raising funds with sponsored stay

The Sponsored stay at Mazerolles and Larroque training classes raised a fabulous €1,619.52. Absolutely amazing! A big thank you to all who took part and a massive thank you to all of our sponsors from all over the world. Your generosity is heartwarming.  (Lynda Batllé-Hunter on Facebook whose briliant idea this was.)

Every single cent will be put to good use helping other animals not so fortunate as these one - and that includes our foster dogs who participated - notably GASTON, FINOU and SALLY - each of whom perfectly demonstrated that with time, patience and loving care, dogs, even at the advanced age of 10 years, like Sally, can indeed learn new tricks.  

The third week of March sees a number of dogs taking part in a sponsored "stay" which means that they have to stay still in order to help us raise funds.  Each dog has sought its own sponsorship and we are hoping it will make a good contribution.  Some of the dogs participating are only in foster homes such as GASTON, FINOU and LOUSTIC; others, such as BIRCH and LAYLA have been adopted through us and even one of our long-term foster seniors is participating - and that's SALLY, the GSD, at 10 years young.  We are so proud of them for being able to take part.  News of our successes will follow!

Dog training opportunities

We are delighted that we are able to have the benefit of the help and support of Lynda Batllé-Hunter who has vast experience in training dogs for many different purposes as well as just being great companions. She has trained dogs for obedience, for agility, for tracking, for gundog work, as well as for the show-ring.

* Can you imagine being able to leave your dog in a down stay while you go into a shop and know s/he will not move?

* Can you imagine being able to stop your dog at a distance when off the lead?

* Can you imagine being able to take your dog anywhere confident that s/he has good manners? 

BASIC SOCIAL OBEDIENCE: Available at Mazerolles (65) and at Larroque (near Blajan, Dept 31).  Eight-week course covering the basics that any good dog owner needs.  Dogs of all ages, all sizes are welcome.  We have great fun in a relaxed atmosphere and yet make tremendous progress in just a short space of time.  ALL proceeds go towards Les Amis des Animaux to help other dogs in need.  We ask a donation of 10 euros per session.

We are also investigating the possibility of starting classes at Vic en Bigorre and in the Vic Fezensac areas.  If you are interested, please contact us (info@lesamisdesanimaux.com) to help us gauge feasibility.

MORE ADVANCED CLASSES: Dogs and owners wishing to do so, can progress to the next level which is an ongoing process of more and more learning with little progress tests interspersed to help owners see just how far their dog has advanced.  This is run by Lyn as her own business, Waggy Tails Training, with a contribution to Les Amis des Animaux.  Most dogs and owners progress from the begineers but Lyn is delighted to welcome and assess anyone who feels they have done sufficient training to join these classes.

If you'd like to join us, write to info@lesamisdesanimaux.com to register your interest and enrol for the next group.

A full schedule of classes for spring and summer 2017 will also be published shortly. 



Our activities in numbers

This is a quick overview of our activities in the last year May 2015 to May 2016.

The cakes!

Sunday 5 June proved to be one of the very few days in June when the sun shone from morning to night.  We were so lucky and it undoubtedly contributed to our raising over 4,000 euros - every cent of which will be put to helping needy cats and dogs.  Lots of photos on our Gallery to see the activity.  A beautiful Weimaraner won Best in Show, the best sausage catcher from last near was beaten by a Pharoah hound who never missed a single throw of the sausage.  There were lots of stalls and good things to buy, not least a host of homemade cakes which looked spectacular.  Our Raffle was a sell-out and in the Tombola every prize was snapped up.  The first prize of a flight over the Pyrenees was won by one of our walkers and fosterers - pictures to follow!  Perhaps the icing on the cake was the parade of our adopted dogs over the year, followed by a number of those in foster.  What a delight to see so many dogs happy and healthy, when their future could have been a very different story without our teams of walkers, fosterers, volunteers and of course those who are willing to adopt.  Our thanks to all our sponsors and donors for giving so much to make the day very special indeed.  

Can you children draw?  Do they enjoy drawing?  Do they like animals?

Then encourage them to take part in our DRAWING COMPETITION at our Family Fun Day on 5 June 2016 at Ladeveze Ville.  Two age classes available - up to 10 and 11-15.  Subject is "My Favourite Animal".  

Drawings will be judged by JUNE GADSBY at 1600 on the day.  Winning drawings will appear in our 2017 Calendar.


EARLY WARNING DATE FOR YOUR DIARY!!!  5 June 2016 will be the date of our Spring Fair and Dog Show at Ledeveze-Ville, between Maubourguet and Plaisance.

We are planning a bumper day with activities for children, a 10-class dog show and several artisan stallholders . . . not to mention home-made cakes, bar, and food!!

Foster Furry Tales 1

How did you first come to meet Jacky?

Jacky was rescued as a tiny puppy from a refuge in Tarbes by a volunteer dog walker. She had unexpectedly to leave France on a business trip a couple of days later so we agreed to look after him for the two weeks she was away.

What made you decide to foster/adopt him?

When the lady returned we put Jacky in her car, and, as dogs do, he knew something was happening. He put his paw on my arm and gave me that “I don’t want to go, what have I done wrong?” look. So when the lady said she could not really cope with a puppy along with her many cats, and did we want him back, it was no contest.

Have you previously owned a dog/dogs?

