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Puppy Love in the Caribbean

If you love beaches and dogs as much as I do, imagine this:  You go to stunning Turks and Caicos, a Caribbean outpost known for its snow white sands and turquoise sea. You socialize a needy puppy in the sunshine. Fall deeply in love. Save the puppy by taking him home with you in the airplane cabin. Get oogles, awes and admiration from fellow passengers. Win the undying devotion of your overjoyed children. And feel like Mother Theresa with a sun-kissed tan in the process. Then, you live happily ever after with your Potcake baby, well, at least for the next 12-15 years.

This month, our Sunshine Scout family is celebrating the first “birthday-adoption” of our beloved Ollie, a long, lanky, happy rascal who we adopted from Jane at Potcake Place K-9 Rescue in Turks and Caicos last year. Potcakes are what people in Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas call island dogs. Most Potcakes are homeless and rarely live long enough to see adulthood. Potcacks are generally a mix of German Shepherd, Labrador, and Fox Hound terrier and have been roaming and breeding for more than a century. They grow to be about smart, loyal, sweet mid-size dogs, generally in the 35-45 lb range.

Ollie gets adopted. Not the most flattering shot of me, but I love the dog yawn and the smiley guy in orange.

Ollie the Potcake on the morning of his adoption. Not the most flattering pucker, but I love Ollie’s yawn and that sweet, smiley guy in orange.

You won’t see Potcakes lounging poolside at lavish resorts, but drive a rental car out by the dockyard or dump, and you’ll see them licking discard milk cartons, sleeping by piles of cinder blocks, or lying dead on the side of the road. If they’re lucky, Potcakes are semi-cared for and gobble the crusty remains of food left at the bottom of pots, hence their name. Our little Ollie was discovered under a prickly bush with two scabby, scrawny litter mates named Twinkle and Toby. If not brought to Potcake Place, they may not have survived.

But back to happier thoughts, like Potcake Place K-9 Rescue.  For years, Jane, the founder, and her volunteers have been sending Potcakes off to loving homes in the United States and Canada. Jane has been living on the island for decades and makes rescuing a puppy like Ollie very easy.

Simply get in line at her cheery, convenient Saltmills Plaza mall location in Grace Bay, right across from beach. If the numbers are in your favor, you take a young puppy with you to “socialize” for a few hours. If you want to adopt, Jane has you fill out some forms. She carefully checks your references and you talk about the pup that’s right for you. You don’t pay for the puppy, but donations are suggested, of course. You call the airline to reserve a spot for a small pet onboard and purchase a sherpa bag from Jane. She gives your pup his walking papers, signed by the local vet, and you are on your way. I know firsthand that transporting pets to and from certain areas can be very complicated, but getting Ollie back to O’Hare was a potCake walk. (Yeh, sorry about that one.)

As a dog lover, I understand that some people feel that its better to adopt from a local shelter and I respect that point. We’ve been adopting our beloved dogs from our local Humane Society for 20 + years and currently have two senior dogs who Ollie loves to pester. I’ve never found a young puppy at my shelter the right time though and have always longed to enjoy that wiggly, shmiggly puppy phase at least once. The only thing that I’m sure of is that there are way too many homeless dogs in this world and it’s always good to rescue.

As we celebrate our Ollie’s one-year anniversary in our home, we’d like to give a shout out to all the many Potcake Parents out there who took a trip to paradise and saved a puppy’s life. You are a very special breed. We love being a part of the beach-loving, dog-loving Potcake family and we adore our Ollie. Look how much he’s grown! (below)


Our skinny boy, found under a prickly bush with two littermate. Our first task, feed and love this baby.

Our skinny boy, found under a prickly bush with two littermates. Our first task, getting some meat on those scabby little ribs.

Chewing on a delicious stick at home in the Midwest.

Chewing on a delicious stick at home in the Midwest.

Love where you are, but never forget where you came from, right Sharky?

Love where you are, but never forget where you came from, right little Sharky?

All grown up and ready to conquer the world.

All grown up and ready to conquer the world.

You know you want me. LOL.

You know you want me. LOL.

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