Who are we?

Lynn Hull (President)

Lynn Hull (President)

Over 30 years ago I got my first curly coated retriever.  In the intervening years I have shown, trained, worked, bred and judged this little-known breed.  Along with my husband we also ran a successful boarding kennels where we worked 7 days a week for over a decade caring for and grooming a large range of other people’s dogs.  This kind of makes me an all-rounder.  

I am very hands-on.  I am link to many fosterers, regularly foster myself (often as the emergency backstop), and help with covoiturage – the record number being 3 semi-feral cats, a dog and a puppy all in one car!   Because the activity of the Association has grown so much, I no longer have the time to regularly walk the refuge dogs, which I miss.  In addition to holding the Association’s strategic direction and ethos, I work to keep our activities alive to the wider world.  I love to profile “lost causes” and see them adopted into a new life.  Seeing the smiles of joy on people’s faces is always worth the effort.  I am ever grateful for the support, enthusiasm and camaraderie of the small executive team who work tirelessly to make this possible. 

Louise Virnuls (Treasurer)

Louise Virnuls (Treasurer)

My interest in charity work started some 30 years ago and over that time I have been involved in organising many different sorts of charity events which have raised money for many different animal charities. From being young, animals have always been a part of my life and I cannot remember a time when I was not surrounded by dogs. Many of these were strays that I had found wandering along the side of the road and had taken home, much to my family’s consternation and then delight. I am passionate about animal welfare, the good care of family pets and education to reduce abandonment.

Originally from Solihull, my father was asked in the early 70’s to come to Toulouse and support the Aircraft Industry, so the family relocated to France for 6 months but 45 years later and still living near Toulouse, we can certainly say that France has been our permanent home.

During a fundraising back in 2015, I was approached by Les Amis des Animaux and for nearly 4 years now I have been a member of the board and Treasurer. I am extremely privileged to be part of a great team, together we work relentlessly 7 days a week to help give our 4 legged friends a better life and find them a permanent home.

Chloe La Gamba Newton (Secretary)

Chloe La Gamba Newton (Secretary)

I can honestly say I have always been a dog-lover and that ‘rescued’ is my favourite breed (it is no secret however that I adore terriers)! When my sons became old enough for me to have time to actively volunteer I chose what came most naturally – animal welfare.

I have enjoyed rescue work, fostering and carpooling for several years and it is such an honour to be part of Les Amis des Animaux. My full commitment to Les Amis stems from specific motivations – the foremost being the ablity to carry out incredible rescue work whilst being part of an outstanding team who cares about cats, dogs and humans, treat them with utmost care and respect and work at this harmoniously day in day out. My language skills and my strange love of working through red tape are some of the things that come in handy.

On a daily basis there are so many things I LOVE doing here including being a link person to fosterers. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if rescuers weren’t needed? However, as they are, my plan is to do my part and do so whole-heartedly with a wondrous group of people.

Lianne Gentle (Board Member, Home check Co-ordinator, Co-voitureur)

Lianne Gentle (Board Member, Home check Co-ordinator, Co-voitureur)

My primary role within Les Amis is to Co-ordinate all home checks which are carried out for every single fosterer and adopter regardless of location. My job is to identify suitable home checkers in the area for a prospective adopter or fosterer. Our network has grown enormously in the last couple of years. The role of the home checker is crucial in helping to match dogs or cats with their prospective families so that we have as high a percentage success as possible. I also do a lot of driving for Les Amis des Animaux helping needy dogs and cats get to their destinations both within France and farther afield.

We adopted our first dog, an English Setter – one of the first Les Amis dogs to be adopted when they started in 2014. She was a challenge in the early days but is now the old lady of my three dogs. After my husband died, the old lady and I were lonely, so we started fostering – heartbreak and fun in equal measure. Somehow one dog became three, and I still have the occasional one stay overnight on its way to a new home when involved with a co-voiturage.

Valerie West (Board Member, Cat Expert)

Valerie West (Board Member, Cat Expert)

I am primarily concerned with the welfare of cats and became involved with Les Amis des Animaux through my volunteer work at the refuge at Tarbes North. I have a background in advertising and PR and am happy to bring this experience to help organise fundraising events and communications of all kinds.

I have cats of my own and over the past few years I have also fostered many cats and kittens. I now work to build up and support the Les Amis band of volunteers who care for sick or injured cats – and very young or abandoned kittens – at home until they are well enough to be offered for adoption. I also still work closely with the Refuge to help find homes for the cats being cared for there. Being part of the strong and committed Les Amis des Animaux team is very rewarding and by working together we are able to do so much more to improve the lives of homeless or unwanted animals.

Marije van der Linden (Board Member,  North Gers, Contracts and Puppy Expert)

Marije van der Linden (Board Member, North Gers, Contracts and Puppy Expert)

I started fostering for Les Amis 3 years ago and many, many fosterlings later, I have become the puppy specialist, fostering little ones between 8 weeks and 12 months old.  I do this because I recognize passionately what a vital period in a dog’s life this is and it is not a time to be spent in a refuge or to be abandoned. 

Slowly I have become more involved in the daily organisation of the Association too where my main responsibility is preparing contracts for fosterers and adopters alike.  I also look after the North part of the Gers and am Puppy Co-ordinator, which means I spend a lot of time talking with potential puppy adopters to try and make sure we get the best match possible.

Besides volunteering, I have a real estate agency, Ma Maison Immobilier, in Condom, and have 2 young children and 4 dogs of my own.  Having had Rottweilers all of my life, I love big dogs and am comfortable with guarding and working breeds.  I am proud to be part of the amazing team of Les Amis.

Zoe Shuttleworth (webmaster)

Zoe Shuttleworth (webmaster)

I created, provide hosting for, and maintain the Les Amis website. I am always looking for new ways to make the website work hard to help with our endless and desperately needed fundraising activities. I have also occasionally been spotted hiding behind my camera at the Les Amis Summer Fête !

Among the many and varied animals who share our home, we have two wonderful dogs, Philippe and Suzie, both adopted through Les Amis.

And so many more

In addition, we could not exist without our huge team of consistent helpers who fund-raise, foster, home check, and transport those dogs and cats in our care. They are far too numerous to mention here. All we can do is thank them, and say if you would like to join us, then please do not hesitate to contact us.