Courtesy Lisa Revelli(NEW YORK) — Picture this: You’re on vacation. And before you head to the beach, you decide to spend your morning playing with puppies.
If this sounds like a perfect way to spend your vacation, trek to Providenciales in Turks and Caicos. There you’ll find Potcake Place, a volunteer-run organization that helps reduce the stray population on the island.
Jane Parker-Rauw, the organization’s founder, said that when she moved to the islands in 1997 from England to operate a spa she noticed that many puppies would roam the streets.
“People really didn’t know what to do with them,” she told ABC News. “They’d be just roaming in packs, and there was not really anything here to help.”
So Parker-Rauw started Potcake Place that not only removes stray puppies from the sunny island streets, but also facilitates adoptions — up to 500 a year — to locals and people overseas.
But if you’re just on the island for vacation, you can also get in on the puppy fun since the adoption center needs puppies to become “socialized” before they’re partnered with a family.
Parker-Rauw said a lot of the puppies they find “haven’t been touched by people before,” and at times they can experience abuse on the streets.
About seven years ago, she had an idea to let tourists take them out for an hour in the morning, before the sun makes the islands unbearably hot.
Parker-Rauw warns, “It’s not an excursion. We’re doing this solely for the benefit of the dogs.”
Since she began letting the animals visit with tourists, she’s seen a dramatic difference in the dogs at the shelter.
“We would get a puppy…who would come in obviously scared of people,” Parker-Rauw began, “and after we send them out, you’ll suddenly see a puppy who was once cowering in a corner as soon as the door opens, they’re now up wagging their tail, greeting people.”
Parker-Rauw said that it also helps in leash training and potty training the puppies.
“You don’t have to adopt a dog in order to help us,” she added.
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