October is observed as ‘Adopt a Shelter Dog’ month’ in the United States and so this is a very appropriate time to give thought to be animal shelter here on Abaco. Sadly, too many people abandon their dogs which are often not spayed or neutered. They reproduce in large numbers and live malnourished lives on the streets.
The Abaco Shelter, formerly Pop’s Shelter, is a shelter located at the site of the old Abaco dump on the SC Bootle Highway. This shelter was established in 2010 by Willis Pops Weatherford as a sanctuary for stray and abandoned dogs. Here he established a home for dogs which he rescued from the streets.
At the time he owned a business in central Marsh Harbour and he was greatly saddened by the scrawny dogs he would see scavenging around for food every day, thus he made a home for them at the shelter. He retired in 2012 but the shelter continues to grow and flourish under the leadership of Leisa Plummer and a band of devoted volunteers.
The shelter is well maintained and includes covered areas for shade and protection, spaces in which to run and exercise and wooden kennels to house puppies and dogs in need of special care. The Abaco Shelter plays an extremely important role since it is the only shelter for stray dogs. It provides a place for needy animals to live in safety and caters to their physical well-being.
The shelter is currently home to about 35 adult dogs and seven pups. While the animals are lovingly looked after here, having been saved from a miserable life on the streets, it is every dog’s wish to live in a ‘forever family’. Dogs are man’s best friend and will provide a lifetime of devotion to their owners. This would be a good time to consider adopting one of these shelter dogs as a pet if you feel you could give it a good home.
Four adult dogs have been adopted out to local families within the last six months. Animals are always spayed and neutered before they are adopted out to families.
Visitors to The Bahamas love to adopt potcake puppies and in the past many puppies have been flown out to the United States with the help of Royal Potcake Rescue and other rescue groups and have had wonderful homes found for them over there. However, new restrictions prevent the travel into the US of puppies under 6 months of age. Foster homes are needed for puppies until they are old enough to travel and also for older dogs which need to be socialized (trained to walk on a leash, house trained and able to interact with children).
The shelter runs completely on voluntary aid. There are presently 12 volunteers who work at the shelter feeding, bathing and catering to all of the dogs’ needs plus four other volunteers who assist with website, fundraisers etc. The shelter is always looking for volunteers and would be very grateful to hear from anybody who is willing to assist either financially or by volunteering a few hours a week to help at the shelter.
The volunteers are hoping to improve the facility but much financial aid is needed towards this goal as well as for the items constantly in great demand at the shelter such as dog food (dry and canned), bleach, liquid laundry soap, medications and ointments.
The goal of the shelter is to not only care for abandoned animals but to create awareness within the community for responsible pet ownership. On behalf of all the animals cared for at the shelter and the volunteers, Leisa Plummer would like to express appreciation to the Abaco community for all the support they give through donations and fundraisers.
Anyone wishing to donate financially, volunteer or adopt can go to the shelter’s website www. Abaco Shelter.com or to their Facebook page or call 365 4648, 367-0737 or 242-559-8063. She would also like for people to report any neglected or abandoned animals so that they can be rescued.