, advising me that their adoptees have died. These four dogs were all adopted at about the same time and all left very closely too. I won’t say they went to ‘Doggy Heaven’ because I know that they all lived in doggy heaven on earth, so I hope they had a great reunion wherever and are telling stories of their happy lives and travels.

Riley, oh Riley, what a shock we all got when you arrived, having been told you were a lovely little dog. Lovely yes, certainly, but ‘little’ ???????? I thought I would be taking you back home but Brenda and husband, gasped and, after getting over the surprise took you anyway. Brenda tells me they never regretted it for a minute and they had thirteen happy years together. Now I understand the meaning of ‘life of Riley’, he certainly had it !

Olga, you gorgeous girl. A very special lady you were, being a daughter of our own dear Tega who, after outliving two owners, died back here last year. Olga had more luck than Mum, she had only one home and a very special, happy, long life as an ‘only child’ with Silke and Adam.

Here is trickster Oscar whose adoption still makes us chuckle. When Oscar was a pup, see above, I thought he looked a bit like a Rottweiler, so, having friends and neighbours who were Rottie fans and were ‘sans’ dog at the time, I asked them to come and look at him to see if they would confirm my thoughts. They came, they saw, and Oscar conquered ! Nah, as you can see from the above photo, he wasn’t a Rottie but they adopted him anyway. What a handsome boy he turned out to be ! He lived just over the road from us for many years and I would often find him at our gate as if asking “anyone coming out to play ?” Then having lived here in the south of France, his owners, Wynn and Paul moved up to bonnie Scotland where he ended his days.

Finally, here is Houston (with brother Hector in the background). These two gorgeous boys were adopted by friends, Olivia and Laurent, down on the Cote d’Azur. They had seen the boys on the adoptions page and couldn’t decided which one to take, so took both (as you do). They went to an animal loving (mad !) home where they had a fabulous life amongst children,cats and other dogs. Hector died a couple of years ago and Houston followed a month ago, so a big gap now in the family. They still have Holly another Poorpaws lady, who is now twelve and I am sure she will be joined shortly by a new pal to help her get over the loss of her ‘brothers’.

Thank you a million times to the owners of the above and, indeed, to all of you who have welcomed a previously unhappy dog into your loving homes.

If you haven’t already done so but are thinking about adopting a rescue dog, take a peek at the adoptions page of this website to see the gorgeous beasts who are so in need of happy secure loving homes. Also, if you are on Facebook, keep checking in to Danielle’s page ‘La Mere aux Betes’ for up to date news.

I am now on serious countdown to the book sale this Saturday. Books are sorted and stacked and I am delighted that we have so very many good books, many authors I had never heard of but am discovering, along with some old favourites you may be rediscovering and enjoying. Salle des Fetes, St. Pantaleon, 09.30 to 15.30.

From time to time, I receive telephone calls from people looking for help or advice on dog situations. I am more than happy to help if I can and if I can’t I pass them on to Danielle. Danielle is much more knowledgeable than I am, with years more experience. When I get such calls, obviously I note down telephone numbers with names and/or something to remind me what the call is about. However, the other day, I came across a number in my book with no name and no clue as to what the call was about. I was huffing and puffing, so cross with myself and Ernst asked what was the problem. I explained, he leant across the table, looked at the number, then looked at me ……. “it is your number” he said !!!!! Hey ho !

Hopefully you will brave the weather on Saturday !

Sue x

PS If you are wondering why I didn’t recognise my own number, it is because (I think like many people in my age group) I don’t use the mobile much so can only remember the number if I am actually dialling it. So if someone asks, I have to mime dialling on the keyboard. I am sure I am not alone ……… am I ?!

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REX

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Update 29/03/24 Despite our delight when Rex was taken for a trial at a new home a couple of weeks ago, sadly it has not worked out so the poor boy is back. Rex really must have a fenced in garden so that he is not allowed out until he realises where home is. So, we are still waiting for that certain someone.

Update 29/01/24 Dear Rex is still waiting ! We think he may be a little bit deaf, following an untreated ear infection. So a fenced in property is a must and an extra understanding caring owner.

My favourite type of dog, Rex is a very handsome and gentle dog of about three and a half. A pedigree, he has proved to be not so good at hunting (hurrah for Rex !) and will make a great companion dog once he has had a bit more education. Adoption fee applies.

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4TH OCTOBER 2023

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First of all, the EXCELLENT, FABULOUS news that Pirate, who has been waiting over a year, has gone to a new home. I don’t know the details yet as I am away, but this has (partially) restored my faith in humanity !! Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant !

As I said, I am away on the Ile de Ré at the moment for our annual R and R, so I am not up to date with what is going on in our dog world but I do know that Danielle has taken in a lot of dogs since I left, so please go to her La Mere aux Betes facebook page to get up to date information.

We arrived here on the 23rd September and have treated ourselves to two weeks instead of the usual one. Good thing too because on day two we went, as usual, to rent bikes for the holiday and set off on our usual first day ride to Loix which is about twenty minutes from where we stay in La Couarde. Ten minutes down the road Ernst, who in the thirteen years we have been coming here, has never fallen off his bike (unlike yours truly), took a nasty tumble and was lying in the middle of the road (you don’t bounce too well at 78) whilst I risked life and limb stopping the traffic. (Mind you he was soooo Mr. Grumpy for a few days I told him that next time I’d let the traffic do its worst !) After a night of extreme pain in his left hand, we went to the pharmacie in the morning to get pain killers. The pharmicien took one look and sent us to a doctor, who took one look and sent us to a radiologist with dire warnings of a possible operation. Eek, please no !! Luckily, ‘just’ a hairline fracture and we returned home with Ernst sporting a velcro sort of splint. We returned his bike as it was clear he wouldn’t be pedalling for a few days. In fact he hasn’t got back on a bike and we go home in a couple of days. So I have been riding solo, which in actual fact is not so different from when we are out together as he is always way ahead of me !

This morning I cycled to one of the villages on the island and Ernst drove to meet me there for a coffee. After we had drunk our coffee I started walking back to the car with him, when he said “haven’t you forgotten something ?” “What ……… oh crikey, my bike !!”

Mum always said sea air is good for you, see how we have grown !

So, not much to report this month, don’t forget the next Book Bonanza on 4th November, some great stuff, reccomendation boxes from trusted regulars and …. Christmas cards (sorry !)

I just wanted to share with you a couple more photos, one of our Josie, always ready with a smile when the camera comes out. Josie was born with badly handicapped legs and it was not sure that she would not have to be pts, but the lovely Dr. Cross (who, I may have mentioned, I should have spent my life with …) said that operations would be too painful for a puppy, but to just wait and see how she copes. She copes very well thank you and has done for 10 years, disappearing for hours some days when out on a walk. She staggers home exhausted, but the smile is always there.

…….. and, finally

Mum will be home soon babes !

Sue x

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HUSKY

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Update 29/01/24 Still waiting after several long months this gorgeous dog has had some offers but, sadly, none suitable where he will go to a colder area of France. Not for the heat of the South this boy.

Adorable six month Husky already weighing in at 20 k ! Fine with children, no problems with cats BUT needs to be where chickens are NOT.

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3RD SEPTEMBER 2023

Ouf, so that’s August done and dusted and I have to say that I’m not sorry. I like the sun but that was nuts. Ten days ago we were finding it impossible to sleep in night time (NIGHT TIME !) temperatures of 30° and this week when I got up to walk the dogs it was 9° ! We had a few cooler days last week but are creeping up to the 30s again now.

Of course, the hottest week of the Summer was my most busy/eventful. I managed to prang my car, my fault entirely, by not putting on the handbrake properly. The car took a little backwards stroll by itself and stopped against the wall of a house. I was SOOOO angry with myself, usually when I stop, I put the handbrake on automatically, a bit like putting on my seatbelt. Goodness knows why I didn’t then. Having got out of the car, I didn’t realise that it had gone walkabout and I went to visit a friend for a 45 minute catch up. When I let her, after a split second of “oh, good grief someone has stolen my car” I saw it resting gently against the neighbour’s wall. Long story short, we finally agreed that I would pay him for a pot of paint but in the meantime he had called the gendarmes (don’t blame him, all he knew was that he had a rogue car against his wall with no sign of the driver) and they arrived lights flashing (whaaaat ?!) and I was breathalysed – at 10.30 in the morning ! Damage to the car, a broken back light.

The next two – hottest 41° – days there was a 70th birthday lunch and a 70th birthday party. I didn’t stay late to the latter as I had to be in Toulouse at 8.30 to take one of our dogs to the vet. She had been coughing violently for a week or so and after her heart had been checked and she had been on medication for her throat, none of which worked, our vet said I should take her to a clinique in Toulouse. Eek ! I can just about get to the airport and back and friends know never to chat until I get back onto ‘my’ motorway. I looked on the map to find out where the clinique was and was in despair, there was NO WAY I would find it. Tat de la la (that’s a trumpet sounding), over the hill comes the cavalry in the form of my wonderful friend Gaynor, who poo pooed the idea of me going on my own and offered to drive me. Such relief. That is a friend, ready to leave home at 6.45 in order to get to the vet in time for the appointment. We made it in good time (though I would never find the place again) and after a coffee/chocolate, we proceeded to Ikea where damage was done. During lunch I received an email from the vet (together with much too explicit photos) showing that Isabella had THREE of those horried spiky grass heads, stuck in her trachea. We picked her up from the vet and were home (over 500 euros lighter, but she is l’Oreal – worth it) by 5. Simples !

Then on the Sunday was the clothes sale at the Montcuq vide and I am relieved to say it was the last one we will do. It wouldn’t be so bad if the venue was in a large field or carpark, but it is in the tiny little lanes up in the old village and getting there, unloading and getting the cars away and parked, along with lots of other people, is a nightmare. Then of course it is the same thing in reverse in the afternoon. I was so grateful to another lovely friend (where do I get all these brilliant people ?!) Sophie, was there at 6am to help us unload and set up. We made 440 euros, which is not to be sneezed at, but is much less than usual. I think people are giving less clothes away now that there are so many websites where you can sell them. Anyway, I have decided that at 74, I am too old for all the work that goes before a sale and the exhausting day. It used to be fun, but isn’t any more.

Meet Spouky, a lovely 9/10 year old dog whose owner has ‘moved on’. Spouky was in very grave danger of being pts when I agreed to take him in. I was going to keep him (and still will if a good home cannot be found) but he is such a lovely boy, gentle and loves a cuddle, he would be ideal for an elderly person looking for a friend/companion. A fenced in garden would be essential as he does like to roam if given the chance, but mostly he just wants to potter around,sleep, eat (he loves his food !) and be loved. As he is elderly, there will be no adoption fee, but if a donation, however small, is offered, well, it would be churlish to refuse n’est ce pas ?

Danielle has had a lot of problems with her internet so has not been able to do her updates, but she is now back on track and I will therefore be updating the adoptions page tomorrow.

More next month when we will be in the middle of our annual holiday on Ile de Ré. Hooray !

Sue x

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2ND AUGUST 2023

Does anyone recognise this photo ? I found it in a book (Lost Souls by Michael Collins – very good !) which has been donated in a box of books for the next book sale. It is a beautiful photograph and I am sure whoever it belongs to would wish to have it back.

I often find notes, shopping lists, shopping receipts in books, obviously being used as bookmarks. Sometimes postcards, which I return if possible and once a very ‘personal’ card which, from the text of the message, had been sent to someone who perhaps it should not have been sent to ! I didn’t return that in case I returned it to the wrong person.

I was in England a couple of weeks ago and a very busy week it was too. A night with friend Jan in Braintree, then the bus up to London where I met up with Sue and we got the train to Pangbourne for the ashes ceremony of my lovely friend Annie who died in February. A couple of nights there celebrating Annie’s life with her friends and family, then on (again on the bus) to Birmingham where I spent the night with a couple of pals from our Cote d’Azur days. We hadn’t seen each other for 16 years and it was just like it was yesterday. From there yet another bus up to Leeds for a weekend family reunion. That was great fun too. Sadly, the weather having been lovely for the whole week, it poured down at the weekend which meant that the al fresco dining was moved indoors. It was lovely to see my brothers and their families again, the last reunion having been pre covid, even if it was pointed out to me that the only person in the family smaller than me now is my great niece Maggie Ann, who is six !

