The one that got away …

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The one that got away …

Since living in France, all my dogs have been rescue dogs and are nearly always older dogs.  Not many people adopt older dogs and truly they are the best!  You are in need of love?  Adopt an older dog!

Anyway this isn’t the story of ‘my latest dog’ but it’s of the one who got away.  I’ve been looking for a friend for my last rescue dog, Ours  (‘Bear’ in English).   Ours is pronounced – sort of – like ‘horse’ without the ‘h’).  Yes I know it would have been easier had I changed his name to Bear!  Ours was and is a dog who is terrified of any visitor,  except for my neighbour, who he now adores.  He was a hunting dog, dumped at a refuge, thin and with injuries on one side –  obviously beaten – he is incredibly fearful of men.  He spent two and a half years there before he came to sleep on my sofa and make my life perfect




Fripouille is six years old English setter and was bred (in a hunting kennels) near to Mandelieu, not far from Cannes.   She was sent as a puppy to another breeder/hunter in Brittany and at some point had a litter of ten puppies.  The breeder – a good man – always kept in touch with the owners of his puppies and on one of his regular calls he discovered that the owner really didn’t want Fripouille anymore – obviously she was surplus to requirements (!) so he drove to Brittany and brought her back to his home in the south of France. That was ten months ago and since then, and for the first time in her life, she has lived, not in a kennel but in the house with two other setters.  He was anxious she’d go to a home where she lived indoors – it all sounded perfect for Ours. In fact, my interest in her, being a setter, is that I occasionally look after Maggie, a  Red and White Irish setter and Ours adores her – she flirts and plays with him – so I was hopeful that Fripouille would act in the same way which is why I was interested in her.




Fripouille, by the way, is not an easy name either. It means Rascal.  I have difficulty correctly pronouncing the ‘ooo’ sound correctly in French.  For instance the word for sweater is pull.  When I say ‘pull’ my friends laugh because I’m saying ‘poule’ which means chicken or hen!  I  get my own back though because the French have difficulty with ‘th’ so I tell my friends to say ‘tooth’ and they say ‘toof!  Ha!

So a few weeks ago Fripouille arrived.  She was friendly, gave me a kiss, ignored Ours but then he was hiding in the corner of my bedroom, trying to get away from ‘that scary man!’  No one who visits ever gets to see what a total joy Ours is when he is alone with me, except my neighbour.

That first night, Fripouille, after eating her dinner, fell asleep on an armchair.  The next day I took her to vet because her eye wasn’t closing or opening properly. (You can see it in the photos.) The vet was concerned as it seemed the third eyelid was stuck across the eye.  She gave me three lots of medication for her and made the comment that, ‘at last I had adopted a normal dog.’  In the waiting room, she sat on my lap! I agreed with her – a dog with no neuroses.

However, it was not to be.  During the following days, her ignoring of Ours turned into growls which turned into snapping at him. He wasn’t allowed on the sofa if she got there first and he, naturally, became frightened of her.  Not at all what I had in mind.  Had he put her in her place and let her know he was boss, perhaps it would have worked out.  But he’s too gentle and kind and scared for that. We tried for a week or so but if anything it got worse.  I contacted the breeder and he came and collected her and when he did, Fripouille was crazy to see him.  I don’t really know why he wanted a new home for her.

I felt and feel badly (she’s the first rescue dog I’ve ever returned) but any new dog, at the moment, has to be the right dog for Ours.   I’d taken her on trial and it was fortunate her breeder is such a nice, honest guy.  Had she come from a refuge or a bad situation I’d not have sent her back.  No way.   I’d have had to work through the problem.

At least Fripouille’s bad eye got fixed.  I hope her breeder keeps her.






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14 thoughts on - The one that got away …

  • Susan December 19, 2016Reply

    I can imagine how hard it was for you to give Fripouille back Jilly. Ours is truly special and deserves to be comfortable at the very least. My heart melts when I see him and I see a small change every time. Only those who witnessed his distress in the beginning would appreciate how far he has come. The amazing result of your loving and gentle care.

    We fell in love with Fripouille. She’s beautiful and was so affectionate and friendly with the children and I but she did not like Maggie coming over. I think you’re right, she’s probably be fine with stronger dogs but Ours is not a strong dog. Bless him.

    Fripouille may be the first dog you have given back but I don’t think that you should remember her in this way. You tried with the best intentions to find a companion for Ours but it didn’t work and so you have done the right thing as you always do.

