Potcake Pups No Longer Beach Bums
BY KATIE LEAVITT | THURSDAY, JULY 29, 2010 6:10 AM ET
Thanks to an entire network of volunteers, one organization rescues dogs from the streets of the Caribbean and places them with families in other countries.
Anyone who has traveled to the Caribbean can attest to the numerous stray dogs wandering the streets and beaches. They are often injured or sick, and always begging for food. Locals call them potcake pups because islanders have taken to feeding them the bits of food that remain caked on the bottom of their cooking pots.
Finally, Jane Parker-Rauw of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, couldn’t stand seeing so many dogs battle life in the way these dogs do; starving, sick, exposed to the elements and shot or poisoned by police who think they are a nuisance to the tourist-heavy islands.
That’s when Potcake Place was born, and in 2005, it became an official nonprofit organization.
Initially, Parker-Rauw began taking in the pups herself. She quickly ran out of space and resources, but she eventually she gathered volunteers around the island to take in some of the dogs she rescued. Still, there are just to many potcake pups and not enough people to care for them.
“We are probably slightly crazy people that can’t say no,” Parker-Rauw told the Today Show. “When you’ve met one of these pups, you’ll understand. I’ve had about 3,000 to 4,000 through my door now, and I remember pretty much every single one. They are just the most loyal, loving, intelligent dogs. They know they’ve been saved.”
Parker-Rauw knew there was simply no more space left on the islands for the dogs. So, her next move was to transfer them to loving homes in other countries. Obviously, though, she could not fly each pup to their new family, so she turned to the Internet.
Now, through the Potcake Place website and Facebookpage, Parker-Rauw connects with adoptive parents. She also connects with vacationers who don’t mind being couriers, taking the dog with them on their flight home for the new owner to pick up.
The new parents will need to pay the pup’s airline fee, but there is no other cost to adopting a pet. In fact, Potcake Place has no budget at all, and Parker-Rauw and her volunteers take on the expenses themselves. While only the airline fee is necessary, Potcake Place does accept, and is in need of, donations.
“Collars, pee-pee pads, squeaky toys, leashes, towels, treats … anything related to bringing up puppies, we need,” Parker-Rauw said. “That’s how we survive. We can’t just get in the car and drive to Target to pick up supplies. We don’t have supplies like that here. It’s a small island with no chain stores, no department stores, nothing.”
She also has connected Potcake Place with animal welfare and humane societies in the Caribbean and beyond, which help to relocate and place these dogs.
“It’s very, very special,” said Sherry Silk, executive director of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Tampa, Fla. “They don’t even have a budget. They spend all of their own money to do this … and they do a great job.”