What’s a potcake, you ask? And why does it have its own day?
A potcake is a mixed-breed dog, indigenous to the Bahamas or the Turks & Caicos islands. Nobody knows for sure where the name originated, but many Bahamians believe it came from the thick, leftover mixture that remained on the bottom of a pot of rice after multiple reheatings. This “potcake,” as it was known, was often fed to stray mutts.
As many as 10,000 homeless potcakes roam the streets of the Bahamas. It’s heartbreaking to see these malnourished strays foraging for food alongside the road, especially given how sweet, loving and loyal they are.
International Potcake Day was created four years ago by my friend – and one of the kindest, smartest, funniest people I know – Chamara Parotti.
An animal lover who works at Marsh Harbour’s Island Veterinary Clinic with our vet, Dr. Derrick Bailey, Chamara first conceived of the idea when she adopted her own potcake, Dexter.
“I wasn’t looking for another dog,” she says, but the universe intervened.
Just then, someone dropped by with a potcake puppy, to try to tempt Chamara into fostering him. “I held him through the interview like a security blanket,” she says. “We’ve been inseparable ever since.”
Chamara originally started International Potcake Day as a response to International Dog Day.
“My goal is to spread the word about how awesome Bahamian potcakes are, to increase overseas adoptions and to increase awareness among locals to #adoptnotshop.”
Paging Lenny Kravitz…
Perhaps two of the best-known Bahamian potcakes are Leroy Brown and Jojo Dancer, both adopted by singer Lenny Kravitz, who also has Bahamian roots.
Chamara says another of her goals is to have Kravitz help raise awareness by posting about his own dogs with the hashtag #InternationalPotcakeDay.
How You Can Help…
- Raise awareness about Bahamian potcake by using the hashtag #InternationalPotcakeDay on related posts
- Donate to (or volunteer with) an organization set up support and care for Bahamian strays. These include the Abaco Shelter, North Abaco Potcake Rescue, Royal Potcake Rescue, Canadian Royal Potcake Rescue, Bahamas Humane Society, Humane Society of Grand Bahama, Operation Potcake, Bahamas Alliance for Animal Rights and Kindness (BAARK), and Eleuthera Animal Rescue Society (EARS),
- Adopt a Bahamian potcake of your own — they truly are lovely and hardy dogs, and bringing one back from the Bahamas is easier than you think.
- If you’re flying from the Bahamas to the U.S. or Canada, help transport a Bahamian potcake to its new forever home. Generally speaking, the rescue agency will look after all paperwork and provide the carrier. All you have to do is bring the pup in a carrier onto the plane and keep it under the seat in front of you during the flight.
- If you’re an Amazon shopper, you can contribute to Royal Potcake Rescue USA.through the AmazonSmile program.
And of course, if you happen to see Lenny Kravitz today, please ask him to help promote the cause (and make Chamara’s day!) by sharing a photo of his dogs with the hashtag #InternationalPotcakeDay.
Bahamian potcakes have not always received the love and care they deserve. But thanks to the unwavering determination of Chamara and the other kind souls helping to rescue, spay, neuter and find homes for these wonderful dogs, the plight of the Bahamian potcake is improving.
Have a potcake of your own? I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to share your story below. And if I failed to mention your favourite Bahamian potcake rescue organization from the list above, let me know.