30 December 2008

Out of the Hell Hole

Today is going to be a big day at Pension Milou. Two new dogs are coming to live - forever - at Pension Milou. And no, that's not Pension Milou in the photograph - that's the hell they've been rescued from. (Thanks to Michele for the photos)

The dogs - two female hunting dogs around 8 or 10 years of age - have been living (if you can call it that) in the Languedoc - around Beziers (about 4 or 5 hours from here) - in a roughly 2 metre square run for about 8 years. Never let out of this small area, never cleaned out and living on top of 8 years of their excrement, estimated at about 2 or more feet of it. Can you imagine?! Their food and water bowls filthy with poop too. The food was simply thrown over the top of the fencing and was mostly stale bread and I suppose some dog food, else they'd be dead. Look at the photos and look away - happily they were taken out of here yesterday morning.

Let me explain how it is they are coming to live, for the rest of their lives, at Pension Milou.

Two nights ago I got an email with the photos you see here. I nearly didn't open the email. I can't bear to look at suffering animals and we all get dreadful emails, don't we? This was addressed to me though (not spam) by a great lady called Michele, who runs an animal rescue organisation (Comite de Soutien a la Cause Animale) in this part of south -western France. She'd been told to write to me by another organisation, Sans Collier Provence, who knew I already had a rescue hound.

Well life is good or bad timing, isn't it? First of all, I had several trips away this year and even though I had a good time, for the first time in my life, I found myself missing home. Old age? Anyway I'd made the decision I don't want to travel again. To say never, is a long time, but that's how I feel at the moment. In addition to this, I missed out on saving an Old English Sheepdog last Christmas. I still think about that and regret it dreadfully. With hindsight she could have been saved, although at the time circumstances didn't allow it. Hindsight is a fine thing! She was put to sleep. One day I'll write about but it's still painful to think about and caused me sleepless nights for months. 'My breed' too, as I used to show and breed Old English, which made it even worse somehow.

So when the email arrived, with photos of these poor dogs, I had to do something. Not just for them but for me.

After one phone call, Michele said she'd arrange to get the dogs out the following day - that was yesterday. I had one proviso tho - they must be tested for mange. There is no way I could take a dog with mange, particularly sarcoptic mange, as it is highly contagious and difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate properly.

Getting the dogs out and into a car was not easy. The dogs were traumatised. Imagine living in such a tiny space for 8 years, never let out. They were taken to the vet immediately. Just think of the smell in the car? The vet treated them for their massive infestation of fleas. He took skin scrapings and after checking under a microscope, confirmed there is no mange. Thank goodness. They do have a dreadful bacterial skin infection tho. Later they were taken to a dog grooming salon where they were bathed in an anti-bacterial veterinary shampoo and again in a special gel to help rid the skin of bacteria. This must be done twice a week for a month. They are on antibiotics for their terrible skin and also they've been wormed and this morning, apparently, they passed loads of tapeworms (hardly surprising with all the fleas on them as the flea, of course, is the host for the tapeworm). Thankyou so much to the ladies who coped with getting these two dogs out of this hell and into the vet and later to the grooming salon and then back to one of their homes.

The story of these two dogs is that they used to belong to a hunter who gave or sold them to a woman in the area. She wasn't cruel as such (meaning they weren't beaten and they were fed) - although I would definitely consider these conditions to be cruel. NO question. She recently died and her son wanted the dogs OUT. Either he would kill them or send them to another hunter, who apparently keeps his dogs in even worse condition. The mind boggles. There are four other dogs left behind but living inside the house. Apparently in dreadful conditions too but at the moment, he won't allow them to be removed. I've been involved in these situations before and whilst there are veterinary authorities, too often the attitude is, 'Oh they are country dogs' and so it's OK. It's NOT.

The brown and white hound is an Ariégeois and is called Maya. The black one is called Miss and I'm told is a Basset Bleu de Gascogne but I think her legs look too long to be truly that breed? I may change their names just slightly - so they recognise the sound but so they have a new name for their new lives here.

Of course I'm a little worried. I've been told to walk them in the garden on lead as they don't understand the concept of space and would freak out. I'm also told they are very strong and I have an arthritic neck and shoulder (caused by an untreated whiplash injury forever ago) - so I worry I can cope with strong dogs on a lead - but then someone sensible said 'Worry is interest paid on trouble before it becomes due.' Try telling that to a worrier... In fact, I plan on walking the dogs around the whole garden tomorrow and hopefully it won't be long before they can go out off-lead and be FREE.

