The Plight of the Bahamian Potcake

Despite how it sounds, potcakes have nothing to do with illicit substances. They’re mixed-breed, indigenous dogs from the Bahamas or the Turks & Caicos islands.

Bahamian Potcake, Dog, BahamasNobody knows for sure where the name originated, but many Bahamians believe it came from the thick, leftover mixture remaining at the bottom of a pot of rice after multiple reheatings. This “potcake,” as it was known, was often fed to stray mutts.Potcakes  (6)

Given the relatively small gene pool from which they evolved, many potcakes exhibit similar traits. Typically, they’re slim, short-haired, medium-size hounds. Most are tan, brown, black or some combination thereof.

Though strays can weigh as little as 25 pounds, a healthy, well-cared-for potcake weighs 35-50 pounds. As any potcake owner will attest, they’re lovely and loving dogs, with beautiful features and gentle temperaments.

It’s said that there are more than 5,000 stray potcakes roaming the streets in Nassau, and another 2,500 stray and/or unaltered dogs on Abaco and its cays. It’s heartbreakingly common to see these malnourished strays foraging for food and water alongside the road.

Potcakes  (4)Fortunately, a number of organizations, including Royal Potcake Rescue USA, Potcake Rescue Bahamas, the Humane Society of Grand Bahama, Abaco Shelter, the Bahamas Alliance for Animal Rights and Kindness (BAARK), Operation Potcake and the Hope Town Humane Society are working to improve the plight of the potcake. They rescue strays, spay/neuter them, provide medical care and find them forever homes – not just in the Bahamas, but in the U.S., Canada and beyond.

Potcakes  (9)To help control and reduce Abaco’s potcake population, Royal Potcake Rescue USA (“RPR”), BAARK, Abaco Shelter, the Hope Town Humane Society and Abaco veterinarian, Dr. Derrick Bailey, are teaming up to hold a spay/neuter clinic in Marsh Harbour April 25-27. Their goal is to spay/neuter 250 potcakes — 100 more than were sterilized during a similar clinic held this past October.

Several veterinarians will travel from Nassau to Abaco on their own time and provide services and supplies at significantly reduced prices. Aside from medical staff, the clinic will be manned by Bahamian and American volunteers. Total cost per animal will be approximately $50, or $12,500 total.

To raise these funds, RPR is undertaking several initiatives. They still have a fair way to go to achieve their fundraising goal, so please, please help if you can.

Here’s how:

DONATE through Royal Potcake Rescue’s Bahamas, Potcakeonline Indiegogo fundraising campaign, which runs until April 3, 2014.

RPR is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit pet rescue organization, meaning American donors will receive tax receipts for donations. Depending on the level at which you donate, you could also receive an exclusive Potcakes of Abaco bumper sticker, can cooler, T-shirt or tote bag.

Donations can also be made through RPR’s website or mailed to: Royal Potcake Rescue USA, PO Box 56050, Atlanta, GA 30343.

VOLUNTEER at the April spay/neuter clinic. RPR relies on volunteers to help with trapping, transporting, vet assistance, recovery, cleaning, record-keeping and other tasks. If you’re interested in an enjoyable and rewarding “spaycation”, here’s the volunteer application.

Potcakes  (1)TRANSPORT A POTCAKE back to the U.S. If you’re traveling from Abaco to Florida or Atlanta, you can help by bringing a potcake puppy back with you. RPR looks after all paperwork and provides the carrier. All you have to do is bring the pup (which usually weighs 10 lbs or less), in its carrier onto the plane and keep it under the seat in front of you during the flight. A RPR volunteer will meet you at the airport to collect the puppy and deliver it to its foster or forever home. For more information, visit RPR’s How You Can Help page.

FOSTER A POTCAKE. If you live in or near Atlanta, GA, consider fostering a potcake until its forever home can be found. RPR takes care of all medical costs — all you have to do is provide a home, the day-to-day basics and lots of love. If you’re in Florida and can pick up a potcake pup at the airport, you could foster him/her for a short period of time until RPR can arrange to get the dog back to Atlanta. For more information, visit RPR’s How You Can Help page.

Should you need a bit more motivation to lend a hand, here are just a few of the potcakes currently available for adoption through Royal Potcake Rescue USA and Potcake Rescue Bahamas. Who could say no to these adorable faces?

Photos courtesy of Royal Potcake Rescue USA and Potcake Rescue Bahamas.