As I said, most of my journies were by coach and I can highly recommend it. Comfortable, on board wifi and much, much cheaper than the train. Ok the buses reached their destinations about half an hour late each time but hey, who cares when you’ve got a good book and a sufficient supply of Cadbury Twirl Bites ?!

Dog adoptions have been going well but I have to apologise if you were hoping to adopt one of the promised Border Colley pups, they were given to another refuge. Can I put in a plea for the beautiful black Lab, Pirate, we have had for far too long. Yes, he is boisterous, yes he is a greedy git, but he does deserve the chance of a family life. Just a large fenced in garden and plenty of food and he will be so happy. It breaks my heart that he is passed by time and time again.

I committed a huge booboo this month ! I mistakenly put the wrong photo next to a young dog up for adoption. A lovely couple travelled three hours down to see what they thought was a Border Colley mix, only to find that dog had been adopted months ago and the dog described was in fact a Brittany Spaniel/Setter. I felt terrible as you can imagine. Anyway, after chatting with the couple I suggested they look at the Brittany who is a fabulous little chap and ………… fairy tale ending, they took him home and are delighted with him, saying obviously it was meant to be. Phew !

If you haven’t caught Ab Fabba on stage yet this season, they will be performing at the St. Daunes (five minutes from Montcuq) Marche Gourmand on Thursday 17th August. Go along, take your families and Summer guests, you won’t regret it.

Oh, nearly forgot, I’m collecting clothes for our usual stand at the Montcuq vide Grenier on 27th August, so if you are having a sort out and you have good condition clothes you don’t wear anymore, please get in touch. Donations have been few and far between over the last few years as a lot of people choose to sell on Vinted (and I can’t blame you) or donate to Emmaus, laudible but we sell cheaper than they do.

Love,

Sue x

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3RD JULY 2023

I’m very happy at the moment with 25% sad. Very happy because it is Wimbledon fortnight and sad because of all the problems in France at the moment. It just breaks my heart to see on the news in the evenings films of people rioting and causing havoc and mayhem. What on earth good does it do to smash places up, destroy and set fire to anything in your path ? Why don’t people realise that they are only making their, possibly unhappy, lives even worse by destroying and looting shops, supermarkets and forcing places and people to barricade themselves in to feel safe. When will the silent majority win over the destructive minority.

So, two weeks of non stop tennis, having already had Roland Garros, Queens and Eastbourne, we arrive at the ‘biggie’. I have a friend coming to stay for ten days (luckily a tennis fan) and she has been warned that I already have several jars of ready prepared (bought) pasta sauces, frozen lasagne, and fresh food will probably not be in evidence unless we go out (lovely tapas bar in Montcuq) or Ernst takes over the cooking. The latter I must say is prefential to my cooking !

The only ‘blip’ to the above is that Jan and I fly back to England together on the 16th ………. Men’s Finals Day ! Such bad planning, but usually the semis are better than the final anyway. I’m going back to England just for a week for the planting of the ashes of my lovely friend Annie who died in February, to visit pals from a long time ago in Monaco and a family reunion up in Leeds. All of which I am looking forward to – well apart from Annie’s ashes, but you know what I mean.

Adoptions have been fast and furious with dogs flying off the ‘shelves’ like hot cakes. I cannot understand why the black Lab has not been adopted. A super dog, ok a greedy git but hey, he’s a Lab ! And Suzette, oh my goodness what a peachy peach of a dog yet she gets passed by time and again. As I type someone is coming to see Tulk, so fingers crossed for him. So many abandons at the moment, many as a result of couples breaking up so people moving out of houses to apartments where the dog doesn’t fit in. Also a sad case of a poor dog taken to Danielle pitifully thin and so nervous. We suspect mistreatment by the young child. Please, please, please, do not get a dog until your child (whatever age !) understands that the animal IS NOT A TOY !!!

Also, I’ll now give out my annual plea, it is fete and market time in France and noisy fetes/markets ARE NO PLACE for poor dogs. So often I see them being dragged around in the heat, in the crowds, where all they see are the backs of legs or they are tied to chair legs whilst the owners enjoy a cool drink with no thought to the poor dog sweltering underneath. LEAVE YOUR DOGS AT HOME IN THE SHADE !

Talking of fetes, a brilliant one every year is the Marché Gourmande at Tournon d’Agenais, Lot et Garonne, on 21st JULY. The very excellent AbFabba will be providing the music to eat, drink and dance to. Don’t miss it !

Sue x

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2ND JUNE 2023

Starting off this month with a photo of our Olivia (she’s the one with her head under the steps) and her sister Willow who is spending a couple of weeks with us. (Hmm, perhaps I should have tidied up before taking the photo !) Their Dad is a Newfoundland and Mum a sort of German Shepherd mix. They absolutely adore each other and Olivia goes into a sort of ‘down’ time when Willow leaves – though it doesn’t last long when she realises she gets all her sleeping space in my bedroom back to herself !

If you are looking for a dog, I strongly recommend that as well as looking at the Poorpaws adoption page, you also visit Danielle’s Facebook page – La Mere aux Betes – to get the latest news. I am not on FB and can only occasionally access Danielle’s page, so am not always right up to date. Can I here put in a vote for Suzette ? An absolutely darling of a dog. As well as being very pretty, she is so gentle and loving and I’m having to be very strong not to grab her and not let her go. Danielle also has some Border Colley pups, (two boys left) who will be ready to go in a couple of weeks. A word of warning though, Borders need brain stimulation, not only lots of exercise. They need to work their ‘little grey cells’ too. Quick to learn however, they are a very rewarding dog to train.

I’ve had a very peaceful month of May as Ernst has been away with his sister, Karen, making a friends and family tour of Germany. I assume he had a good time, but who knows ? Trying to get conversation out of Ernst is worse than getting money out of my purse !! I do know that one day they were driving to their brother Fritz in Erlangen and Karen got the spelling wrong by one vowel and they ended up 200 kms away from where they should have been. Karen said that had it been her husband with her, all hell would have let loose but Ernst just said “ok so we turn around”. Nothing if not laid back my guy !! (Also absolutely bally infuriating at times too !!)

Whilst they were away I painted the kitchen and painted a larged wooden bookcase a very deep blue. It took Ernst a week to notice. Hey ho !

Love,

Sue x

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1ST MAY 2023

I don’t know about you but we love having friends round for drinks and/or supper, BUT I HATE COOKING and I am not a good cook. I start out with the best of intentions, keep recipes nice and simple – no more than six ingrediants please – but still the food does not taste as nice as it looks in the book and usually bear no resemblance to the photos. I have friends who adore cooking and who have shelves and shelves of cookery books, whereas I have about six. Saint Delia, a couple of pasta and salad books, Jack Munro (cheap and cheerful) and a dessert book. Oh, a couple of soup books too. Now those I can do, soups. Anyhow, last evening we had a jolly table of eight people and I started off with asparagus with a sweet and sour vinaigrette made with grapefruit juice and decorated with grapefruit segments. I thought it wouldn’t look much on the plate so I decided to add a couple of those little goats cheeses which are breaded and which you can heat in a frying pan. Easy peasy. It was only when Ernst and the guests were having aperos and I was ‘plating up’ that although I had intended two little cheeses per person, I had only bought twelve. Er, what ??!! So apologies made and some of us were happy with one cheese. Lovely understanding friends.

The main course was vegetarian Shepherd’s pie with baked red cabbage and apple. Great, tasted good. Then cheese, then dessert. It was when I went to the fridge to get the cream to go with the ‘sort of’ Eton mess, that I found the plate of beautifully prepared grapefruit segments, all pealed to perfection, to go with the asparagus. I was furious, all the time I had spent making sure they were pith free (Ernst does NOT do pith). Of course we all had a good laugh but I was so disappointed. Luckily Joy, just back from England, had brought some ‘Coronation Fudge’, so I drowned my sorrows with that whilst the others gorged on Kirsch filled chocs bought for us by Danielle in Switzerland.

That was not my worse cooking faux pas, I once served up an apple crumble I had made a couple of days before the supper it was intended for and which had been in the freezer. Only problem was, I took it out of the freezer in ample of time …….but forgot to cook it !!

Anyhow to the job in hand, I am delighted to tell you that Falco and Teddy have gone to great homes, Danielle is back and the dogs are coming in thick and fast. A couple of the new females are waiting to see the vet to make sure they are not ‘with pup’, fingers crossed because if they are we have to wait until they have the pups and the pups are weaned before we can home them. I’m hoping to have the adoptions page up to date and running just as soon as Danielle sends me all the details.

It’s that time of year again, the village fetes are starting and the Roquecor one (19th, 20th, 21st May) is always good value. AbFabba will be singing in the evening of the Saturday so it’s worth going just to see/hear them.

Enjoy the Coronation if you are going to watch. I am a royal family supporter whereas most of my pals are not, so I will have the ‘telly’ on and luckily Ernst will be away so no harrumphing and moaning in the background. Whatever your feelings, this is history in the making.

Adoption page should be up to date in a couple of days.

Sue x

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3RD APRIL 2023

I am delighted to say that I have only good news today !

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who came along to our Bonanza Book Sale. It was a lovely day and I was really happy to see so many people delving into boxes of books and leaving arms and bags full. It was nice to receive many compliments about the condition of the books and thanks for deciding to carry on with the sales. I have to make one small apology for our new cashiers ! I didn’t have much time to train them up and didn’t realise that their arithmatic was slightly suspect. I overheard a few times “9 books Sir/Madam, ok 9 times 1 euro, I think that makes 10 doesn’t it ?” or “13 books ? Nasty number 14 might be better” ! Dear Patna, Anna and Gaynor, always there to help !! Anyway I think everyone took it in good part and had a good time. We raised 1,762 which when post sale donations were added, went up to 2,029 ! Our vets and food suppliers were thrilled (and relieved), and hopefully, notwithstanding any major crises Poorpaws hopes to stagger through to the next sale on the 4TH NOVEMBER ! This is a bit later in the year than usual due to our valiant and gallant ‘mate with a van’ taking off to do cross country motorbike trials around Europe in September and October. So, please save all your Summer reads to pass on to me.

Tao in his new home.

Timour (now Django) in his new home.

Very good news on the puppy front. Whilst Danielle has been away I have been successful in homing four of the puppies and one dog left with me. Only left are Teddy and Talco. I was amazed, thinking Talco would go first, but no, he is still here. A lovely bundle of fun and I think he will be possibly on the large Labrador size. Teddy is my delight and I am desperate to see him go to a loving home. He is absolutely beautiful and very bright, catches on quick. Both Teddy and Talco are now larger than in the photos on the Adoptions page, obviously.

More good news, (this page just keeps on giving this time !), after a year of waiting, our tilers finally came and laid new floors for us. When we built the house we couldn’t afford anything much decent to put on the floors and this showed after years and years of puppy pee and spilt liquids. Now we have beautiful ceramic tiles which, if you didn’t know better, you would think were wood. The guys were worth waiting for, they just got on with it, didn’t stop for lunch and had infinite patience with dogs and pups getting in the way. In fact one of them adopted a puppy who is now riding shotgun as proud as Punch in the guy’s van !!

Now I just have to persuade Ernst that shutters would be a good addition ……..

Have a lovely Easter weekend and eat as much chocolate as you can! It is a well known fact that eating chocolate during a religious festival is strictly non fattening !!

Love,

Sue x

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1ST MARCH 2023

I think I may have to retitle this page as obituary column instead of news.

On the 21st February, my dear, lovely friend Annie lost her battle with lung cancer – never having smoked in her life. We had been friends for 50 years, the close friendship never changing even when she went to live in Hong Kong and Malaysia for many years and then I moved to France. I was proud (but nervous !) when she asked me to be Godmother to her first son, Liam, but luckily for Liam I was never needed to help with any major decisions and he is now well old enough to make his own. However, I am ready to step up to the plate if needed ! As well as being a wonderful caring mother, (which spilt over into our friendship, Annie would always check if friends needed ‘to go to the loo’ before going out !) Annie was great fun always the first on the dance floor and if the dance floor was crowed, well, a table would do ! Wherever you are now my lovely friend, I hope you are dancing on tables.

Whilst visiting Annie just before she died, one of my special dogs, Jip, a Brittany Spaniel, was very ill at the vets and to round off a sad week, he was pts.

Jip was one of the best, he was a wonderful friendly dog who always welcomed newcomers into the ‘pack’ whilst the rest of them always need a couple of days to get used to a new face. I miss you babe, so, so much. You should have had many more years yet, but, boy, you enjoyed life.