I had a call about an hour ago and they are en route. Should be here mid-afternoon. Come back tomorrow and I'll show you photographs of them living in a bit more comfort than before... I've been cleaning for them all morning although this place at its worst would be the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo for these poor dogs.


Tanya Breese said...

Welcome Home Maya and Miss! I can't believe they've been living in those awful conditions for 8 years. Poor babies. I am sure they will be so happy in their new home. Makes my heart happy :)

Hilda said...

The second and third photos just made me cry. Thank you to the people of the rescue organization, and thank you, Jilly, for taking them in.

Small City Scenes said...

Brovo to you. I don not understand people although I do think some get overwhelmed and don't know what to do--DUH!!

My daughter rescued a Black and Tan Hound from similar but not quite as bad condition. Well....... The dog was kept in a small kennel all of her 2yrs and never let out, she had no name--this was by a man who showed these dogs. She had a cherry eye and large hernia on her belly. We took care of all that and now she is in a happy warm home with two loving little boys and she is in Heaven. So I applaud you Jilly. MB

angela said...

Oh, Jilly, what a shocking tale of ignorance and cruelty. Those poor dogs.
I hope they settle down alright like Beau..

Anonymous said...


Very admirable. These dogs will reward you in spades with their love and affection.


manhattan beach, ca

p.s.: I was in Monaco last week and got to see all the nativity scenes. my wife is from ventimiglia. we were visiting the area for the holidays.

Belgrade Daily Photo said...

What a horror! It is such a wonderful thing you are doing to care for these poor dogs. I can't wait to hear how they adjust to their new home. I imagine there might be some bumps in the road at the beginning but they will have each other for comfort and what a wonderful life they'll be living.

Neva said...

I can't wait to see how they do with you.....my first dog was a basset but was not that long legged but maybe it is to breed specifications...and the other one looks like my Simon....I hope all goes well!

Julie said...

Good post, Jilly. Such a good post ... and yes, I can understand the personal devils driving you here ... BUT ... please take care of YOU as well ... okay?

I do so like that quote about "worry" which is new to me.

Virginia said...

Love and prayers for you as your welcome these pups into your home and your heart. Can't wait see them. It might be a rocky start but hopefully you will all settle in with each other and make a home together.

airplane5312 said...

OMG that's so horrific. You have a big job ahead on those two but I have a feeling you'll get it done. Dog's are very forgiving, just takes time, and a person with a good heart.

lady jicky said...

Hi Jilly , its Melinda. I know exactly how you feel for I adopted Rosie our rescue pug from the internet site Ozpugs.com.au . Noone wanted her. Her "sister" had over 40 people wanting her for she was a "pretty" pug but Rose was not. We adopted her this Feb. She was 8 yrs old.the people had 4 children and could not cope - I think there was more to it than that! Rosie had shocking eyes that needed $$$ surgery , which we did . she still paces but its getting better so your two may do that. Its an anxiety thing. do not give it attention. make sure your two know you are "top dog" and show the way Jilly. they will learn from your happy dogs !
Oh my Jilly, I know what you mean about the wrong time and hindsight - but I do believe things are meant to be and these two poor souls are supposed to be with you!!!
Rosie, Oscar and I wish you all a very happy 2009. I know two dogs that will be happy soon! LOL

George Townboy said...

Amazing story, Jilly. Thank God for people like you who are willing to rescue.

crittoria said...

You are an angel, Jilly. This is an absolutely dreadful story, but they are so lucky that you are saving them. I hate reading stories like this - how can people be so cruel? I wish that we could save them all...

PJ said...

It's always heartbreaking to find mistreated animals, Jilly. And there are soooooo many! I have no doubt that you will be a superb mum to these two. We rescued our dog, Ranger, from certain death and he has his issues but he is ours and we are his. You've created a perfect circle of love and I look forward to seeing many, many more pictures of your two girls.

Tash said...

You are an angel, Jilly.

poody said...

why would you even have a dog if you are just going to ignore them I see this a lot! My dogs rule the house and like you I am sometimes left looking for a spot to sit!

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