Pull up a basket, snuggle down into your cushion, grab a box of tissues – and read the heart warming/heart breaking story of the retired English teacher and his psychologist wife who have opened up the doors of their Dordogne home to thirty old, sick or disabled dogs.

These are in fact caterpillar nests, constructed by the pine processionary caterpillar (chenille processionnaire) larva, who live in large ‘tents’ and march out at night in single file (hence the name) to feed on the pine needles.

La SPA (Société Protectrice des Animaux) was created in 1845 by Doctor Etienne Pariset. Touched by the poor treatment of many cart and carriage horses on the streets of Paris, the society was at first devoted to the welfare of horses. It grew quickly, thanks to support from several renowned French ‘intellectuals’ such as Victor Hugo and Guy de Maupassant.