Moving on, anyone looking for a puppy, just go to the adoption page where you will find pups in abundance ! We are anxious to move these on asap as Danielle will be away from 10th to 30th March and although she will leve them food and water, it would be better if they are in new homes. KIDDING ! (about just leaving food and water) there will of course be someone there to take care of the dogs in situ, but it would be so nice if the pups moved on before. NO VISITS to the refuge will be possible during the time Danielle is away.

If you are not looking for a pup, just take a look at Snow ! A fabulous dog who would love to be adopted by a very active family.

As for me, well I’m up to my eyes in collecting and sorting books ready for the 25th March. I have enough now thanks to the biblio generosity of lots of lovely people and am as happy as a pig in the proverbial in my shed going through them all wondering how many I have time to read before the sale !

Just a quick reminder that the English film ‘Living’ or ‘Vivre’ to gi it its’ French title will be shown in English at the Salle d’Animation in Montcuq on Sunday 5th March at 3pm.

Brrr, it’s jolly cold isn’t it ?!

Love,

Sue x

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3RD FEBRUARY 2023

So, the chilli recipe said to add a couple of squares of dark chocolate. Now I’m a chocolate girl, albeit milk or white, but hey adding chocolate to anything is fine by me. So, in went the choc. Oh yeuk, double yeuk, pah, spit – disgusting !! Even Ernst who has put up with my, at best, passable culinary efforts for over 25 years, looked at me doubtfully until I gave him the nod and into the bin it went. I wouldn’t even let the dogs have it ! Hey, cheese and biscuits is fine for supper now and again, n’est ce pas ?!

Sorry to say, another Poorpaws resident has put his paws up. Dear Teddy left us this morning. He had had a long and happy life. I took him from the Carcassonne refuge when a friend saw him on line and wanted to adopt him. Sadly, when she saw him in the flesh, she wasn’t so keen but did adopt another sad soul. So Teddy came to us and was soon adopted by a lovely guy who adored him. They had many happy years together until the guy died and Teddy came back to live here. He made it to 17 years old, which is some going. Hopefully, he and his owner have found each other (crap I know but I like to imagine it) and are happy again.

Teddy celebrating his 7th birthday. Little did he know he would celebrate ten more !

Moving on to happier things, there have been many adoptions since Christmas, but ………a record of dogs being abandoned too. Nicky the dachshund has gone to a lovely home, Tania will very shortly be going to a new life and dear Tinkerbelle is off and away too. Excellent news, Raven one of the Pointers being offered for adoption without a fee because he has been waiting so long, has gone to a great life which is brilliant for him, however, it means that poor Nairo, his kennelmate, is now on his own and lonely. He keeps climbing the fence but not to run away, but just to look for Danielle. Proof that he is a lovely faithful dog, so, please anyone considering a dog but doesn’t have the adoption fee however can offer a great home, please don’t hesitate.

Danielle has A LOT of puppies at the moment, some ready to go now, Jack Russell crosses, Braque and some perfectly delightful black and white mongrels. Then, around mid February there will be some beautiful Labrador mixes of just about two months in need of homes.

Please, please, please make sure your dogs have your ‘phone numbers written on their collars. If you lose your dog, even if he/she is chipped and found, not everyone will take a dog to the vet to check to see if there is a chip, but everyone will call if there is a visible ‘phone number. A very close friend had a huge scare on holiday in Spain recently when her little Bichon was chased by another dog, but thanks to social media she was found quite quickly.

Finally, many, many thanks to those of you who answered my call for books for the Book Sale. There has been some really great stuff coming in. From now on in, just novels please, no more gardening / cookery books, I’m drowning in them !

Keep warm !

Sue x

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6TH JANUARY 2023

I know, I know, so late again but quite honestly I haven’t got back on track since Christmas. My pal Susie has been here for nearly two weeks and only just went home on Wednesday. Whilst I miss her (she really is a four star houseguest) I have to say that it is lovely to get back into my own bedroom ! To say we were busy over the Festive Season would be an understatement. I think we had something ‘on’ for 11 out of the 13 days she was here. Lunch on the 24th had to be rebooked for the 1st January because I was suffering from a stinking cold – which is only just on its’ way out ! Where I got it from heaven knows. I left home on the 23rd to go to pick Susie up from Toulouse, in perfect health, then by the time I got to the airport my throat was sore and scratching and my nose streaming. Anyway, I got through Christmas and our Festive Fizz on Christmas Day – much depleted by friends having moved on to Spain or back to England – on relatively good form before collapsing in front of the fire and dining on left over nibbles.

I started the new year on 1st January in a spectacular fashion. Susie, Ernst, friend Paulette and I went to our favourite restaurant for lunch, looking forward to a fab meal (which it was !). However, when the poor waitress arrived with our aperos she lost control of her tray. I realised this when a glass of kir splashed across my lap, then, before I could stand up, it was raining kir and glasses. It was in my hair, down my front, down my back and pooling on the chair, meaning I had a very wet behind and had broken glass all round me ! I just burst out laughing and other amazed faces around me joined in when they realised I wasn’t going to throw a wobbly. The poor, poor, waitress was completely distraught and couldn’t apologise enough. I kept telling her not to fret (I did that job for years so I know how she must have felt). She brought me another chair, mopped up the floor and I dried myself down as much as I could with a seviette. My trousers were very wet but there was nothing I could do about that. We then had a very delicious lunch but kept breaking into hysterical laughter everytime we thought about it. As a friend said to me, I might not remember all my New Year’s Days but I’ll certainly remember that one !

Now to dogs. Danielle has loads and loads of dogs looking for homes, so if you are looking for something to MAKE you carry on your new year resolution to get out an walk more, what better way of doing it than giving a dog a loving new home at the same time ?! As soon as Danielle manages to get photographs to me, there will be lots of new faces on the adoptions page, but spare a thought for the ones already there many of whom have been waiting for so long.

I’m heavily into book sale mode now and really need a lot more good condition paperback novels in order to give you a really good sale. So please, do not hesitate to get in touch if you are having a turn out, I can collect or meet up with you easily.

On Sunday 8th, the English film Armageddon Time, starring Anthony Hopkins, will be shown at the Montcuq Espace d’Animation at 3pm. Don’t worry it is not an ‘action’, blood and thunder film, but a story about a family. I hope many of you will be there.

Sue x

PS No, I didn’t get a greenhouse heater !!

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6TH DECEMBER 2022

Oops, December seems to have crept up on me without warning ! One used to be able to tell when it was December because everything Christmassy would come out, but now, if you went by that rule you would be forgiven for thinking that September, or even August was the twelfth month ! I am an unashamedly Festive Season lover, I love the lights, the decorations, the present buying (not so much the cooking) and everyone seems to be in a better mood. Except for the unpleasant man who told me I was too old to drive and should take another driving test, after HE had reversed into ME ! Then there was the guy in Montcuq who had parked his work van blocking one of the tiny roads up near the church and I had to get through to take an elderly lady to the dentist. He very rudely said I would have to reverse back. Hah, you must be kidding I said, I just do not do reversing, I would rather abandon the car than try to reverse around all those little streets. He grudgingly, and I mean GRUDGINGLY moved his van which was no hardship as he was at the end of the road, he only have to move about ten metres. But what is the matter with people ? Why can’t they just smile and help out ?!

So, back to Christmas, I am an absolute sucker for Christmas films and there are two books I always read at this time of the year, one is ‘Skipping Christmas’ by John Grisham, a laugh out loud book, but don’t watch the film of the book ‘Christmas with the Kranks’, absolute ‘krxp’. The other is Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg, an absolute delight.

They say you learn something new every year and I learned something last week. I have a pink rain/walking jacket – bought for a hiking holiday in Japan a few years ago, – the thinking being that if I got lost in a forest, rescuers would be able to find me easily, then I realised that so would the bears, but I digress – the jacket is great and is still going strong. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the hood, which, when in use, came down so low in front that it covered half my face and I could only see the ground in front of me. Well, when I put it on last week to take the dogs for a walk, I noticed a bit of velcro on the hood, and then another bit further back, durrrh, I could velcro the two bits together and, hey presto, I could see the path in front of me !

A week or so ago, Danielle and I went to collect two elderly dogs whose owner had died a year ago and who had been in kennels ever since. They are now here at Poorpaws and are a true delight. They are Fauve de Bretagne crossed with something smaller, so not a tiny dog, more medium to small, about Spaniel height. They are ten year old sisters and just need a fenced in garden to roam around in and protection from the elements – cosy beds inside would be even better. Very affectionate and loving, perfect for any retired couple/person.

Danielle has been having a bumper time regarding adoptions in fact so good that in a couple of cases, no sooner are they on the website than there they are gone ! Sadly there are two or three who have been with her for over a year and although they are happy and well cared for, it would be so nice to get them their forever homes.

Oh, before I go, I am ready, waiting and willing for any good condition novels you want to pass on ready for the book sale in March.

Until then, I hope you have exactly the Festive Season you enjoy.

Love,

Sue x

In memory of dear Hailla
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5TH NOVEMBER 2022

I’m sorry to say that again, I have to start my monthly verbal ramblings with the news of a sad loss. Dearest Balto went over the rainbow on the 25th September at the amazing age, for an English Setter, of 18. I so, so wanted him to fall asleep and die at home. He had been incontinent for months, was blind and nearly deaf and had an almost undetectable heartbeat. However, I came home from coffee with pals to find him in a bit of a state and he couldn’t stand up, so the decision was taken. The vet reckoned that he only had a couple of days left, so should I have waited ? No. So, another large empty space here at Poorpaws. I, and friends who loved him, miss him a lot, though do I miss washing the kitchen floor and Balto’s nether regions every morning ? Hmm, tough one.

The hunting season is well under way, so please take great care when out walking your dogs. Even non hunting breeds can get excited at the noise of gunshot and because of the hunt the deer and boar are moving around more and crossing areas where they don’t usually. When dogs get the scent of a deer they will sometimes follow them for miles and miles, right out of their locality and comfort zone. Two of my friends have recently experienced their dogs being taken out for the last pee of the day, only to see them disappear into the distance. Thankfully all returned but all stayed out all night, which meant a sleepless night for the owners. I am not, of course, a fan of hunting, I hate it, but I am always courteous and polite to hunters as they know the countryside and can often spot a stray dog in the wrong area. A few times hunters have found dogs I had lost, in the early days before we were all fenced in. The fencing does not however, stop my dogs occasionally going awol when on a walk ! I have to decide which dogs walk well together and which will be off and up to mischief as soon as they realise that we are heading home !

We all need a good chuckle sometimes, especially with all the shite that is going on all over the world at the moment. So, give yourselves a treat, come to the Quercy Troup Players pantomime and give your laughing muscles a good work out ! They are putting on their unique interpretation of Dick Whittington and panto style groans are guaranteed. Saturday 26th November at 8pm and Sunday 27th at 4pm. here is the poster which gives all necessary details.

Wow, hey, look at that ! I managed to insert a photo in the middle of a paragraph, without Colin, my patient computer guru being on the end of the ‘phone !!

I am already collecting books for the book sale in March, so, please, send me your read, your future homeless, your taking up space, good condition paperbacks (preferably, but others can be considered) and I will welcome them and give them shelter. (Apologies fo Emma Lazarus !)

Brrr, getting chilly in the evenings now, so it’s extra straw in the kennels, plants getting ready to go in the greenhouse (wonder if Santa will finally being me a greenhouse heater this year !) and reading in front of the fire to look forward to !

Well it’s November and I haven’t even mentioned Christmas yet ……..oops !

Sue x

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30TH SEPTEMBER 2022

Thank you so much to those who sent kind messages following my loss of Hailla, so many said they understood exactly how I felt, and, as we know, this is something we have to go through when owning and loving our pets. I’m getting better and can now look at photos with happiness and not so often through tears.

Enough ! Moving on. A HUGE thank you to Jackie who, with her husband (?) have adopted George and Jessie, the seven year old cats. The owner had given up hope and then at practically the last minute, along came the cavalry in the form of Jackie and the owner was highly relieved to see her cats go to such a lovely couple.

The night before the new format Book Sale I was really nervous that people wouldn’t come without coffee, cakes and soup on offer. I needn’t have worried. Despite saying, as usual, the start was 10 am, we had people long before, mainly because they had to go to work. So for the next sale the official start will be 9am. We took an amazing 1,641 euros which was split between Poorpaws and La Mere aux Betes. The ‘Sue Has Enjoyed’ and ‘Sophie’s Choice’ boxes were a success and will be there again at the next sale, along with special offers. The next sale will be Saturday 25th March 2023 and I am already collecting books, so please get in touch when you have some to donate.

