AFP, published on Friday, June 17, 2022 at 8:11 p.m.
Pack, a staffy cross dog, gnaws on a frozen treat in his enclosure, near a parasol: at the SPA refuge in Plaisir (Yvelines), the dogs swim in mini-pools or even take shelter under a parasol to fight against the heat wave.
“Pack eats ice cubes made of croquettes and pâtés to cool off and as it takes time, it keeps him busy”, explains to AFP Élodie Juillac, manager of the refuge.
Further in the relaxation park, Loky, a very affectionate hunting dog with the man but a fight with his congeners, splashes in a small swimming pool for children. He refreshes his pads.
“As our parks are sunny, we offer our dogs the shade under parasols and swimming in swimming pools. And we make sure they always have fresh water to drink at their disposal”, she adds.
Power, an American bully, is lying on a cooling mat. He waits his turn to frolic. To get out of confinement, all the dogs take walks in the forest for at least an hour a day, thanks to volunteers.
“Power can’t stand the heat and the icy carpet allows it to be on the outside court while staying cool”, comments Élodie Juillac.
Faithful to the post, for ten years, the volunteer Carmen Corbay attaches the leash to the collar of Power, a mastiff. It’s time for his walk. “With the heat wave, we shorten the walks and we take gourds to make the dogs drink in the forest. We avoid the burning macadam and we stay in the undergrowth”, she says.
She will then walk three other boarders. Those most sensitive to heat, such as dark colored staffs, will come out at the end of the day.
At the shelter, no change in food: “it is absolutely necessary to watch the water. Some animals eat less because of the heat, it’s a bit like people”, notes Élodie Juillac.
– Let’s give up –
Mélanie Blondeau, animal caretaker for 12 years, notes that “there are breeds of dogs more susceptible to heatstroke, such as the bulldog”.
A dog suffering from heat stroke, “will no longer move forward, lie down, have a hanging tongue and difficulty breathing,” she says. It is then necessary “to put it in the shade and to lower its temperature by applying a wet cloth to it under the belly and the pads. Above all, do not water it completely but give it fresh water to drink”.
And some dogs love to swim, like Cassegrain, a staffy pointer cross. “So that he clears his head and exerts himself physically”, every morning, he swims in a pond near the refuge because “in his park, he waits without moving”.
As many dogs as stories. Staff must deal with these left behind. And the time of their internment has increased in recent years. “The dogs stay at the shelter between 45 and 49 days on average and some for several years”, laments Mélanie Blondeau.
“People invest less in the education of the dog and mentalities have changed. Our mode of consumption has changed, and the same goes for animals. We take and we give up!”.
Élodie separates two dogs that growl and bark. The high heat sometimes affects the behavior of the animals. “As the dogs are “married” + several per box + with the heat, some are more nervous and we have to manage the fights”, she underlines.
Finally, no bathing, no walks for the cats but drafts in the catteries. “We monitor the water even if the cats drink less than the dogs and resist the heat a little better”, explains Jérémy Trimbach, head of the clerks.
The shelter has 145 dogs and cats as well as a few rabbits waiting for a new master. “We have waiting lists for private abandonment but we are full, a distressing situation. “We are currently placing four dogs per week, for a wait for private abandonment of five dogs per day”.