As a volunteer dog rescuer, Potcake Place founder Jane Parker-Rauw has had some bad days. Her worst day came in 2000.
It was a few years before Potcake Place would open as a dog rescue charity on Providenciales, but Jane was already the go-to person on island when it came to homeless potcakes – the mixed-breed dogs found throughout the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, named for the congealed peas and rice mixture they were often fed from the bottom of cooking pots. She was in the front yard of a house in Kew Town, a residential area near the airport, where kids had tied rubber bands on the tails of a group of dogs – a brutal practice known as tail docking.
The dogs’ tails had begun to rot off; four of the animals had to be euthanized. Jane explained to the boys that they couldn’t do such a thing because dogs feel pain – something the boys had never been taught. You have to give the dogs water, Jane told the boys, and you have to give them names.
Jane’s best day came a few years later when the boys showed up at Potcake Place with a backpack full of potcake puppies. They wanted to have the dogs vaccinated. “We remember you and what you told us,” they told Jane. “And we named the dogs.” Jane asked the boys how they had gotten to Potcake Place from their home nearly 10 miles away. They had walked.
Many years later, Jane and her team of volunteers have grown Potcake Place into a hugely popular nonprofit on Provo that cares for thousands of homeless pups every year, many of which are adopted by families both on island and abroad. Beyond simply giving the potcakes a place to go, the organization’s volunteers foster the puppies in their own homes, socialize them through beach walks and work with local vets to ensure the animals get their vaccinations and other necessary treatments.
Now, Potcake Place has become an island staple that many tourists add to their list of places to visit on vacation. Some mornings, a line of visitors snakes out the door to the nonprofit in Saltmills Plaza — volunteers eager to take a potcake pup out for a walk on nearby Grace Bay Beach. And you can’t blame them. You’d be crazy not to love the idea of taking an adorable puppy out for a walk on the best beach in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find the puppies?
Potcake Place headquarters is located in Saltmills Plaza in the Grace Bay area of Providenciales. Pop in, meet some puppies and learn some more about what they do. They have a constant stream of puppies needing socialization and adoption. You can take a puppy out to the beach – they’ll give you everything you need, you just need to supply some TLC.
Can I help?
YES! Potcake Place is a nonprofit organization run solely by volunteers. They could not operate without the kind donations of both time and money provided by sponsors and volunteers.
Can I adopt?
There’s on average over 50 Potcakes in foster care at any one time. Once a pup is available for adoption, they will come into the Adoption Center and their photo will be posted on the Potcake Place Adoptions Facebook Page.
“And they walked all the way from Kew Town with puppies in a backpack to get them vaccinated and tell me they had a name,” Jane, 40, recalls now. Her efforts to educate had not gone unnoticed. That was her best day yet.
The goal of Potcake Place is to reduce the number of homeless potcakes on Provo, and the only way to do that, Jane says, is to educate. Although hundreds of potcakes continue to roam the island, still hundreds more have been rescued and adopted by people not only locally, but throughout North America. A map hangs on a wall at the nonprofit with pins marking all the cities where potcakes now live with families of their own – from Dallas to Boston, Los Angeles to Toronto. Each year, about 600 potcakes are adopted from the dog-rescue charity.
“People want these dogs, and who can blame them?” Jane said. “They’re wonderful.”