I would like to contact a lady who came to the sale and wrote down her email address for me so that I could get in touch to arrange to collect some books. The problem I have is that I cannot read the email address and attempts to decipher it have bounced back. So, if you know anyone with an email address which looks like (but isn’t !) B.barbaraSzih@icloud, please ask her to contact me !

Since the book sale Ernst and I have had our usual week on Ile de Ré. This was the 11th time we had been to the same gite (we quite like it !) and it was just the perfect week with lovely weather but not too hot.

Now to dogs ! I am more than DELIGHTED to say that Finette has been adopted and gone to a wonderful home. She had to wait quite a while but it was worth it. Pocker has gone to a new home in Germany, another one who had to be patient for months. There are quite a few on the website who seem to get overlooked through no fault of their own and who are gorgeous dogs, Raven and Sirius being just two. So when you are looking, give them a second look.

Ab Fabba will be appearing in ‘Those Were the Days Too’ a musical presentation of the 70s and tickets are selling well. Don’t miss out go to www.quercymusique.fr for details of tickets and dates. Dressing up 70s style is encouraged but not obligatory !

Enjoy the cooler weather, and, as the evenings get darker, curl up with good books ……..and then pass them on to me !!!

Sue x

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31ST AUGUST 2022

August 12th, the day my heart was shattered into little pieces. I think I have mentioned before, the wonderful ten year old German Shepherd dog Hailla (pronounced Hiya) we took in just over a year ago when her owner was taken into a nursing home. Hailla was a pearl among dogs. The most loving, patient with other dogs, obediant, faithful dog I have ever had. Although we only had her a relatively short time, I felt that she had been with me for all of my life. Any time I went out, she would be there waiting at the gate when I returned, giving me a rapturous welcome and several times during the night she would push my bedroom door open, come in, poke her head over the bed to check I was there and let me stroke her then go out again. No more. After a very short illness three weeks ago, she died. She was off her food for a couple of days so I took her in to the vets and they kept her overnight to do some tests and keep her on a drip. Nothing, but nothing, nothing, nothing prepared me for the devastating news over the ‘phone, the next morning, that she had died in the night as a result of heart and lung problems. My beautiful girl, gone, on her own. The only consolation I have is that I was told she died at about 8 am and at that time I was up on the plateau walking the other dogs and thinking so very hard of Hailla, I hope she felt that. To say that I ‘lost it’ when given the news would be to understate it. In fact I was worried I would never be able to put my foot into Prayssac ever again. However, I have since seen the lovely Xavier who assured me that it was “normale, don’t worry, pas de soucis” That was three weeks ago and I still wake in the mornings with the pain and wonder momentarily why I feel sad, then it all comes back. In 20 years of dog rescue I have had to say goodbye to many dogs and it never gets easier, but usually I am prepared, the dog is either very ill or very old. Of course it is horrible, but putting a dog out of misery and suffering is usually the kindest thing to do. I know many, many of you have been through the same sadness and when you tell me of your losses and I say I am sad for you, it is not just words, I really do feel your hurt. The worst thing I had to do was to go to the care home and give Hailla’s previous owner the bad news. He had been expecting a visit from us and his crying was almost too much to bear. I don’t think I will ever get over Hailla but hopefully one morning I will wake up feeling better and almost miss the pain. At a recent Marché Gourmande at Tournon d’Agenais, the (brilliant) Ab Fabba dedicated a song to Hailla, it was ‘When You Say Nothing At All’. Listen to the words, just totally perfect and I cannot thank the girls enough for introducing me to the song – which I play every morning before I get up and just before I go to sleep. I hope you hear it Hailla and know that I love you so much and you will always be with me.

Ok, let’s move on to happier things. Last Sunday Danielle and I did the vide grenier in Montcuq selling, as usual second hand clothes. Boy was it HOT !!! We had to keep taking it in turns to go and stand in the shade to avoid passing out. I am very happy to say it was well worth it and we raised 600 suros !!! So, a huge thank you to helpers throughout the day – some starting at 6am !!! – also to all those who donated really great clothes. I am slightly worried that there may be a certain person now moved back to England, who may be startling her new neighbours by walking around naked having had a huge turn out before leaving !!! Oh, before I forget, I was chatting to a very nice gentleman at the vide who was offering to volunteer at La Mere aux Betes. He gave me his email address and I promised to be in touch and send him details of the book sale. I am devestated to say that I have lost the piece of paper and cannot even remember his name. So, if by any chance anyone knows who he is, PLEASE, please get in touch with me.

With regard to dogs needing homes, I would love to find a home for Finette a simply adorable dog who has been at the refuge for far too long. A gentle loving soul, she only asks for a garden large enough for her to run around in and/or long walks with a loving owner. Finette can live outside so long as she has a cosy shelter and protection from the elements. She just needs to find that special someone to love her. Her ‘parkmate’ Raven has also been looking for a very long time but just seems to get overlooked. Heaven knows why, great dogs both of them. Puppies can be homed easily and there is just one Dogue d’Argentin croisé left looking – see Danielle’s La Mere aux Betes facebook page, you don’t have to be on FB to access Danielle’s latest news and to meet the lovely dogs she has seeking their forever homes.

Right, I’m off back to sorting out books for the sale THIS SATURDAY 3rd 10am to 4pm at the Salle des Fetes, St. Pantaleon, Lot. Really great books and dvds, special offers and sweeties, what more could you want ?? Sorry ? Cakes and coffee ? Sorry that ship has sailed but you are welcome to bring your own refreshments.

Don’t let me down, see you there !

Sue x

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6TH AUGUST 2022

Well, to put it mildly, PHEW !!! I love the sunshine but even I am thinking about relocating to the north of Scotland !! I thought I’d start off with a few photos of bits of my garden as it was at the end of June but if I took the same photos now they would be starkly different. I do not have green fingers but I love making little corners look pretty, however with the lack of water most of the plants have been gathered together in a shady part of the garden to make watering easier and more economical. The second photo is my favourite coffee/reading spot, now impossible to sit in after 10 am and before 8pm. We have a very large garden which is largely taken up by dog parks and kennels and the rest mostly left to its’ own devices. Great for wildlife but not good for dog poo hunting ! Sometimes I long for a cottage garden and I do my best but it is just not possible to recreate such an environment when you live in the south west of France. The problem is I just don’t like the water storing plants with thick leaves.

I think Ernst is a secret member of the water police, always tut tutting behind me whenever I approach a tap ! So, all water that can be conserved and used again, is. God help me if I forget to take a bucket into the shower to catch every drop which bounces off me and I won’t explain the toilet rules, suffice to say, if anyone pops by I have to remember to quickly go and flush in case they want to spend a penny !

Please, let it rain soon !!

Adoptions, after a worrying lull, have been great. Dear Olly is reserved to go to a wonderful home once her adopter’s holiday guests have left – always wise to take a new dog into a calm, peaceful environment. Just one little boy Bruno de Jura pup left. If you are hesitating, Bruno de Juras are the gentlest, loving dogs. We have had a couple who have transferred from hunting dogs to wonderful pets without any problem. So if you are lucky enough to get one from a pup I can almost guarantee you’ll have a winner. Poor, poor Rouky, after years of being loved by all around, he now finds himself (due to a death in the family) in dire need of a new loving home with someone or someones who will understand that he just wants a peaceful last few years and does not want any other animals around.

I did the St. Pantaleon vide grenier along side Danielle last Sunday and although it was worth doing, it was a shame there were not more visitors, mainly probably because apparently it was advertised not as being at St. P, but at ‘Barguelonne’ !! This is a result of three villages – St. P, St. Daunes and Bagat – being grouped together as Barguelonne en Quercy.

On the 28th August, Danielle and I will be running our usually successful clothes stand at the Montcuq vide – back in the village, yey ! – so if anyone has good quality unwanted clothes, ladies only – please get in touch so I can collect/meet up.

The following Saturday – great planning Sue – is the new format book sale. As usual hundreds of books at 1 euro each, dvds are down to 50 cents and cds 20 cents. A ‘Freebie’ box, donations box, ‘Sue has Enjoyed’ box and a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ selection have all been introduced. There will not however be any refreshments, so no coffee and cakes. I know that for many of you, our ladies’ cakes are …… well the icing on the latter, but I hope you will still come along, support Poorpaws and La Mere aux Betes and go home with some really great stuff for your Winter (eek !) enjoyment. If all goes well (fingers crossed) I will continue with the sales which, hand on heart, I adore planning for.

Keep cool,

Sue x

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4th July 2022

So here we are, half way through Wimbledon already (oh, happy Independance Day to American friends) and the kilos are piling on. Why does watching all the super fit tennis players not inspire me to keep fit, but give me fits of the munchies ! Ok I am not fat and am fairly fit through dog walking, but I sit through Wimbledon every year – my second to favourite time of the year, the first being our holiday on Ile de Ré – and although thoroughly engaged in what is going on on court, at the back of my mind I’m thinking “what can I eat next ?” ! “Hmm, last thing was a banana, that’s not fattening is it ? So can I have tea and cake now ? Perhaps not at 2pm, so perhaps a biscuit, half a biscuit ? Perhaps I’ll make a banana bread, that’s healthy, not sure if mine is healthy though as I always add white or milk chocolate ” And so it goes on ! Devil in my head 40 to self control, love.

During SW19 fortnight all invitations are declined (well, all two of them) but I was duty bound to go to Ernst’s end of season choir lunch on Sunday. I reckoned that, as it was to start at 12.30, I could be out of there and home by 3.30, which is 2.30 in England and I wouldn’t miss much. Ernst had to get there early to help put up the tables and I was to follow on with a salad. I sort of knew where it was (Sauveterre) but checked on the map first. I left myself 40 minutes to get there, but an hour after leaving home I was driving around thinking “where the hell is this village ?” ! I kept referring to the map which took me all over the place, at one point practically in front of my friend Gaynor’s house. I early stopped but thought that was unwise, I would be even later. I finally arrived at 1pm thinking I was so late, but in true French style, they hadn’t even had the apero. I had an apero, starter and main course, then made my excuses before the desert and left. Ernst explained how to get home and I was there in half an hour. When Ernst came home later, I showed him the road I had been following on the map and said I couldn’t understand how I got so lost. He patiently explained that the ‘road’ I was following was the deparmental line between the Lot and Tarn and Garonne. Egg on face.

I’m busy planning the new format book sale and it is likely to include new ideas such as a ‘Freebie’ box, a ‘Sue has enjoyed’ box and, hopefully, a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ box which will be books recommended by friend Sophie who ran the much missed second hand book shop in Montcuq for a long time.

Of course, the sale is all in support of dog rescue, not just my book addiction ! We are ‘down’ to ten dogs now and won’t be taking in any more as we don’t want to pop our clogs and leave them as orphans, but Danielle who constantly has an average of about 20 has huge monthly expenditures and receives no official financial support. She does a really great job and never, ever refuses to give help and/or advice.

Adoptions have been good this month, Lizzie has gone to a lovely Dutch couple I know who have adopted from us before. She is in for a great, happy life. Scooby the Border Colley has been adopted and one of the best pieces of news is that Stella, the Bleu de Gascoigne who was found in a skeletal state has gone to a home where she will be loved and cherished. Scouby, the eight year old has been snapped up as have all but one of the pups. Just a little female left, so don’t hesitate !

Enjoy the sunshine !!

Sue x

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4TH JUNE 2022

So, smack on wrists for last month’s ‘newsletter’, I honestly did mean to add more to it but stuff got in the way. After the week away my friend Sue stayed on for a few days then a week later I went to England for a week mainly to go to the much covid delayed Andre Rieu concert at the Wembley arena. I arrived in England on a Monday where Sue was to meet me at Gatwick before we got the train to Paingbourne to stay with a friend for a couple of days. The visit got off to a confused start when Sue and I insisted we were both waiting outside M and S in arrivals but couldn’t see each other. Of course we were at different terminals (for once I was in the right place !). Consequently we missed the train we were supposed to catch but, hey, no problem compared to the delays and cancellations people are currently having to deal with. The visit was a few days of lunches and meeting up with wonderful pals I hadn’t seen for about three years, then it was AR Day !!!

