As a volunteer dog rescuer, 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.
“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.”