As part of the region comprising the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos Islands are a popular destination for sun, sand, and surf. In fact, more than a million stop through to visit annually.
Although Turks and Caicos includes more than 40 islands, only approximately eight of them are inhabited.
On one of these islands, you’ll find a preponderance of puppies roaming the beach.
The dogs enjoying the beaches on the island of Providenciales are looking for homes, but they aren’t being neglected. They go on special beach trips to learn how to socialize, get some exercise, and just maybe, catch a plane home with you.
These dogs are known as potcakes, and they live at Potcake Place. Potcake Place is a volunteer-only rescue organization that takes sick and starving dogs off the street, rehabilitates them, and puts them up for adoption.
They’re called potcakes because locals would typically feed them the scrapings left at the bottom of a pot after cooking. They’re thought to be a mix of Labrador, German shepherd, and English fox terrier.
Potcakes can grow up to be medium-sized dogs of roughly 50 pounds. Potcakes who aren’t rescued usually only weigh about half that. The rescue group characterizes their region-specific breed as “extremely smart, loyal, and loving.” Potcake Place usually has around 60 potcakes available for adoption, although they’ve adopted out hundreds more.
If you’ve done much traveling outside of the United States, you’ve noticed that stray dogs are much more common in other countries. This is also the case in Turks and Caicos and other islands in the region, where there are thousands of needy dogs. The average homeless potcake doesn’t live beyond the age of three.
Potcake Place is looking to change this, but there aren’t many adoptive homes available on the island. Still, they’re very careful about letting their pups go. All potential adoptive parents must be over 25 years old, and have to fill out an application if they want to take a potcake home.
Otherwise, there’s no fee or charge associated with adopting them. Furthermore, Potcake Place is known to help arrange for the dog’s travel in bringing them to their new forever home.
The potcake plight has even been immortalized in song. Bahamian artist Phil Stubbs released a song called “Cry of The Potcake” to help raise awareness.
If you can’t go to the Islands of Turks and Caicos to adopt a potcake, you can still donate to Potcake Place. Many of the puppies they rescue are in poor health when they arrive, so the medical expenses associated with their complete rehabilitation is a top priority.
If you are planning a Caribbean vacation, but can’t reasonably adopt a dog while you’re there, you can still meet a group of potcakes hanging out on the beach! They usually run, swim, and play seaside in the late morning before going back to the shelter for lunch.