The concert was wonderful and I have to admit to a few tears when it started.  I don’t know if you have ever seen any AR concerts but they always start with him and the orchestra walking down to the stage through the audience to ’76 Trombones’.  It was due to start and 8 and dead on time, the music struck up and we were off.
> I wondered if I would recognise any of the orchestra and they were all there, plus his Three Tenors, his three sopranos and the usual female ‘backing group’.  The ladies were all in amazing ball gowns and the men in evening suits.  There was comedy, classical music, popular music, everything you see on the tv, even down to him shouting out at the end “You are tired” “You have to go to sleep” whilst we all, like idiots shouted “No, no, more more”. !!  I hugged Sue so tight at the end that I bruised one of my ribs !!! 
>
> I have to add to the above that I have never seen so many badly dressed old people in one place at any one time !  Thank goodness Sue and I were there to raise the bar, if not to reduce the age average !!!  Also I was disappointed that all around the main auditorium were tacky fast food stands and people were coming in with burgers, chips and popcorn – it wasn’t a flipping football match for goodness sake !

Whilst I was away, I gave a great deal of thought to books ! As you know, my idea after the last book sale was to start selling from our garden shed but sadly this is not possible, because of the bad state of said shed. So, really wanting to stay with books but not wanting to go back to the old format and possibly demanding too much of friends, I have come up with the idea of a ‘Just Book Bonanza’. Basically, same location, same great selection of books, cds and dvds, but, no coffee, cakes and lunches. This means that with just ‘muscle’ help in putting up tables, loading and unloading boxes, I can pretty much run the sale on my own. I sent out an email to my book sale mailing list and have to say I have been delighted with the response. Lots and lots of replies supporting the idea with some saying they will bring their own coffee ! Therefore the first ‘Just Books Bonanza’ will take place on Saturday 3rd September and I hope to see lots of you there.

Now, dogs, of course the little Yorkie mix has been snapped up and we are desperate you find homes for the Pointers who are fabulous dogs and would be great companions for any household with a good garden, who like long walks and generally an active life. Coming soon an Australian Colley and some drop dead gorgeous pups. Watch this space !

Sadly, we have had to say farewell to two of our ‘gang’ recently, Tega a 17 year old Malinoise who outlived two owners and who was a darling. I was hoping against hope she would hang on until the daughter of the last owner, who was coming over from England on holiday, got here, but sadly Tega just couldn’t wait.

Then, our famous Tiny, a grey and white poodle of 16 years who was adopted twice when he was young ….. and returned twice because of his unsociable behaviour. He was fine if you just wanted to stroke him, but try to put a collar and/or lead on and he turned into a pitbull. Goodness knows what had happened to him before he came to me. Anyway, here he stayed, thanking me by nipping me on several occasions and generally making himself unpopular. But I loved him and when he got very old he stuck to me like glue. Several health problems got the better of him and he got more and more confused so I decided it was time. 16 is not bad for a poodle ! Of course I felt very sad and guilty after, but I do believe it was the right thing.

So, with numbers going down (just ten now) so the food bill reduces slightly, but with an increasing numer of oldies …… vet bills go up ! You just can’t win !!

Oh well Wimbledon soon !!!

Sue x

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1ST MAY 2022

Just back from a fabulous week on Ile de Ré with a couple of girlfriends. Brilliant until we realised that one of us couldn’t ride a bike !!! However, thanks to the super inter village bus service, Susie was able to meet Louise and me wherever we had cycled to, for lunch and/or shopping. She also discovered a lovely beach restaurant that we were not aware of !

Anyhow this is just a ‘quckie’ to tell you about the Table Top vide maison to be held at Pat Lockett’s house, just outside of Montcuq, prior to her – sob, tissues, – departure back to live in England. All proceeds are to go to Poorpaws and since the book sales are no more, your support will be much appreciated. See poster above for details.

More later.

Sue x

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6TH APRIL 2022

The Book Sale Team

So here we all are, minus one who is in Australia and plus two helpers, lining up just before the start of our final Book Sale last Saturday ! When I woke up and saw snow I thought we were doomed but no, the hall was quickly heaving and the queue at the cake table was two or three deep – not surprising looking at the yummy display of cakes on the table. It was a marvelous day with many peope saying lovely things, thanking us for the sales and saying how much they would miss them. The final total was 3,000 euros thanks to a last minute donation by a lovely couple which took us ‘past the post’. I had very mixed emotions and have to admit to a few tears when everyone had left and I was there ‘tweaking’ the boxes ready for the big clean up on Sunday. We had a great group to help and we worked like a well oiled machine, so that it was all done in under an hour and a half. Then we had a coffee and just about scraped enough left over cake together to enjoy.

The end of a wonderful era and now it is onwards and upwards. Ernst and I have plans to get our shed into tip top condition, instal some shelves and open a Book Shed. I am a serious book junkie, I need books around me like some people need music, and would miss all the sorting and finding new authors to try. So I will still be taking in books and will let you know when we are open for business.

On the Sunday afternoon I went to see the English film in Montcuq. it was PIG with Nicholas Cage, about a recluse whose truffle pig is stolen and his quest to find it. I thought it would be a feel good movie with a happy ending. Wrong. I came home a traumatised blubbing mess. It reminded me of when I went to see ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Braveheart’ many years ago, having been assured they were really good films. I spent nearly the whole time sitting on the floor of the cinema with my fingers in my ears.

Danielle is now back from Switzerland so the dogs are available for adoption. Sometimes my adoption page is not up to date because by the time Danielle gets photos to me, the dogs have been adopted so I would recommend that you go to her Facebook page La Mere aux Betes to see the latest ‘intakes’. It doesn’t matter if you are not on Facebook (I’m not), you can still see her posts. If you don’t speak French, get in touch with me if you see a dog you think you would like and, in fact even if you don’t speak French, get in touch, because Danielle is always very busy but I can get through to her.

I’m going to have a wonderful break at the end of the month, off to the Ile de Ré but with a couple of girlfriends this time. This should be serious fun !

Just to sign off, to the people who dumped two dogs in Castelnau Montratier and left them to starve, I hope your lives are miserable to the day you die. Miraculously they were found in a skeletal state and are now in care.

Love,

Sue x

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MARCH 2ND 2022

1st March, first day of Spring, glorious. 2nd March, second day of Spring bring out the thermals again !! I am sure that, like a lot of you probably, the sunshine over the last week made me sort out the greenhouse (chucking out the geraniums which didn’t make it, definitely getting a heater for next Winter !) and generally walking around the garden making mental notes of Things To Do ! However, I read an article telling me not to be misled by this Fool’s Spring and not to tidy up too much. Many ‘wee timorous beasties’ are still hibernating and not ready to wake up yet, lucky things. So leave the piles of leaves and old branches for another month. Ok, if thems the rules, lead me back to my chair and books !

Speaking of books (see what I did there ?), our next and – tissues at the ready – last, Book Sale, will be on 2nd April at the Salle des Fetes, St. Pantaleon, as usual. We are all getting older, only two of us are able to shift the boxes now, and, two of our core team members are moving back to England this year. We have all had great fun running the sales and that’s how I want to remember them, not everyone thinking “Oh grief, it’s the bally Book Sale time again” ! I, especially will miss them a lot, I have loved picking out books for you to enjoy – and, I must admit, discovering new books and authors myself. Because of the above, I will be keeping a good stock of books here at home where people are welcome to come and browse /buy. Just contact me.

I can’t write this month’s blog without giving thoughts to the poor people of Ukraine. The news every day is heartbreaking and I can hardly bare to watch, but I force myself, bearing in mind how lucky I am to be doing that, watching instead of living it. I remember in the 1950s my parents took in three Hungarian refugees – no mean feat when we were already a family of four children. They were two women and a child and they remained friends with my parents for many, many years. Of course, at six years old I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t speak English and, why I had to give them my bedroom !!

Danielle, La Mere aux Betes, still has many dogs in need of a good home, take a look at her Facebook page and my adoptions page. Danielle is due to go home to Switzerland for a couple of weeks, so the fewer dogs she leaves for her dog-sitter, the better.

Fingers crossed, next month there will be better news.

Love,

Sue x

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3RD FEBRUARY 2022

Ouf ! So that is January done and dusted and I am quite happy about that. The cold I had over the Festive Season hung on and on until I threw in the towel and went to the doctor. Long story short he prescribed a huge dose of vitamin D and, hey presto, I feel good again. I would have been just as happy had he prescribed a holiday in the sun paid for by my mutuelle but apparently all the monthly payments I have made over the years, don’t cover that.

I remember a few years ago we had a fantastic February and actually got tshirts out, wouldn’t it be lovely if that happened again ? I am so fed up with not being warm enough. We don’t have central heating and rely mostly on a woodburner in our kitchen …… and thermal underwear !

Fingers crossed that we get our travel freedom back soon without having to test every five minutes, and that I finally get to the André Rieu concert at Wembley which has been postponed for two years now. Talking of concerts, we went to the wonderful New Year Concert of the Orchestra of Cahors last weekend. It was brillliant, however sadly, I fear that the thing that people will remember most is the moment when the conductor lost his grip on the baton and sent it flying across the stage !!

We had quite a few adoptions in January, but one lovely Brittany Spaniel pup was returned because the new owners felt he was not ‘connecting’ with them. The pup must have had some short of bad treatment in the past and although, on his own, he is a happy little chap, it is true that he is not bothered with people, so heneeds someone who is going to have the time and patience to bond with him.

This week we had our first Book Sale meeting of the year, to start preparing for the sale on April 2nd. I say ‘start’ but I have in fact been collecting and sorting since the last sale. Consequently we can only now take good condition paperbacks as we are ‘booked out’ with cookery, gardening and coffee table stuff. Sadly the sale in April will be our very last one so we are hoping that it will be a ‘wowser’ ! We will be celebrating our tenth anniversary and hope to go out in style – because the vet and feed bills won’t stop ! The problem is that two of our team who are our star bakers will be moving back to England this year, plus, we are (shh, whisper it) all getting older and it does take a lot of hard work and muscle setting the sales up. However, I am hoping to keep a good supply here, setting up shelves in our shed so that people can come and buy from me. I won’t be able to offer great cakes but should be able to rustle up a tea or coffee !

Keep warm !

Sue x

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30TH DECEMBER 2021

I know this is a couple of days early, but I didn’t want to start the New Year with a grouch, so decided to end the old year with one.

Thank you (not) all those Brexshit voters ! Thanks to you, it has become a morning’s work to send a gift to the UK and the cost of same is unbelievable. I try to do the good thing by shopping in local shops, sending French gifts and avoiding the ‘A’ company. (Amazon to anyone who has chosen – and I admire and envy you – to stay off grid for the last five years.) Then you wrap your gift, not in brown paper but in a box with ALL sides so sealed with brown tape so that the recipient might just succeed in opening the gift by August 2022, and off you to à La Poste ! If you go to our little Poste in St. Daunes, you will be greeted by a lovely young lady who will do everything for you, fill in the necessary forms on line, print off the customs declaration, then, sheepishly ask for a sum which would be enough to feed a third world country for a couple of days. Or, you may have the experience of a friend who queued for 25 minutes OUTSIDE her Post Office, only to be sent away to download and print her own declaration. Her granddaughter (luckily too young to know about Christmas) will NOT be receiving the beautifully hand knitted Snowman until they can meet in person. (Actually, I’ve got sights on the Snowman myself and I only live 20 minutes away !)

Then there are the hundreds of Brits over here who were so looking forward to friends and family coming over for Christmas and making up for being confined and curfewed last year. Yey ! Everyone was so excited, flights were booked, train tickets bought, lifts to airports and stations arranged. Ha, everyone ready ? Good, because, yah boo sucks, you ‘aint goin’ and your friends and family ‘aint coming. Don’t tell me this is a result of covid. It is a result of Brexit. Boris and Macron cannot stand each other and need their heads banging together. When covid numbers are going up in their hundreds of thousands every day, what is the point of closing borders ? We are all going to get it at some time but the vaccinated won’t die from it. As for the non-vaccinated, well that’s your choice but you have to be prepared to take the flak if you get it and end up in hospital, taking the bed from someone who needs it.

I heard of an English lady who runs a gite here and only rents to Brits ………… and she voted Brexit. I can’t bear it. I keep asking people to name one good thing that has resulted from Brexit and, do you know, not one single person has been able to give me one.

So, again, thank you (not) Brexit voters, for making life more difficult for everyone.

