If you have been following Rubicon Days for a while, you know that I adopted the second Ginger Sister, Boca, from The Humane Society of Grand Bahama (HSGB) after fostering her for Colorado Animal Welfare League. Boca is a Royal Bahamian Potcake, the official breed of The Bahamas and a type known for their intelligence, loyalty and empathy. There is a desperate need on the islands to reduce the native population of stray dogs and find homes for those housed by The Humane Society of Grand Bahama. The HSGB is the largest animal shelter in The Bahamas and the only one on the island of Grand Bahama. They take in up to 1,500 dogs annually and have a dismally low local adoption rate of only 7 to 10 percent. This makes sense because if a person living in The Bahamas wants a dog, they can literally pick one off the street.
Unlike municipally-funded shelters in the United States, The HSGB receives limited support from the local government, and new USDA regulations have restricted their efforts to get the potcakes off the islands into loving forever homes. Since adopting Boca I have connected strongly with the local and larger Potcake community. It is an amazing family of dog lovers who recognize the unique treasures of these dogs that were once thrown away, ignored or abused on the street. I started a Colorado Potcake Meetup group and stay in touch with the director of The Humane Society of Grand Bahama, whose love and concern for each and every dog she takes in is inspiring. You can read more about the shelter director in my interview here.
When I learned this month that The Humane Society of Grand Bahama was in danger of closing, my heart went out to the cause, knowing that the shelter is the only hope for most of the islands' canine residents. I made a small donation to the GoFundMe campaign, but found myself wanting to do more. I reviewed my budget to find a way to donate on a monthly basis and I saw that I could easily cancel my two beauty box subscriptions and have almost enough to sponsor a dog. I added a few more dollars and went to the HSGB Facebook page to browse their album of adoptable dogs. One immediately caught my attention - a sweet black Potcake with a face that reminded me of my extraordinary dog, Lasya. I was astounded at the transformation Cherie made once in the hands of the HSGB - from a sad-eyed, half-bald creature to a bright-eyed smiling soul. Who needs beauty products when the HSGB is doing makeovers like these? My mind was made up - I would sponsor Cherie for $1 a day. It's not a lot, but it's something - one small thing I can do on behalf of my great love for Boca and my gratitude to those that saved her.
I know that we as dog lovers are implored on a daily basis to help all sorts of animal welfare causes. This one is so important to me because of my bond with my silly, gentle, affectionate Boca and experiencing her rescue story firsthand. Boca wins people over everywhere she goes - my aunt says her presence is as calming as a cup of chamomile tea. I want more dogs like Boca to have a chance to find families of their own, and for the HSGB to be able to continue saving them from the cruel streets and ferrying them to happily ever after. Cherie has now been living at the shelter for more than two years and is just one of the precious Potcakes that need us. I hope that by spreading the word we can find homes for more of them and also garner support for the incredibly deserving island shelter whose efforts extend across borders. Here are some ways to help:
- Sign the Petition to encourage the local government to support The Humane Society of Grand Bahama.
- Donate to the Colorado-based Kohn Foundation, a 501c3 organization dedicated to raising funds for The Humane Society of Grand Bahama.
- Foster or Adopt! Both Colorado Animal Welfare League and Outpaws here in Colorado regularly have Potcakes for adoption and are always in need of foster volunteers. Transportation can usually be arranged for dogs to be adopted directly from The Humane Society of Grand Bahama into the U.S.
- Spread the word! Please share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter (#savethehsgb) and other social media.
All photos courtesy of The Humane Society of Grand Bahama