Turks and Caicos is a set of Caribbean islands a few hundred miles east of Cuba. It’s a tropical paradise in every sense – endless white sandy beaches, warm turquoise water, friendly people, and delicious food. But it isn’t such a paradise if you’re born here as one of the unfortunate street dogs often seen picking through trash for food or scurrying away into bushes as cars whip by. As in many places where spaying/neutering is uncommon, the population of street dogs is growing rapidly and the dogs are considered a nuisance. The life expectancy of a stray is a short three years. A large portion die from diseases like parvo and distemper before they even make it to adulthood.
Fortunately, a dedicated group of volunteers, who call themselves Potcake Place K-9 Rescue, make it their mission to save as many of these dogs as possible. The adoption center is packed full of puppies who have been rescued from the street. These dogs get cleaned up and receive veterinary care. Locals and tourists alike are welcome to visit and take a dog for a walk or to the beach for a few hours. This not only helps socialize the puppies and gives them a break from the shelter, it also opens the hearts of many visitors – they fall in love and take a puppy home.
Potcake Place has been doing its best to save stray dogs for some 20 years. Each year 600 dogs are adopted out, both locally in the islands and to homes in the US and Canada. As well as volunteering to walk and socialize dogs, visitors can transport puppies to their adoptive families on their flight home.
Oh, where did the name “Potcake” come from? When the first settlers came to Turks and Caicos from the Bahamas, they brought their dogs with them. They would feed these dogs food scraps, in particular the burnt and caked on food at the bottom of cooking pots. Much like the food, the name stuck. Potcakes are a very loyal and loving breed.
I’ve really enjoyed taking the dogs at Potcake Place for walks and cuddles and beach visits over the last few weeks. Each puppy has their own personality but they’re all playful and wonderfully affectionate. I think they know they’re being rescued.
If you find yourself in the Turks and Caicos Islands, be sure to stop by Potcake Place and see the good work they’re doing. But be careful, you might find yourself falling in love with an adorable little puppy and taking home one more family member than you arrived with. Speaking of which, if you’re reading this in Calgary or nearby, I might just have room in my luggage to bring you one – or two! – of these wonderful puppies 😉