If you are having trouble picking an idyllic Caribbean Island to visit, this puppy programme may sway you.
Potcake Place, a dog rescue charity on the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, lets guests take puppies to the beach to help them learn how to socialise with humans before they are settled into permanent homes.
The organisation was set up 20 years ago by Jane Parker-Rauw and now rescues and rehomes 500 dogs a year. Parker-Raux decided to take action after moving to the island from England and seeing large numbers of homeless “potcakes” (the name given to dogs in Turks and Caicos) on the on the streets.
When taking some of the puppies out for a walk in 2010 she realised how many of the animals were wary of human interaction – and the idea to develop a walking scheme for tourists and locals to take the animals out and get them used to people was born.
Speaking to Buzzfeed she said: “These short interactions with nice people both in and out of the adoption centre really help to give them confidence that yes, most people really are good. We have seen hundreds of times a very shy puppy just excel and develop over a short time this way. It’s lovely. We have found these short puppy excursions to be invaluable to the puppy’s development.”
Potcake Place allows visitors to take the animals out for an hour in the morning for a beach walk before the sand gets too hot. They provide a “puppy beach bag” for each animal with a dog bowl, a bottle of water, some toys, a bag of treats and a roll of poo bags. “All puppies wear a harness, as well as a collar, for these walks, and of course, a leash which must remain on at all times,” Parker-Rauw said. “People are told to make sure that the puppy is in the shade and does not get too hot, pick up all puppy poop, only give the approved treats that we provide, and see that the dog can’t tug at the leash.
“We want people to understand that this is not an excursion and that we are doing it solely for the benefit of the puppy.”