AFP, published Friday, June 17, 2022 at. 20.11.
Pack, a strong cross dog, gnaws on a frozen treat in its enclosure, near an umbrella: At the SPA refuge in Plaisir (Yvelines), dogs swim in mini-pools or even take shelter under an umbrella to fight the heat wave.
“Pack eats ice cubes made of croquettes and pâtés to cool off, and as it takes time, it keeps him busy,” refugee leader Élodie Juillac explains to AFP.
Further in the amusement park, Loky, a hunting dog who is very loving to the man but quarrels with his natives, splashes in a small swimming pool for children. He refreshes his pillows.
“Since our parks are sunny, we offer our dogs shade under umbrellas and bathing 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 the confinement, all the dogs go for walks in the woods for at least an hour a day, thanks to volunteers.
“The power can not withstand the heat, and the icy carpet allows it to be on the outside while staying cool,” comments Élodie Juillac.
For ten years, volunteer Carmen Corbay, true to the post, has attached the string to the collar of Power, a mastiff. It’s time for his walk. “With the heat wave, we shorten the walks, and we take pumpkins to get the dogs to drink in the forest. We avoid the burning macadam, and we stay in the undergrowth,” she says.
She will then join three other boarders. The most sensitive to heat, such as dark-colored rods, will come out late in the day.
At the shelter, there is no change in the food: “it is absolutely necessary to keep an eye on the water. Some animals eat less because of the heat, it’s a bit like humans,” notes Élodie Juillac.
– Let’s give up –
Mélanie Blondeau, a 12-year-old animal keeper, notes that “there are dog breeds that are more susceptible to heat stroke, such as bulldogs”.
A dog suffering from heat stroke “will no longer move forward, lie down, have a drooping tongue and difficulty breathing,” she says. It is then necessary “to shade it and lower its temperature by applying to it a wet cloth under the stomach and the pillows. Above all, do not water it completely, but give it fresh water to drink”.
And some dogs love to swim, like Cassegrain, a stick-pointer cross. “So 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. The staff must deal with these survivors. And the time for their internment has increased in recent years. “The dogs stay in the shelter between 45 and 49 days on average and some for several years,” laments Mélanie Blondeau.
“People are investing less in dog training and the mentality has changed. Our way of consuming has changed and so have 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. “Since the dogs are ‘married’ + more per box + with the heat, some are more nervous and we have to cope with the fights”, she emphasizes.
Finally no bathing, no walks for the cats but pull in the cats. “We monitor the water, even though 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 couple of rabbits waiting for a new owner. “We have waiting lists for private abandonment, but we are filled up, a worrying situation. We are currently placing four dogs a week, for a waiting time on private leave of five dogs a day.”