In the months prior to Jacky arriving we fostered two dogs out of the refuge - one for two weeks, the second for almost three weeks. Letting them go, even after such a short time, was not easy. Before that, because of work and lifestyle we had never considered keeping an animal of any description

Describe Jacky’s first days/weeks with you?

What to say? He was used to sleeping out in the open in the kennels with all the noise and distractions of an over-full rescue centre. We bought a large cage so he could sleep in the kitchen. He cried and barked when we turned out the lights. After a couple of sleepless nights we hit upon the idea of leaving the cage door open so he could get out and walk around. With the door open he was settled, no crying, barking and he was happy to sleep in the cage on his blanket.

Getting his feeding sorted took some trial and error. We fed him three times a day (which apparently is wrong, it does not give his digestive system time to work properly). We settled on twice, 8-30 am and 6-30 pm and that is how it is today. We never consciously house trained him but in eighteen months there have been no more than a couple of ‘accidents’ in the house.

From the very beginning he was taken for short walks early morning, late evening, with a longer walk during the day. This may well not be necessary with a lot of dogs but it works well with Jacky.

What were the problems, if any and have you managed to address them?

Problems are in the eye of the beholder. If you have a beautiful garden make sure the animal does not have access to it. Grass is for doing whoopsies on and flower beds are for burying things in. Initially he used to jump up at people by way of greeting. All dogs do it, it is a simple habit to cure. Jacky has never been one for barking which is a godsend to both us and the neighbours, but like all young dogs he liked to chew. Slippers, shoes, wellington boots, hats, gloves, towels, anything that he can shake is all grist to his mill.

He also is not averse to taking things off low tables or even the worktop. A container with a dozen mince pies, the egg off Jen’s salad (he left the lettuce), anything that is within reach has clearly been put there for him. The solution, put it higher or out of reach, simple but next to impossible.

Do you have other animals at home and how does Jacky react to them?

We discussed getting another dog so that Jacky would have someone to play with after he hit 12 months old. A friend of ours passed away leaving a 12 year old dog, so we agreed to take him ‘for a couple of weeks’ to see how they got on and/or until another home could be found. He is still with us.

The dog, Simba, was clearly traumatised when he arrived so it was difficult for him. Jacky was determined to be the dominant dog and pushed him around a lot. He still does but Simba, after 4 months, is pushing back, or trying to, he is much smaller than Jacky.  They have never fallen out over food bowls, toys, sleeping baskets et al but sometimes their play gets to the edge of aggression especially when Simba has had enough and wants to rest.

Do you have any regrets about fostering/adopting Jacky?

None at all

How has Jacky changed your life?

Dogs need attention, if not 24/7, pretty close to that. They need to be let out at a reasonable hour in the morning, last thing at night and preferably exercised during the day. Some need more than others, I guess all young dogs need more, older ones perhaps less so. I have also lost several kilo, so there is a definite upside.

We used to be quite selfish with our time, taking holidays whenever, day trips off, long lunches, whatever. Now it seems all decisions are taken after considering the impact on the dogs day. Silly, but hey, they are family.

It is very necessary to consider the impact on house, garden and the car. Mud and leaves, dog hair, upturned water bowls in the kitchen, all need a large degree of tolerance otherwise it would be very easy to fall out of love with the idea of keeping an animal. 

What advice would you offer to prospective fosterers/adopters?

Bear in mind there is no such thing as a free dog (or cat). Vet bills, tablets, proper food, bedding, baskets, replacement slippers all cost money.

Be aware that they can very easily come to dominate your life (in a good way). If you are pushing 80 do you really want a puppy? Can you exercise it, give it the attention it will require. If you are slightly built remember that even medium sized dogs can pull you over if they decide to go after something that grabs their attention.

If you are thinking of adopting try fostering first, but give it a real chance.

Become a volunteer so that you can see what life in the kennels is like and see the dogs as they arrive, that would be a great incentive to take one home.


Taking Jacky and then Simba was not a difficult decision and keeping them safe and happy for the rest of their lives is our ambition. He and Simba are the family we never had so our experience will not be the same as everyones but it is difficult now to imagine life without them. 



Les Amis 2016 Calendar


Our Calendar contains beautiful photos of the winners of our photo competition and the runners-up.  As you can read in their mini-bios, they are all - without exception - animals that have been rescued and fostered and/or adopted through Les Amis des Animaux.  There were more than 120 photos entered for the competition so our thanks to top animal photographer, David Dalton, for being willing to sort out the winners.  We think they are stunning.

We also have some wonderful sponsors on each page - where you can find lots of help and information on a wide range of subjects.


Cameras at the ready all you budding David Baileys!!

We are delighted to announce the launch of our Calendar Competition for the 2016 Les Amis des Animaux Calendar.

We would like you to submit photographs of your dog or cat that you have rescued, fostered or adopted through Les Amis des Animaux for inclusion in the calendar - the more appealing or funny, the better!

We are looking for 13 winning photos. The best one will feature on the front cover and will win a Bottle of Champagne, a calendar, and a year’s supply of tick pipettes. The remaining 12 selected will have the pleasure of being featured in the calendar, and will win a calendar!

The closing date is 1st October and the winning photos will be displayed at our DINNER DANCE on 10th October. The Judge will be announced soon, but we are hoping for someone "special" !!

So come on! Get out your cameras, tablets and phones and send us a good quality photo either digitally to info@lesamisdesanimaux.com or post to:

Maison Picquets
65220 Bernadets Debat

Please do not forget to give the name of the pet featured together with your name!