Next time: Adopting Your Own Bahamian Potcake

24 thoughts on “The Plight of the Bahamian Potcake

  1. ah so many pictures of puppies i rescued, JOGI AND JUDY were living with me for 3 months, we rescued them. please give them a chance, they were deemed to death, super scared and bity, vet wanted to put them down, but those 4 they were deserved to live too. 2 already have found great understanding owners in new jersey thru another rescue.
    thx for caring

    • Thanks, Lee Loo, for allowing me to use so many of your great photos, and for everything you do to help so many homeless potcakes! I hope Jogi and Judy will find homes with good owners who will help them develop more confidence and trust and live wonderful lives. :-)

  2. Was always a ‘cat person’ and have taken a few stray puppies and kittens to the BHS (Bahamas Humane Society) here in New Providence. Told my daughters if I ever found a spotted one, we were keeping it. Driving home from school in October 2010 what do we see shuffling down the side of the road? A spotted Royal Bahamian Potcake puppy! Stopped the car beside her, asked her if she wanted a ride and she jumped into the open back-door (with a smile!) and flopped down by my thrilled daughter. With twice-weekly medicated baths her fur came in; think dalmatian with some brown spots and a brown head like some sort of hound. Our second one was spotted in 2012 by the same daughter and classmates through a classroom window. She called to ask me if I wanted another puppy. Spotted him on campus then lost sight of him and were just about to drive off when we heard a bark and there he was, behind us. He has longer reddish brown fur and we kept him too. Was so tiny had to put a belled cat collar on him to keep track of him. Now they’re mostly house dogs (how did this happen?!) and lounging around inside today as it’s overcast with light rain outside. They know there’s soup tonight too. Very intelligent and social dogs; they like to be where you are. I recommend them :)

    • Hi, Gina. Thanks so much for your note, and for rescuing two potcakes. It’s great to know there are a two fewer of them on the streets of Nassau, and it sounds like they have a wonderful life with you and your family. It breaks my heart that so many people abandon these beautiful dogs, but it gives me hope that there are so many kind souls like you willing to take them in and give them the lives they deserve. :-)

  3. Ah man – I’ve got my potcake, five years now, but from Cuba, where she adopted me as a two month old pup. The most amazing dog, and as you note, gentle and loving. Folks, GIVE these dogs a chance, you will not EVER regret it. I’d post a photo of her if I could…

    • Wally, a very belated thank you for your comment! Would love to see a photo of your Cuban potcake. Drop me a note via the Contact Me page on the blog, and I’ll send you the email address. Thanks for putting in a plug for the potcakes – hopefully we’ll help a few more find homes.

  4. Thank you for the wonderful article on Potcakes. I have been going to the Eleuthera for 23 years and have always had a soft spot for Potcakes. It has been a dream of mine to be able to bring one home and give it a better life. August of 2013 me and my son made a trip to Eleuthera before he was to go away to college. I had seen a litter of puppies on Pet Pals Eleuthera’s page and called to see if we could visit while there. Well, long story short, we brought Ellie, aka Aurora home with us. She is actually in one of the photos that Lee Loo shared with you (the tiny blonde puppy). I can’t say enough about all of the incredible work that Lee Loo does to help these dogs. Without her, Ellie and the rest of her litter, would have died because their mother had been hit by a car when they were only 10 days old. Ellie is the most amazing dog and I don’t know what we would do without her. She fits in perfectly with our other pets and just wants to give and receive love. I hope your article helps so many more find loving homes.

    • Laura, a very belated thank you for your note! I’m so happy to hear that Ellie has found a wonderful forever home. If you’ve got any recent photos you’d like to share, I’d love to see them. Drop me a note via the Contact Me page (see the navigation bar at top of this page) and I’ll send you my email address. Thanks for giving a home to one of these lovely creatures, and I hope she remains a loving companion for many years to come!

  5. I lived in the Bahamas and we adopted a potcake who just showed up in the garden one day – she was the most gentle , loyal and loving dog anyone could ever wish for – when I left the bahamas to return to the UK – i didnt want to put her in quarantine so my dad took her on and I would go back to visit her (and him !) twice a year – Sadly we lost her to Lymphoma a few weeks ago and we have been devastated, but reading the blog has made me smile and remember what a good life she had with us and oh , we were so so lucky to have her in our lives – she had the sweetest nature of any dog i have ever come across- thank you so much for this – I would recommend potcakes to anyone thinking of adopting a dog – you won’t regret it x

    • Michelle, a very belated thank you for your lovely potcake story. I’m so sorry to hear about her recent passing — she sounds like a wonderful companion and no doubt she will be terribly missed. I’d love to see a photo if you’d like to share one. Drop me a note via the Contact Me page and I’ll send you my email address.

  6. Pingback: A DOG’S LIFE: POTCAKES AT SANDY POINT, ABACO | ROLLING HARBOUR ABACO

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