Corporate Ink in the Community: Potcake Puppy Palace
by Tori Vichroski
As many of you know, I currently live in sunny Nassau, Bahamas. The island is known for its crystal-clear water, blue skies and tall palm trees. But what many don’t realize, is the island’s dire issue of abandoned dogs and puppies.
The Caribbean has a special kind of mixed breed on its islands—“Potcakes”. The name came about because folks fed the caked remains of cooking pots to local dogs. As generations passed, Potcakes became known as a mixed breed that’s extremely loving, loyal and smart. I can vouch for that… I have two of my own!
Sometimes referred to as “coconut retrievers”, you can find these dogs wandering down many streets alone and overfilling the shelters. Many are skin-and-bone, have endured unthinkable abuse at the hands of humans, and are left fending for themselves. Sometimes, at just a few weeks old.
Luckily, Nassau is also home to some very caring people who dedicate much of their lives to caring for these dogs and working to get them the homes they deserve.
One place that’s managed by these caring people is Potcake Puppy Palace (PPP). It’s where the lucky abandoned puppies end up, and however many puppies can fit from the overcrowded Bahamas Humane Society. Claire, the owner, cares for each of these puppies as if they were her own, and advocates for them until her team of volunteers finds them a loving home.
Last week, I was given the chance to spend the day at PPP and help prepare 70+ puppies for the trip of a lifetime. PPP donors chipped into charter a private flight from Nassau to Toronto that could transport 74 puppies to families awaiting them in Canada. This was a huge blessing, as quarantine travel bans prevented Caribbean shelters to send animals home with visitors to countries that have waiting lists of adopters. As a result, Claire’s PPP was over capacity.
Because of the care and generosity of its team, they were able to transform 74 Potcake lives for the better.
The morning started with baths (lots of baths) for dozens of muddy, playful puppies. After they were washed, they had to be dried and cuddled in a towel. Personally, this was my favorite job. In fact, I think I’m a natural. Then, they went to Claire’s manicure station and back into their litter playpens while everyone got their turn. There were a few escape artists, which was pretty comical.
Next, we had to match the correct pup with its travel crate, which had all the dogs’ information for their adopters/fosters in Canada. Bigger pups had their own crate, and smaller ones got to share with brothers or sisters. Everything was super organized thanks to PPP volunteer Lena, the brains behind animal rescue operations in the Bahamas.
Once we loaded up the trailer full of crates, we were off to the airport for the last goodbye.
At the airport, we were greeted by foster parents ready to part with their pups who were also going to Canada for forever home—but also with torrential rain and crazy winds! I helped hold the tarp over the trailer with the crates while other people started to board the plane with pups. An hour later, the plane was boarded, and the pilot shut the doors. It was an emotional time for everyone involved – the babies were scared, but little did they know what awaited them on the other side.
Fast forward 24 hours, and the pictures and videos of Potcakes happy at their Canadian homes came rolling in. They were surrounded by new moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and new dogs to play with. The pups are finally with their forever families.
As for Potcake Puppy Palace, it will be filled to the brim with more puppies by the end of the week. I know I’ll be back soon for more puppy cuddles. If you want to help out from afar, check out the PPP Facebook page to contribute, or donate directly to Bahamas Humane Society.And if you’re interested in adopting as soon as the borders open up, contact me today.