One of many feral cats in the settlement of New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. The cat’s tipped ear indicates that it has been spayed or neutered as part of the effort to control the cay’s stray cat population.
There will be a spay and neuter clinic for dogs and cats this weekend – Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24 – at the cottage beside Caroline and Brian Sawyer’s home on Green Turtle Cay. Both dogs and cats are welcome. Continue reading
If you’re in Abaco and headed to No Name Cay to visit the pigs of Piggyville, please bring water.
Unfortunately, there’s no source of fresh water on the island (a fact evidently overlooked by those who released the pigs on No Name to fend for themselves.)
And while Green Turtle Cay’s Pig Whisperer, Craig Russell, visits twice weekly and brings as much water as his boat will hold, it just isn’t enough for the growing piggy population – especially with summer approaching.
Thanks to Craig’s dedication, and the generosity of all who contribute food or bring it directly to No Name Cay, the pigs seem to be getting enough food. But they’re desperate for water.
Craig says that he and other visitors to No Name often meet the pigs’ water containers completely dry.
Sometimes, he says, the pigs even refuse to eat until their water supply has been replenished and they’ve had a good, long drink.
If every vessel that visited No Name brought a gallon or two of fresh water, it would make a huge difference to the pigs’ water supply. Please help if you can.
On behalf of Craig, the residents of Piggyville and all who love them, thank you!
Did you know you can help rescue, feed and care for stray Bahamian dogs and cats just by shopping online at Amazon?
Through the AmazonSmile program, you’ll get exactly the same Amazon prices, selection and shopping experience as always. But Amazon will donate 0.5% of your total purchase price to the AmazonSmile charity of your choice – in this case, Royal Potcake Rescue USA.
For example, if you buy something that costs $100, Amazon will donate 50¢ to Royal Potcake Rescue. If you’re an Amazon regular, like Tom and me, your donations can really add up.
To participate in the AmazonSmile program, click here. (If you’re not already logged on to Amazon, you may need to do so, using your normal Amazon log-in information.)
Royal Potcake Rescue USA helps to rescue, feed, spay/neuter, transport and find foster and permanent homes for stray dogs (and cats) in Abaco, Bahamas. During 2015, RPR helped to care for and rehome more than 200 animals, including 39 Bahamian potcakes. They also sponsored the spaying/neutering of more than 400 dogs and cats in Abaco.
Here are just a few of the Bahamian potcakes who recently found new forever homes, thanks to Royal Potcake Rescue.
Please share this post with all the Amazon shoppers in your life. And here are some other ways you can support Royal Potcake Rescue and help the potcakes and potcats of Abaco.
All photos courtesy of Royal Potcake Rescue USA.
As you may have surmised, we’ve had very few bad days on Green Turtle Cay. But May 19, 2011 (our fourth wedding anniversary, by the way) was easily the worst.
Stray cat on the porch of the Albert Lowe Museum, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
Ok, so technically, National Dog Day was yesterday. But it’s always the right time to celebrate our furry friends. I’ve posted this before, but it’s my absolute favourite video of our dog, Wrigley, enjoying the beach at Gillam Bay on Green Turtle Cay.
Wrigley was found wandering alone in Pasadena’s Memorial Park in early April 2010. He had no ID or collar. On his back was a quarter-sized scar of unknown origin. He was about five months old. Three weeks later, Tom and I adopted him from the Pasadena SPCA/Humane Society.
Truthfully, we hadn’t planned to adopt a pet. I had some old, worn towels kicking around and I thought the Humane Society could use them.
Tom begged me not to make him come along. “I can’t look at all those faces,” he said. “We’ll end up bringing home a dog.”
“Don’t be silly,” I told him. “We won’t.”
Never have I been more glad to be wrong. Over the past five years, this 14-pound bundle of mischief and mirth has brought immeasurable happiness into our lives. He’s smart, funny and terrific company for me while Tom’s on the road. And he’s a rock star traveler, always eager to hop into his carrier and tag along on an adventure.
Here in Pasadena, we’re fortunate to have a terrific Animal Control service, a sparkling new SPCA/Humane Society shelter and no shortage of staff or volunteers to care for stray or homeless animals.