Ok, that’s it, my final grouch of the year ! I hope you all had a good Christmas, even if it was spoilt by the above. We had our usual Christmas Fizz with friends coming round on Christmas Day, then I was struck down on the 26th with what, if I hadn’t had the flu jab, I would have thought was the flu (drama queen ? Moi ?) and after reading about cold syptoms being the same as covid, and despite being three times jabbed, I had a couple of tests which were both negative. So I had the good old common cold which has lasted for four days and has strict instructions to leave before New Year’s Eve.

The Adoptions Page will be updated tomorrow, so take a peek, especially if you are looking for a VERY mischevious puppy !

Love,

Sue x

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ADOPTION ANNOUNCEMENT

Please note that Poorpaws, being full of unhomed dogs, has joined forces with La Mere aux Betes, a private refuge run by Danielle Diczy and situated in Castelnau Montratier, Lot. Danielle’s experience with, and knowledge of, all kinds of animals, their care and education, is phenominal. Danielle has closed her website page, transferred to doing everything on facebook and all dogs wanting to come into Poorpaws will go to La Mere aux Betes. I will continue to post the dogs on the Poorpaws adoption page, but you may like also to get all the latest news from Danielle’s Facebook page.

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3RD DECEMBER 2021

So, here we go again, it’s that time of year and, I have to admit, I love it ! I am not a religious person so that part of it doesn’t come into it for me, but I just love the atmosphere, the decorations and the fact that everyone seems to be just that bit happier. I am, as my friends know, a candle freak, so anyone going to Ikea over the next couple of days may find the Christmas fragrance candles rather short in supply !!

Hopefully this year we will all have more freedom. At the time of writing there are no restrictions announced and my pal Susie is due to come over on the 23rd. Fingers crossed nothing changes before then.

My present ? What I would LOVE is for Praline and Pocker to find new homes, they have been in the refuge for so very long. Praline is an absolute love bug but is a bit of a devil with cats and escaping ! Pocker is a particular dog who will love and be faithful to his owner, but would prefer to be the only one. He is not anxious to share. If you live in an isolated area, Pocker’s appearance would put off any uninvited visitors. So wouldn’t it be great if these two got new homes for Christmas.

We have a beautiful Brittany Spaniel puppy looking for a new home. Take a peek on the adoptions page and you will see just how gorgeous he is. I am sure he will not be with us for a year ! I would take him myself as Brittanys are my favourite but I think Ernst would leave me, our numbers are finally going down. Ernst / Brittany Spaniel ?! Hmm tough decision !!

Sadly, we ‘lost’ another dog a couple of weeks ago. Blackie, a very old Border Colley (who mistakenly was initially blamed for the attack on Tiny this time last year). Blackie came to us over five years ago when his owner was taken into hospital. He was a bit of a grumpy soul ( Blackie not the owner – but hey, who knows !) but he loved me and did his best to fit in. He had been incontinent for quite a while and a bit wobbly on his legs, but when he could no longer get up, it was time to let him go peacefully.

Something else I had to let go peacefully was my wonderful old car. A 21 year old Citroen who had never, ever let me down, even though I had not treated it well. Sadly she failed the control technique quite spectacularly and would have cost too much to repair. I wanted to keep her in the garden for the dogs but the insurance was ridiculous, so, she went. I took her to M. Tanguy in Montcuq and arrived in tears. He was very worried and thought I had had an accident in the new one ! Bless him, he took me into his daughter’s office to see her new Australian Shepherd puppy, to take my mind off the car – and, I am sure, to stop the tears poor guy !!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful Festive Season, I will join you in the festive atmosphere after next Tuesday ……..dental appointment, aaargh ! I am such a baby and get into such a state, but our pharmacie is running short on paracetamols because of me, so it is time to bite (no pun intended) the bullet !

Remember last year I was hoping for a greenhouse heater ? Never happened. This year I want mats for my ‘new’ car, so if you happen to meet Ernst anywhere, just drop a hint. Actually, no, a hint is no good, just tell him !!

Have a brilliant time and I hope you all get to where you want to be …… and get back !

Love,

Sue xx

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1ST NOVEMBER 2021

First of all, apologies for being so late with this month’s update ! A week ago my laptop was hacked ! I thought unplugging everything and ignoring it for a couple of days would sort the problem but no. I took it to a really nice chap in Cahors who, within seconds, got me back to my screensaver photo, then kept the laptop for a couple of days to ‘clean it out’. I asked him if I should get a more efficient protecion programme but he said that quite honestly it would make no difference. He did say however that if it happened again within a week, he would have to ‘take everything off the computer’ and effectively start again. OMG ! So if you don’t hear from me again you’ll know I have given up ! I always said that when I come out of dog rescue I would ditch the computer and never use it again – yeah, right !

Ok, get the tissues ready before you read much further ! A lovely lady called Doreen sent this poem to me, and to anyone/everyone who has had to make ‘that’ decision. It will make you cry – if you are not a robot – but it helps.

Today you did the bravest thing, today you set me free.

Thank-you for showing me the ultimate dignity

I ‘m sorry that my leaving has broken your kind heart

But we knew this day would come, the day we had to part

Don’t think I did not hear every last word you said

Don’t think I did not feel your trembling hand touch my head

Today you did the bravest thing, today you set me free

Thank-you for a wonderful life, thank-you for loving me.

This was particularly poignant to me in October as two of our oldies left us. After all the years of caring for dogs I should be used to it, but, no, it never gets easier. Dear Caline (cancer) and Nina ( kidney failure) were both of a jolly good age, 203 between them ! So, we are down to 13 now – I’m failing miserably in my aim to get to single figures by the time I hit 70 !

Our book sale in October was less successful than usual but we still raised 2,000 euros which was amazing considering that footfall was well down. I was quite disheartened at first, the sale means a lot of hard work for many people, but reasoning sensibly, there were quite a few reasons. Firstly we clashed with half term in France AND England, so many people were celebrating being able to travel again to see family and grandchildren. Then there are more people than I realised who are not vaccinated / do not have Passe Sanitaires, so, sadly we had to exclude them, not wanting to face a possible 1,500 fine. I heard some people (obviously not regulars) said they didn’t want to touch second hand books “just in case”. That I do not understand, books in our sale have been stored for the required time before going into the sale boxes and, quite honestly, do those people think that no-one has touched a new book before them ?! Not possible. However, although I don’t agree with anti vaccs people, I totally respect that they are entitled to their own opinions and plans are underway to convert our storage space into a (VERY) small ‘bookshop’, so people can make an appointment to come and browse alone.

Staying on the book sale subject, next year will be our tenth year of sales !! We intend to make this a Really Big Occasion (and possibly our last, depending on various factors). The proposed date is Saturday 2nd April and we will be ‘open’ for a longer time, rather than opening on the Sunday.

On the dog front there have been many adoptions, Robin and Marley have gone to new homes, I cannot understand why Spot is still with Danielle, what a lovebug he is, and Black, ok, ‘just’ a black dog but boy, what a darling. If you are hesitating, hesitate no more, Black will enhance your life !

Viruses, bugs and hackers permitting, I’ll be back at the end of the month.

Sue xx

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1ST OCTOBER 2021

Happy Birthday brother Phil !

Our holiday on Ile de Ré was jinxed this year. As I told you last month, we had to cancel our second week, then half way through our first week, we had a call to say that an elderly friend of ours had died, so we had to leave early for the funeral. Still, we came back with happy memories as usual.

A few weeks ago Jip, one of our Brittany Spaniels decided to go walkies on his own and didn’t come home until the evening. He was sat outside our back gate and, strangely, when I opened the gate and called him in, he just sat a looked at me pitifully. Me, all heart, said to him impatiently “oh come on Jip, stop mucking about”. He then walked very slowly to the gate and it was then I saw to my horror he had a coil of barbed wire attached to him. How he got home I’ll never know. It took me about 40 minutes to free him and, amazingly, the only damage done was a bleeding ear. Dogs’ ears bleed profusely when injured. I mopped him up and disinfected the wound and he was his usual happy self. A couple of days later I was fondling his ears and realised there was a hole big enough for me to get my little finger through ! He could have had one of those strange big black stud earrings that some guys wear ! Off to the vet who proposed either stitching it up or making a hole in the other ear and buying earrings ! I plumped for the first suggestion. However, sadly, it didn’t mend and poor Jip ended up having the bottom of his ear cut off. I decided to buy him some paints and a canvas to see what he could come up with but, sadly, no talent there !!!

I’m delighted to report that lovely Roxia has gone to a fab new home, in fact she is tobe the sister/playmate of Ivanoe a gorgeous chocolate Lab, adopted from Danielle.

You all know by now that I cannot take in any more dogs, the 15 I have will now be here for life and although some of them are really old and ‘knockin’ on heaven’s door’, they are not actually going through the door ! So, no room for more which is why I work closely with Danielle Diczy of La Mere aux Betes refuge at Castelnau Montratier. Danielle has many dogs who need more education before being put up for adoption and at the moment she is also trying to help an ex chasseur who has quite a few dogs who live in good conditions and who the chasseur wants to keep and care for. The problem is that money is short and Danielle is asking for donations of croquettes to help him out. To rehome the dogs would be a problem and the guy doesn’t want to do that. Danielle would also be very grateful for any veterinary medications you may have at the back of a cupboard and which you don’t need any more. The sell by date is of no importance. So if anyone can help, please contact me.

Another way you can help is to come to the Vide Grenier at St. Laurent Lolmie (Lot) on 10th October where both Danielle and I will be selling a great selection of items, from bric a brac to excellent condition second hand clothes.

Now, our Autumn Book Sale – yey ! The weekend of 23rd/24th October, here in St. Pantaleon at the Salle de Fetes (10 am to 2pm Saturday, 10 to 1 Sunday). A really great selection of fabulous condition books (classics which I cannot bear to dispose of may be less than pristine) all at one euro each, plus our famous excellent home made cakes. Samosas are back (!) and lunchtime soup home made by wonderful Walter. Our dear musician Ray cannot be there but Peter Quinsee will be there to provide music for us. Please, please, support us if you can. PASSE SANITAIRE AND FACEMASKS OBLIGATORY !! Sorry folks but it’s the rules and we all want to keep safe !

With love,

Sue x

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3RD SEPTEMBER 2021

So, there I was happily updating the adoptions page when the date suddenly came out and smacked me between the eyes, 3rd September ! Where do the days go ?!

Last month I said we would be selling clothes at the St. Daunes vide grenier on the 8th and indeed we did. Sadly it was a pitifully small vide whereas usually St. D has stalls right through the village and on to the adjoining field. This time just stalls up the village ‘main road’. However, we managed to raise about 350 euros, better than a poke in the eye with a wet umbrella but only about half what we usually make at Montcuq. Still, two months of dog croquettes paid for ! It was a really hot day which was fortunate as the previous week had been dreadful.

August was a funny old month weatherwise wasn’t it ? I kept waiting for Summer to really start, but it never did. Ok some very hot days but very few of the warm balmy evenings I remember from previous years. Still, mustn’t grumble, we weren’t fighting forest fires or coping with terrible flash floods.

I have spent most of the month sorting out books for our next sale (23rd/24th October) and would like to thank those who have donated so far for the excellent selections. My main problem now is to read all those I want to before the sale. (Doreen will you make it this time ?) A couple of times I have chosen books with recommendations from famous respected authors on the front. For example “One of the best thrillers you’ll read this year – Val McDermid” or, “The twists just keep coming – Harlen Coban”, only to find that the books are total rubbish. This makes me mad, in fact, so mad, that I found contact email addresses for both those authors and emailed them to ask “Seriously ?! Have you actually read this book ?”. No reply from either. Funny that ! I have started sticking stars on the books that I have read and enjoyed and one book which I felt compelled to stick two stars on, was The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. The true story of a couple who, due to circumstances beyond their control (no spoilers here) found themselves homeless and penniless AND at the same time found that the husband Winn had an incurable disease. Instead of accepting a council house and benefits – which they and thousands of others were/re entitled to – they decided to deal with their situation their way and their way was to pack up knapsacks and to walk the Salt Path. A brilliant book, read it even if you read nothing else this year !

Ernst and I are off on our usual annual jaunt to Ile de Ré on the 18th September. We were to go for two weeks but Ernst’s sister has sold her house and, sod’s law, what was to be our second week is the week the house has to be cleared. So all family hands on deck. Never mind, definitely two weeks next year !

Sorry about last month’s promised puppies, they were homed before I could get fingers to keyboard !

