A “potcake” is the Bahamian term for the thick, leftover food that remains in the bottom of a pot of peas ‘n rice after several reheatings. Traditionally Bahamians fed potcake to the outdoor, indigenous dogs that freely populated the Bahamas. Hence, the dogs have come to be known as “potcakes”.
Early in the month of March, CAWL received a request from Kit DeRoche, the Managing Coordinator of the Operation Potcake Puppy Lift Office, desperately looking for rescues in the states that would be willing to accept transfer of dogs from the Humane Society of Grand Bahama (HSGB). In the prior year, 829 dogs and puppies were humanely euthanized by HSBG simply because there were not enough families on the island to adopt them.
HSGB averages an approximate 8% adoption rate for their animals. With lack of funding from the local government and the government ban on foreign Veterinarians and volunteers working field spay/neuter clinics as of February 2011, HSBG and humane advocates in Grand Bahama are fighting a losing battle effecting trying to control and manage the pet overpopulation on the island.
Determined to make a difference in the plight of these animals, one of CAWL’s Directors, Megan Weber, steps up to orchestrate a massive dog rescue coordinating with HSGB, the Potcake Puppy Lift team, and eight local rescues to bring as many dogs as possible to find homes in Colorado. According to Weber, “I felt compelled to help because every life matters.”
Weber’s first order of business was to email and call as many Colorado animal welfare contacts as she could – pleading with them to open their program to accept a potcake. Additionally she used all of her resources to solicit new foster homes within CAWL. Weber was able to find placement for a staggering 64 potcakes in Colorado, with a total of 16 adult potcakes taken directly into CAWL foster homes.
Once placement was found for the dogs, Weber took on the massive coordination effort working tirelessly with the Bahamas team, the Ft. Lauderdale team, and the local rescues to fly the dozens of dogs to Colorado.
After mechanical plane failures in Grand Bahama, missed flights in Ft. Lauderdale, and a four hour flight to Denver, a total of 61 dogs arrived at Denver International Airport on staggered flights on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of April with three more scheduled to arrive the following weekend. Volunteers were required in Grand Bahama to vet and crate the dogs, in Ft. Lauderdale to receive the dogs, walk and water the dogs, to get them on their connecting flights to Denver, and in Denver volunteers were needed to receive the dogs and transport them to their foster homes or new shelter for adoption.
When asked why such focus on such a massive undertaking Weber replied, “We try hard to help shelters that help themselves. HSGB was working with many volunteer organizations to save the lives of their dogs that were born into a horrible situation. They reached out to us and clearly cared about each and every animal in their care. As a result of their efforts, every single potcake that we received from the HSGB is wonderfully socialized and extremely adoptable. Colorado now loves their dogs as much as they do.”
CAWL wishes to thank the following organizations that participated in Operation Potcake Puppy Lift – Denver:
Humane Society of Grand Bahama
Operation Potcake Puppy Lift
Pet Food Project (organized crate shipments)
The Kohn Foundation (donations for flights)
Retriever Rescue of Colorado
Life is Better Rescue
My Second Home Rescue
Every Creature Counts
Stormy Weathers Animal Rescue
Animal Rescue of the Rockies