Dogs in Abaco aren’t nearly as lucky. Many live in the bush where they’re forced to forage for food scraps and a few drops of water. Even some who aren’t technically homeless spend their days neglected, hungry and chained up in the heat or the rain. And I don’t think I’ve ever made the drive from Treasure Cay to Marsh Harbour and back without spotting at least one severely malnourished or injured (or worse) dog alongside the road.
- Abaco Shelter
- Royal Potcake Rescue
- North Abaco Potcake Rescue
- Canadian Royal Potcake Rescue
- Potcake Rescue Bahamas & Dominican Republic
- Dr. Derrick Bailey and Chamara Parotti at the Island Veterinary Clinic, Marsh Harbour
To all the above groups and individuals — and to everyone who has adopted a rescue or contributed time or resources toward improving the lives of helpless animals — thank you from Wrigley, Tom and me.
You won’t find it on any map, but Piggyville is fast becoming a favourite day-trip destination for Abaco visitors. Named for the feral pigs set loose there in recent years, Piggyville is located on tiny No Name Cay, just south of Green Turtle Cay.
Though wild hogs certainly exist on the Abaco mainland, they’re far less common on the cays. So how did these pigs get to No Name Cay? I’ve heard several theories around Green Turtle, but nobody knows (or will admit to knowing) for sure.
A couple of years ago, Green Turtle Cay resident and long-time animal lover Craig Russell began hearing stories about pigs on No Name Cay. About a year ago, he went to see them for himself. Recognizing that the animals had limited access to food and fresh water, Craig (often accompanied by his wife, Jan) began making twice-weekly trips to No Name to care for them.
Earlier this month, Craig and Jan invited me to come along on one of their trips. Watching Craig interact with the pigs, its easy to understand why some Green Turtle Cay locals refer to him as the Pig Whisperer. He has organized the beach where the pigs congregate, creating separate areas (and providing containers for) for food and fresh water, and posting signs for visitors.
As soon as we arrived at the beach, Craig sought out each of the six pigs — a sow and five piglets — to ensure all were healthy and accounted for. Several times during our visit, I watched him seek out the runt to be sure she got her share of food and water, and to treat her to an extra apple or corn cob.
Perhaps due to the popularity of their swimming cousins in Exuma, the pigs on No Name Cay have become somewhat of a tourist attraction. In the hour or so we were there, at least seven different boatloads of visitors pulled up to visit with, feed and photograph the pigs!
Though looking after the pigs costs Craig in terms of fuel and boat maintenance — not to mention his time — he says the only help he really needs is contributions of food and water.
Here’s how you can help care for the pigs of No Name Cay:
- Bring food and fresh water directly to Piggyville. According to a Berryman Institute report I found online, feral pigs are “opportunistic omnivores.” They’ll eat virtually anything – vegetation, meat, eggs, insects, etc. Craig says the No Name Cay pigs don’t eat onions or meat with bones (boneless is fine), and they’re not terribly fond of citrus fruit. However, they love bananas, apples, grapes, corn and carrots. (For obvious reasons, be sure all food is relatively fresh and water is clean.)
- Plan your Piggyville visit during off-peak times. At this time of year, fewer people visit No Name Cay mid-week than on weekends, and hardly anyone visits during the fall and winter. These are the times when Craig and the pigs could most use a little help.
- While we were on No Name Cay, I noticed that though most people who came to see the pigs brought food, few if any brought fresh water. Please consider bringing along a gallon or two when you visit. Containers for fresh water are located perhaps 30 feet or so left (south) of the food area.
- Food, water or cash donations can be dropped off at Craig’s home on Green Turtle Cay (second house north of Abaco Yacht Services, the same side of the street as the boat yard, with a white picket fence.)
- If you own or work for a restaurant or food store on the Abaco mainland or the cays, please consider donating over-ripe produce, leftover meat, baked goods or other food scraps to the pigs.
- Forward a link to this story to anyone you think might be able to help, and encourage them to lend a hand.
To assist in other ways (corporate support, anyone…?), or to learn more about the No Name Cay pigs, drop me an email and I’ll forward Craig’s contact info to you.
One final but important note. Similar to the sharks, rays and barracudas we encounter in Abaco, the No Name pigs are wild creatures. Though unlikely to bite or attack without provocation, they’re certainly capable of doing so. As such, they should be approached with caution and common sense.
One of Green Turtle Cay’s many stray cats.