By Angela Dovel
Early Saturday morning on Dec 6, the sleepy little fishing towns of North Abaco buzzed with activity. Newcomers were seen combing the neighourhoods with open cans of dog food in their hands, making odd whistling noises as they walked in a half crouch through the houses. Trucks and trailers loaded with dog crates and traps, were spotted cruising slowly through the previously empty streets. It was a curious sight for the towns people. But the news had already travelled from Cedar Harbour to Fox Town in a coconut-telegraph minute. The North Abaco Spay and Neuter clinic had come to town.
It began when a group of friends went ‘down’ to North Abaco for some scrumptious cracked conch at the fabulous Da Valley restaurant. The food was delicious and the view enchanting, but despite this, something put a slight shadow across their experience.
It was the multitude of gaunt stray dogs (known as potcakes), all over these towns. When photos of these dogs started to pop up on social media sites, the response both locally and abroad was immediate and resounding. What could be done?
The answer came via the efforts of Abaco Shelter, located in Marsh Harbour, and an animal rescue organization in Atlanta Georgia, called Royal Potcake Rescue. Together they pooled resources and donations to make this clinic possible.
Potcake lovers from all over the world donated what they could to cover the costs of this essential clinic. Dr. Bailey from Island Veterinary Clinic in Marsh Harbour and Dr. Wildgoose from Freeport Veterinary Hospital, Grand Bahama, generously offered the organizations a vastly reduced rate for their time and hard earned expertise for these operations.
Thanks to them, the Shelter and Rescue and the donators, this spay and neuter clinic became a reality for the towns of North Abaco.
A venue for the clinic was arranged by Ronnie and Judy Russell, owners of Da Valley restaurant, hotel rooms at Millie’s Guest House in Fox Town were donated for the vets and their crew, and the flyers heralding the event were fixed all around town.
On a beautiful Saturday morning, the North Abaco people and volunteers from communities all over joined together to begin the arduous task of getting ready for the incoming animal patients. Potcakes and cats of all sizes, shapes and temperaments poured in. Some captured by the volunteers, some eagerly brought in by the people who owned them.
All in all, 84 animals were spayed or neutered during the Dec 6 and Dec 7 North Abaco Clinic. With that, the count of puppies and kittens prevented from being born and continuing the epidemic of breeding, amounts to hundreds if not thousands of animals.
Much gratitude goes towards those that agreed to have their animals spayed or neutered; so ending the endless cycle of unwanted offspring. A huge thank you goes to Abaco Shelter, Royal Potcake Rescue, Dr. Bailey and Dr. Wildgoose and all of those who donated and volunteered to ensure this crucial clinic became a reality.