    Your love and kindness is truly remarkable. xxx

    • Jilly December 20, 2016Reply

      Susan, Thank you so much for your lovely words. Our conversation about Fripouille helped me make the decision – in any case, fortunately she had a good home to go back to – she went crazy when the guy came to collect her. I so hope he keeps her. If not she must go to a home where she will be the only dog and then she’ll make the most amazing pet for someone – a family pet as, right, she was great with your children.

      Meanwhile Ours looks forward to Maggie’s next visit! And Susan, again, thank you so much.

  • French Girl in Seattle December 19, 2016Reply

    What a great story, Jilly. Ours sounds like a truly special dog. I am sorry I did not get to meet him when I saw you in July. He has clearly come a long way thanks to you, and deserves a kind, respectful and calm companion. Pretty Fripouille is not that dog, and you were right to return her to the breeder (even if I am guessing it was a difficult decision for you.) You took good care of her for the time you had her, and so you should not look back. Bless you, and all the people like you, who adopt older dogs, wounded dogs, and homeless dogs. Hugs, Véro Xoxoxo

    • Jilly December 20, 2016Reply

      Véro, thank you. Yes Ours has come on leaps and bounds, especially recently. He’s a happy camper when he is the only dog, but when other dogs are here he grows in confidence, so if I could find the right dog for him, I know it would work. Also thought of getting him a kitten? Thankyou dear Vero, for your kind words.

  • Millie December 20, 2016Reply

    Your loving compassionate heart is a blessing to every animal you have had contact with Jilly. I wish there were more of you in the world, just imagine the positive impact. Loving your new blog site. Hugs and love xxx

    • Jilly December 20, 2016Reply

      Millie, how kind of you to write. Well I’m lucky in that I find it so easy to look after dogs and actually old ones are easier than young ones. As you know, they only want a sofa to sleep on, good food and lots of love and they give it back in spades. Am so pleased you like the new blog site! love and hugs back to you, dear Millie xxx

  • Petrea Burchard December 20, 2016Reply

    We had to return an adopted dog once, and it was heartbreaking. But that just means there’s a better home for her. That is my hope for Fripouille.

    • Jilly December 20, 2016Reply

      Petrea, I remember when you had to return a dog – that was after Boz and before Wilma, wasn’t it? Quite honestly if Fripouille stayed with her breeder, plainly she is happy there. I’ve been trying to find out if he still has her. Hope so. If not, a family where she is the only dog would be perfect for her. Thanks for writing, Petrea.

  • Melinda December 20, 2016Reply

    Do not feel bad Jilly…. I have a lovely friend who does Pekingese Rescue and many dogs just do not “fit” together and so they just have to go back but …… they find a better place where they are happier and the dog that was the first like Ours is happier too.
    Like Petrea Burchard wrote … I hope, for Fripouille , is a good home with a better “fit” !
    It still does not make it easier or happier for you dear Jilly as I know you are such a kind person but , please, do not feel guilty … as my friend Linda in Peke rescue will say – it does happen a lot – hell Jilly – I know a few people I would not like to live with! LOL

    Merry Christmas to you and Ours. Love Melinda and Coco XXXXX

    • Jilly December 20, 2016Reply

      Thank you so much Melinda. I did fell badly but truly now I don’t. As Petrea put it so well, they were not a good fit. Sweet Melinda, who loves dogs so much, thank you! x

  • Karen December 20, 2016Reply

    This is such a beautiful post, Jilly, filled with your love and respect for these bright and wondrous individuals. Even an afternoon spent with you is a benefit to anyone who has the privilege. Thank you for sharing the highs and lows of this experience with us. You teach us about dignity in this post, both your dignity and the dignity of Ours and Fripouille.

    • Jilly December 20, 2016Reply

      Karen, thankyou – you make this sound something amazing but actually it’s so simple to give a dog a home (of course I realise everyone can’t do it but many of us can) and the beautiful thing is that we get so much more back. So much more! Dogs have given me so so so much more than I’ve ever given them. Thanks dear Karen x

  • William Kendall December 20, 2016Reply

    What a beauty. It doesn’t quite always work out as hoped.

    • Jilly December 23, 2016Reply

      William, yes I know…. it was a great pity but for the best. It got to the point where I daren’t make a fuss of her because she then got more jealous of Ours. Had to be…. thank you for subscribing!


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