Happy September to one and all !

Sue x

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1ST AUGUST 2021

Many years ago, my friend Sue who was staying with me, left me her walking jacket to use. The first time I used it was to put it a little way away outside our back gate so that when one of our dogs, who had run off, came home, she would wait by the jacket (this works by the way – usually !). I put the jacket out at 8pm and got up at 1am to go and check. No dog …….and no jacket !!!! This was a mystery. To get to the back of our property which is more or less isolated, you have to climb up a hill and circumnavigate the garden, so it could not have been someone just passing by. So I just told people to look out for a sanglier wearing a black fleece lined rain jacket !

Fast forward eight years and I decide to cut (hack) a path through the undergrowth behind our garden to get to a flat area the other side where one of our cats regularly sits and cries pitifully until I walk all the way round the wooded bit to get him to come in for supper. I’m sure you are there before me, yes, in the middle of a particularly nasty mess of brambles was my jacket !!! Way beyond being any use to anyone. I can only assume a fox or sanglier dragged it away in the hope there was something edible in there somewhere.

I had a very awkward moment at the St. Pantaleon vide grenier last week when I took to sell three little tables of different sizes – the sort you put ornaments or candles on in the corner of a room – which I had bought from a friend who ‘distresses’ furniture. I had decided that they really took up too much room for very little purpose. I had been assured that the friend I bought them from would not be at the vide . Huh, yep, along she came in the afternoon. She was very nice about it and wanted to buy them back. I insisted she just take them but she insisted more that she wanted to buy them (at much less than I had paid in the first place), so she went off quite happy in the knowledge that she could repaint them and sell them on again. That was fine, then I realised there was a cushion cover on my table which I didn’t much like but which she had given me because there was a dog’s head on it. I got out of that one by saying that I had put it out to advertise that I was selling in aid of the dog charity. I am not a good friend !!!

Talking of vide greniers, I had been collecting for our usual mammouth clothes stall at the Montcuq vide at the end of August, only to be told that it is not going to happen this year ! Disaster, I can hardly see my bed for clothes rails and boxes. There is however a vide at St. Daunes on Sunday 8th August, so I signed up for that one. Three days later I got a call to say that had been cancelled too …… then another call to say it was on again ! Brilliant, only I looked at the weather forecast today ……. not good ! Still, fingers crossed and if anyone has good condition ladies clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry to donate, please get in touch rapidly so that I can collect.

Most people know that I work with Danielle of La Mere aux Betes who is just the most amazing animal rescuer. From injured birds through to sheep and donkeys, she is always ready with advice and help. Recently a couple brought to her a baby deer who was wandering in the road. Normally people are told not to touch them as the mother will reject them after but this one was clearly alone and in distress. Danielle took her (him ?!) in, bottle fed the poor thing and just look now ! When she/he is old enough he will go into a field with the goats and up to him if he stays or goes.

Lots of new dogs to go on the website ( puppies too !), I have just got to get to grips with the new set out of the website !

Sue xx

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4th July 2021

Middle Sunday of Wimbledon so one day to get done all the stuff that has been left undone for the past week before it’s heads down for the second week.  It has been a great tournament so far, although all the slipping and sliding over has been rather worrying and many players have pulled out.

Anyway, blah de blah, the most important thing to say is a HUGE thank you to all of you who supported our book sale in June  which raised £2,400, almost up to pre covid sales.  The weather was wonderful and everyone seemed very happy to be there.  Many of you thanked us for still going ahead with the sales which pushes all of my ‘this is the last one’ thoughts out of my head.  Yes, it is a lot of work and the ‘book’ work carries on all through the year with the sorting etc., but the compliments we receive on the condition and quality of the books and  the ‘yumminess’ of the cakes, really does make it worthwhile.  We are going to give the Sunday morning trial one more go to see if more people come along, then make a decision on whether to continue or just stick to the Saturday.

Regular readers will remember my adorable Olivia, really blotting her copybook over Christmas by attacking Tiny, our little one- eyed poodle.  Since then they have never ever been together without supervision and all has been peace and light.  Until two weeks ago.  Ernst and I were having supper, Tiny was asleep under the table, then Olivia came in and went for him with no provocation.  It was awful, Tiny screaming, me shouting and giving Olivia a clout and blood everywhere.  Olivia was immediately chained up in a park (if she is not tied up she jumps over the fence) and I did my best to look at the damage.  Not easy with Tiny who communicates with his teeth when stressed !  I managed to get a muzzle on him and called the vets.  Luckily, it was the wonderful Dr. Cros (the man I should have spent my life with … !!!) and he said to come to the surgery immediately.  Having managed to clean Tiny up – though keeping the muzzle on – Dr. Cros (who pretended not to notice I was crying and snotty) said it was lucky Tiny only had one eye as he certainly would have lost one then.  After the blood was cleaned off, the damage was superficial and no stitches were needed.  however, now our home is more like a French farce, Tiny is restricted to the kitchen and Olivia has the garden.  When Tiny needs to pee, Olivia is locked up.  A rotten thing to say, but Tiny is 16 and Olivia is only three, so hopefully the situation won’t last a long time.

I love gardening, though I have to say I do not have green fingers, and every year I say to myself that I’ll only plant geraniums as they are impossible to kill, but every year I am seduced by other plants.  This year I decided on Verveine, supposed to bloom all Summer and be no trouble.  Huh !  We have the fattest snails ever now … and no Verveine left.  I cannot, will not, use chemicals against insects, not only because we need them, but the dogs will eat anything and everything.  So, back to the nursery and home with a barrow load of geraniums !!

Although we have a lot of dogs at the moment, they are not ready for adoption and the ones who are, don’t seem to be appealing to you.  No worries, we have periods like this, nothing for a while then all of a sudden they all go.

Had my second jab on Friday and, stupidly, forgot the one paracetamol before and one after, advice.  Boy did I feel rough yesterday.  So much so I even sent Ernst off to an apero invitation on his own whilst I slept.  Luckily, feeling tickety boo today and looking forward to the Montaigu Theatre Group’s garden Murder Mystery this afternoon.  I’m sure Gaynor, my pal and future carer, (though she may dispute the word ‘future’  !)  is the murderer, I’ve always thought she has a dark side !!!

Sue x
PS This is Hailla (pronounced Hiya), the latest Poorpaws resident.  A nine year old German Shepherd with hip problems, and she is the sweetest, gentlest dog ever.  A traumatic handover for her owner, and me, but I have promised I will care for her and love her for as long as she has got. 

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1ST JUNE 2021

I’m writing this month’s update looking out across a beautiful mountain view !  Ernst and I have come up to La Clusaz to spend a few days with his sister and brother-in-law.  We have been here since Sunday and the weather so far has been wonderful so we have had some great mountain rambles.  We brought Olivia our Newfie/German Shepherd with us thinking she would love the long walks as she certainly loves keeping me awake all night now and then by running off and coming back up to 24 hours later !  However, she is totally unimpressed and plods along looking miserable and refusing the water we take with us.  She has managed to master going up and down the steep open stairs in the chalet though.  The first time she came down them it was as though she was on a luge, two front legs on the top stair, gradually, gradually inching down until the weight of her body took charge and she slid down to the bottom.  We tried not to laugh and she did not try not to look offended !  She’s got the hang of it now and woe betide anyone in front of her on the stairs who is at risk of being ‘taken out’ as she slides down.

As soon as I get back it is full steam ahead for the Book Sale, on the 12th/13th June.  Everything is in place and all we need is to see you with plenty of empty bags to fill, dear Reader !

Whilst I am away, superstar Tiffany is staying chez nous and I have every confidence in her, though that didn’t stop y usual PRE holiday blues when I get nervous and anxious about going away.  Tiffany is great, she arrived in her camping car with five dogs and two cats and within half an hour all the dogs were quite happily mixing in with ours in the garden.  I had removed the very old ones and taken them to Danielle as they are likely to get snappy if the others accidentally bump into them.  Of course, the very elderly Teddy (a reclaim following the death of his owner) decided to have an epileptic fit the day before we left so I’m hoping he will still be around when we get home.

We have had lots of dogs in over the last month and, happily, lots of adoptions.  Olga, Billy, Sam, Punch, Jerry, Axle and Jazz have all gone to fabulous homes and we are getting excellent reports back of their progress.  A huge thank you to all who have given these lovely dogs a bright future.

Apparently it is apero time, I love that about holidays, apero time is always more special than at home, so I’ll sign off and look forward to seeing lots of you on the 12th/13 !

Sue x

 

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1ST MAY 2021

Oh the stress, the stress !  It’s worming time here at Poorpaws which means dosing thirteen dogs on three consecutive days with what, I am sure, is foul tasting liquid.  Why don’t I just give them a pill ?  Well, I’m quite a mean person (I mean ‘mean’ as in don’t like to spend money, not being mean to anyone/thing) and the liquid is much, much cheaper than the easy pill.  Of course there are a couple of dogs who just WILL NOT open their mouths when they spy the syringe and they of course get the pill in cheese.  The others, darlings all of them, trust me (oops !) so happily comply, only to look at me reproachfully when they realise what is going on.  Of course they all get treats afterwards but they are definitely (or definately for Line of Duty fans) offish with me afterwards.  Anyway, we are on day two of the treatment, so just one day to go.  As many of our dogs are very elderly, we have quite a few who are on daily medications, so getting the worming done, dishing out the daily meds and stopping the dogs not needing meds from trying to drink the cough medicine meant for others, is quite a task and I have to admit that at the end of it I am not 100% sure that the right dogs have had the right treatment !!

I realise many people will be disappointed with the ghastly wet day forecast but I am delighted !  I had a massive plant up of pots yesterday and they are all out there now drinking like mad and, hopefully, preparing to bloom beautifully.  I love gardening, though, sadly, am not blessed with green fingers.  Our garden is littered with ‘quirky’ stuff, for example an old ‘pop pop’ bike used by everyone in France very many years ago is not decorated with flowers, but strings of onions and garlic.  There are also two really old bicycles found in the outhouse of a property bought by a friend,  a tiny, very rusty kiddie’s bike found in the garden of another house bought by another friend and an old wooden wheelbarrow found in an attic.  My latest project is a ‘vertical garden’ which I saw on line and which consists of two wooden pallets, one providing the back and the other cut up to make planting ‘shelves’ across the front.  Well, Ernst is a master carpenter so I asked if he could make one for me. He said he would so I suggested he looked at the online video.  Pooh poohed that idea, he knew how to do it.  First model turned out to be a horizontal garden.  Rejected kindly.  Second model had ‘shelves’ that were so shallow that I couldn’t put plants in them.  Rejected rather tersely.  Third model ok, but the third shelf is at floor level, er, we have many male dogs !  However, this model was accepted in desperation as I wanted to get it planted up before Winter !  I have just put the teeny bike in front to stop the dogs peeing on it.  I finally planted it up with herbs yesterday and would add a photo but it looks rather feeble at the moment so I’ll wait until the plants have bushed out a bit.

We have had quite a few donations from people since we were unable to run the Book Sale in April and I would like to thank everyone so much.  The donations will be credited against book purchases in June (12th/13th).  Thanks to you, the vets are paid up to date and food supply is guaranteed.  We are keeping everything crossed that nothing stands in the way of the June sale when we will be so happy to see you all.

Only little Axel on the adoptions page and he looks like he will be going to a new home very soon.  This is not to say that we don’t have dogs for adoption, it just means that Danielle has been so busy, she hasn’t had time to send me photos.  You can always check out the website ‘secondechance’ and just click on ‘Midi Pyrenees’, then ‘Lot’ and you will see, amongst others, our dogs under ‘La Mere aux Betes.  You could also go on to her Facebook page.

Last episode of Line of Duty tomorrow – yippee !  “Mother of God” I hope we find out who ‘H’ is, my money is on Kate  !

Sue x

 

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4TH APRIL 2021

Happy  Easter Day to you all and I hope you have lots of chocolates to eat !  I have a little white (chocolate) bunny who will be meeting his fate this evening whilst I am watching, and trying to understand, Line of Duty !!

These days I have to be very careful when watching any series because Ernst and I seem to be the only ones in our group of friends who actually watch anything in ‘real time’.  If, when having coffee with girlfriends, I start to comment on a programme, I am more often than not, faced with the others putting hands over their ears going “la la la la stop it, I haven’t watched it yet” !!!!  We rarely watch anything except BBC as we cannot stand adverts so friends are always telling us to get this system or that, so we can watch without the publicities.  Trouble is, we are really not techno friendly and I really don’t think I could deal with it.  I say “I” because Ernst is very matter of fact, you either watch something or you don’t, end of !

