Judy Tipping rescues Potcakes from Bahamas

BY DONNA McMILLAN

JESSIE, Gigi, Mango, Cedar, Albe and Charley are just some of the Potcake dogs that Port Dover dog lady, Judy Tipping, has rescued from the Bahamas, fostered and found forever homes.
Judy, the mother of three and foster mother of two, owned Jack, a pug, when she first saw a picture of a Potcake on facebook that was posted locally by Aisja Riley and her mother Sandra Baxter. She was hooked. In January 2019, she adopted Tiffany, a 14-week-old brindle Potcake. Tiffany and Jack became the best of friends.
“My father, Jack, used to own the Beaver Lumber in town,” Judy said. Following the death of her Dad, she got her pug and named him after her Dad. “I was adopted myself. I was fortunate to have such a wonderful family. I have to pay it forward.”

Above: Judy Tipping with two of her rescued Potcakes.

She is continuing to foster rescue dogs and work with Claire Cash of Potcake Puppy Palace, an affiliate of the Bahamas Humane Society, in Nassau. Claire takes in mothers and their puppies, Judy said.
The Potcake is a mixed-breed dog found on islands in the Caribbean, Judy explained. Its’ name comes from the peas and rice mixture that local residents traditionally eat. Often, the overcooked rice that cakes to the bottom of the pot is fed to the dogs.
They have smooth coats, cocked ears and long faces. Colours vary. They generally live 10 to 12 years and weigh 11 – 27 kg when adults. A group of potcakes is called a parliament.
“They are the best dogs,” Judy said. “It’s almost like they look into your soul and thank you for rescuing them.” They are loving, gentle, quiet, resilient and learn quickly, she added. “My pug is more trouble.” The only challenge she had was getting the rescues used to walking with a harness and leash.
In June, Judy was wanting to foster a puppy. She picked up two Potcakes, Jessie and Jerry, at the airport. She explained that people vacationing in the Bahamas sometimes volunteer to be transporters of the puppies to foster homes in Canada. Others will travel to Nassau to adopt their own pup. In Nassau alone, there is an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 stray Potcakes. All dogs are vaccinated and vet checked before leaving the country.
Jessie was adopted. Adoption papers need to be completed and there is a $350 adoption fee to cover expenses and vaccinations.
“Jerry was my first foster fail. I couldn’t give him up,” she said. After his arrival, he was ill. He appeared to be dehydrated from his trip and had gastro issues, Judy said. “The Dover Animal Hospital was amazing with their care and support,” she said. After nursing Jerry, she wanted him to stay with her.
She has fostered many dogs since then and they have been adopted out. “I have a waiting list of people looking for dogs,” she said. “Some have specific requirements.” She is currently fostering Albe and Charley. Their adoption applications are pending. “Three more were flying in on the weekend,” she said.
Cedar and Mango were Judy’s first two dogs to arrive in Port Dover after Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas on September 1, doing the most damage to Abaco and Grand Bahamas. They came from Nassau. Both were adopted but Cedar needed surgery for a broken leg. Judy said they are fundraising to help with the cost.
“A lot of local people have adopted dogs,” Judy said. “There is a whole new community of adopted Potcakes out there.” They have to be a certain age, 10 to 14 weeks, so they can travel in a bag under the seat on the plane, Judy said.
On September 19, Judy turned 50. She decided her birthday gift should be a humanitarian trip to Nassau. She was gone from September 11 to 23 and took hockey bags full of many items; Dolls of Hope for an orphanage, clothing, soap from Cottage North, toothpaste and much more.
In addition, she took vet supplies donated by the Dover Animal Hospital. “I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my 50th,” she said. She met many great people there. She also visited Baark, the initial screening area for incoming puppies. Puppies are quarantined and checked by veterinarians before going to Potcake Palace, she explained. And from there, they are fostered out. Judy found the founder of Potcake Palace welcoming and helpful in arranging accommodation. She also has local support in Nassau.
Anyone who is interested in fostering a puppy or adopting can contact Judith Tipping Lee on Facebook or e mail her at jude.lee2015@gmail.com

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