I thought this month’s news would be all doom and gloom about having to postpone the Book Sale – as we had to this time last year – I was so fed up about it, BUT  putting it into perspective,  reconfinement does not affect me in a really bad way, I have not lost my job/business, I am not worried about where the rent/mortgage is coming from because I am on furlough, I have a large garden and Ernst and I are in good health.  How lucky are we ?

The good news is that we have managed to rebook the hall for the 11th/12th/ and 13th JUNE, when, hopefully, the weather will be good, many more of us will have had, at least our first vaccinations and feel happier about going out.

Oh, by the way, can the person who donated the hardback cover book  ‘The Body in the Castle Well’ by Martin Walker, get in touch with me ?  

Excellent news is that dear Zac, who has been with us for several months now, has been adopted, as has Naty, who I thought looked rather scary but in fact who is a big pussy cat – well, not really, but you know what I mean.  We are really surprised that Pheonix has not attracted any takers, this is one amazing dog, an absolute gem.

The 13 permanent canine residents here with us (all unadopted for one reason or another) continue to thrive even though several of them are beyond their ‘sell by’ date !  Fewer can now manage the long daily walk and are happy just to potter around the garden and lie in the sunshine.  Dear little Pixie, who is a rough haired terrier, was found by the roadside, so frightened when she came to us  then learned to trust us, turning into everyone’s darling, so much so that I could not let her go because I know she would feel betrayed.  She will NOT leave the garden (I’m sure she is scared of being abandoned again) and does everything she can to stop the others going out too !  She polices the gate when we leave for a walk and actually hangs on to the legs of her favourite chums, to stop them going to the frightening Big Outside, seeming to say “no, no, don’t go, you may not come back” !!

Love, love, loving this wonderful weather and spending lots of time in the garden.  I was tempted to get some geraniums but looking at the forecast, this sunshine is just a teaser before Summer and frosts are forecast so I’ll hang on and go and sit and read in the greenhouse instead !

Love,

Sue x

 

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28TH FEBRUARY 2021

Lots of good news !  Dearest Princess Rosiepop of Queen  Latte has gone to a brilliant home and is much adored, their gain is my loss but I m really happy for her.  Olia and Rusty are just two of the other dogs adopted this month, we seem to be on a roll at the moment, however, Zac is still waiting for the right person to come along as is dear Naty.  Little Prancer – I’m petitioning for his name to be changed – has come to us and he is one lively little critter !  A great little chap for anyone looking for a small dog, but not for the faint hearted exercise wise.  He needs A  LOT !!!  Also needs to be where cats are not !

I’m going to tell you about the daughter of a great friend of mine.  Eloise has been a dog lover ever since she was tiny and she and her brother Julian even made a collection box for Poorpaws which they put in her mother’s shop.  Eloise is now a beautiful young lady whose love for dogs has never wained.  A few weeks ago, whilst walking the family dog, she noticed a big hairy dog hanging around the area where she walked.  It was there for several days and enquiries resulted in her learning that the dog was sleeping in the porchway of a (closed) restaurant.  The owners of the restaurant fed her but could not get near her, she was just too nervous.  From then on, Eloise went down every day, come rain; come shine, come serious brrrrrr and just sat near the dog, laying treats out to encourage the dog to be unafraid and get close.  After a couple of weeks, yes, weeks, the dog was brave enough to take a treat from Eloise’s outstretched leg, would accept a stroke but no question of attaching a lead or collar.  So, the big guns were called in and my colleague Danielle went down to help.  A mild sedative was slipped into a treat and some time later the dog got a bit wobbly on her pins and laid down with her head on Eloise’s lap.   On with the collar and lead, into the car and off to Danielle’s to check for a chip.  No chip, so appointment made for a check up at the vet.  The dog was in good health and was much younger than at first thought.  Of course, by now Eloise was smitten and I am delighted to report that after a test meeting with Melita, the resident family dog, Sienna, as the dog has been named, is happily living  in a warm, loving family environment.

Time to remind you of our Book Sale, which at the time of typing, is all set for the weekend of 10th April, with a few ‘covid rules’ as last time.  I am collecting books now,  BUT  CANNOT  TAKE  ANY  ON  THE  DAY, so if you have any to donate, please contact me – susanglibbery@gmail.com / 0565245303 – to arrange collection.  We have sufficient cookery books and coffee table type books – and will need to employ Arnold Schwarzenegger to carry them !

Loving this Springtime weather and am spending hours in the garden – and reading in the greenhouse – how lucky we are to have a garden.  I have a friend who lives in a flat in Toulon with an ailing partner and she is finding the restricted freedom hard to cope with.  For many years she has been talking about moving to a house with outside space, but it is too late now, they are both too elderly.  I spoke to her yesterday and she assures me that in her ‘next life’ she will definitely have a garden and she and I will be neighbours !  Yikes, I hope that doesn’t happen any time soon !

Love,

Sue x

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8TH FEBRUARY 2021

I am going to have to give myself lines, “I must check date every day.  I must check date every day.”   (I wonder if children still have to do lines at school when they are naughty, I did and we also had to ‘dub’ footballs in detention, back in the days of heavy leather footballs ! )  It completely escaped me that we are already in February.  This is the thing when we are lucky enough to be retired, dates and days seem to have no relevance.  Hands up those who don’t wake up every morning wondering what day it is !

Curfew is not bothering us much, I can’t remember when I wanted to stay out beyond 1800 but I am glad that we seem to have dodged the confinement bullet, for the moment anyway.  I have nearly got through all my ‘to do’ list, so cannot put off any longer, working on my citizenship application !  I have downloaded the Livret du Citoyen and am enjoying reading it.  Whether or not I can retain all the information remains to be seen !

Coffee mornings with a (very) few friends are important, but how I wish we talked about other  things than the weather, vaccinations and residency cards !  Books and dvds are always top of my chat subjects at the moment, but how lovely it would be to talk holidays, village fetes and …….. The Book Sale !  Yes, we are hoping to have our Spring Book Sale the weekend after Easter, which means it will be the weekend of 10th April.  Extending it to include the Sunday last time, so that the Saturday wouldn’t be too crowded, didn’t prove to be much of a success after all but we are going to give it another go.  This time however everything will be the usual price, not 50% off as last time, this because 90% of the lovely people who came on the Sunday, insisted on paying full price anyway !

I am collecting books already and please, please, please remember, good condition ONLY.  Not yellowing, musty pages complete with the insect and cobwebs collection from lofts, plus out of date (really out of date) maps and city guides.  Sorry to be particular about this but poor Ernst spends days sometimes before the sales going round the rubbish bins in the Lot disposing of books that we cannot sell.  Just ask yourself would you buy the book.  If not, bin it or leave it on your shelf.

In the last newsletter I told you about Princess Rosiepops of Queen Latte and I am delighted to tell you that she has come on tremendously and will soon be looking for a home.  Sadly I cannot keep her but I would like to be the one to home her.  So, if you are young retired and lead a peaceful life, she is for you.  No young children, perhaps, though not essential, an older calm dog.  A garden, but long walks not necessary.  This is a jewel of  a dog and deserves the very best of homes.

Ok, back to studying, did you know that the Loire is the longest river in France ?  Of course you did !

Stay safe,

Sue

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RUSTY AND OLIA

BOTH  ADOPTED !!!!

12/02/21  Update:  Rusty the Pointer (not Frosty the snowman, why did that come to my mind ?!) has been adopted !

Now, don’t get confused by the name as I did.  Rusty is NOT the rust coloured dog but the beautiful Pointer cross !  He is 5 months old and would make great family dog.  A lovely friendly chap who would be best with a fenced garden or isolated property.  The rust coloured one is Olia a cute little female of two years old and who doesn’t need other dogs to make her life complete.  Ideal for anyone looking for a smaller dog.

23RD JANUARY 2021

Sorry to those who noticed, that there wasn’t a newsletter at the end of 2020.  To be perfectly honest I couldn’t think of anything cheerful to say.  Unfortunately our Festive Season was anything but !  All dog related, so, self inflicted some might say.  I won’t bore you with all the details, suffice to say that I was looking after four puppies for Danielle whilst she went to Switzerland for a couple of weeks for a well earned rest and to visit family.  All four pups had been vaccinated but even so, all four went down with parvo virus.  This is a really ghastly disease and, if not caught in time, fatal.  In fact even if it is caught it still can be fatal. I recognised the symptoms straight away but despite my best efforts, two of the puppies died, one appears to be handicapped and one recovered 100% and is now happily bouncing off the walls in his new home.  The handicapped one, who was originally called Rosie, but when she was so ill and I feared she might have a short life, I gave her a long distinguished name – Princess Rosiepup of Queen Latte (because she is the colour of a milky coffee).  Rosie was in a lot of pain and painkillers weren’t touching it, which made for many sleepless nights for both of us.  Then the lovely vet, Anais, gave me some cannabis oil – for Rosie I hasten to add ! – and it was like day and night.  The problem was Rosie had something wrong with a vertebrae which hurt every time she moved, so she just stopped moving.  The cannabis stopped the pain, Rosie started moving and the vertebrae started to heal itself.   When Danielle came home from Switzerland she took Rosie home with her, is carrying on her treatment and there is, hopefully, a new home in view.  Of course I was heartbroken to see her go but she needs to be in a place where she does not spend all her time in a bedroom, when I am not around, in case another dog accidently steps on her.

Whilst all this was going on, I was awoken one morning but the yelping of our not so nice Poodle, Tiny.  I raced into the kitchen to find him lying on the floor and there was blood.  He had been attacked by one of our other dogs.  Now, to be blunt, Tiny is a pain in the proverbial and this has probably been a long time coming BUT he did not deserve that.  The main problem is that Tiny loves to be stroked but will not put up with ANYTHING else.  Will not have a collar on, will not have a lead and will not be manipulated in any way, he nips.  So, a wounded Tiny was a HUGE problem.  He pulled himself up on to a settee and lay there shaking whilst I called the vet.  Getting him into the car was not fun, I was in tears, he was growling and snapping.  Usually I put a lasso lead on him and gently get him to move before he realises he is restricted in movement and goes totally berserk, but there were wounds round his neck so a lead was out of the question. Ernst brought the car up to the door and I managed to gently push Tiny towards it where, hallelujah, he jumped in.  When I got to the vets the wonderful assistants came out, got a muzzle on him and gently lifted him in. (I have stolen the muzzle in case of need !).  The bites around the neck were horrific and I blamed our old Border Colley who has been known to give a curled lip and nip from time to time.  Imagine then my astonishment when the vet said it must have been a dog with a Very Big Mouth.  OLIVIA ?!  The present love of my life Newfie cross.  Olivia, who the day before had let little Rosie climb all over her, pull her ears, hang on her lip and whom I had even taken a photo of with Rosie’s head completely in her mouth !!!  The vet said there was no doubt from the position of the bite marks, it was one bite not several.  Thank St. Cadbury I didn’t get Blackie pts !  I only believe it because when we were on holiday last year, Tiffany who dog sat for us, said that Olivia had had a nip at Tiny.  Anyway, Tiny came home with staples  round his neck and down his chest.  I was dreading taking him hack to have them taken out but a muzzle is a wonderful thing !  He now lives in my bedroom and will not come out if Olivia is around.

So, with all that going on I did not feel at all festive and had to cancel a couple of the few planned limited get togethers.  Plus my mate Sue who always comes to us for Christmas, obviously could not come.  HOWEVER, we are not amongst those who could not travel to be with families, could not be with grandchildren, and neither of us have covid, so, we are lucky.

See what I have done, I said I wouldn’t bore you……… hee hee, are you grabbing for alcohol now, even though you are on ‘dry January’ ?!

I’m now going to update the adoptions page, though I think there is only one to add.  Is there no-one out there who could give Zac a home ?  He has been waiting so long.

Wishing everyone a much better year than last year, although I fear we are certainly not out of the woods yet.  The sales have started and I’m not even tempted, realising that the only clothes I have worn for a long time are joggers and jumpers !  What I absolutely must find is a 2021 diary – not that there is much to put in it !  A friend insists I can use my tablet as there is a facility on that to create a diary but I’m not having much luck, apparently I was supposed to have lunch with a friend at 8am last Sunday !!!

Love,

Sue

 

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