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Above: a Potcake Rescue team member plays with puppies in front of a Haven. Havens are being built in memory of young Chloe Kotval who frequented Abaco and had a love for animals. Chloe’s Havens are being distributed across the island. They are self-contained dog shelters including self-filling dog bowls, harnesses, leashes and food bowls.

Chloe’s Havens Transforming Potcake Care Across Abaco

By Angela Pattusch

 

Chloe Kotval, for whom the project is named, had a great love for all animals – especially Abaco’s potcakes.

The North Abaco Potcake Rescue team, New York based Potcake Advocate, Evelyn Vaccaro and the family and friends of Chloe Kotval have recently joined hearts and hands across an ocean, in memory of this very special girl. Chloe passed away on Feb 14th 2017, devastating families across her home town in Ottawa, Canada and far south to the communities of Hope Town where she vacationed with her family.

Chloe Kotval was a girl with a golden heart that loved all animals. During her time spent in Hope Town, she did all she could to help the Island Potcakes in need.

The North Abaco Potcake Rescue team are a grassroots rescue, consisting of a small group of Abaco residents. They travel far north several times a month from Coopers Town to Crown Haven dispersing food, supplies, and basic medications to families that need help caring for their dogs. They rescue as many dogs as they possibly can, from peril or neglect.

Their goals are to nurture compassion for the people and the animals within these communities. To open both minds and doors to the spaying and neutering of their dogs and cats, and to help illuminate where needed, what sentient beings their pets are, deserved of love, comfort and protection. The team also takes into account the challenges the good people of these towns face. Since the NAPR feeds began, some years ago, many wonderful community efforts were initiated, such as the Scotland Cay Christmas Caravan, Fill The Bag, Feel The Love food distribution effort, a free educational tour based on the documentary ‘It’s A Potcake Life’, brought to several schools in North Abaco, and other wonderful outreaches, directed at aiding the people in these remote towns.

In the aftermath of the devastation of losing Chloe, her family wanted to continue her mission of compassion in Abaco. Close friends, Jean and Mike Spicer were asked to assist, and they reached out to Evelyn Vaccaro, who has been part of the Hope Town community for decades. They were seeking a worthy Potcake rescue to dedicate donations made in tribute to Chloe Kotval.

Evelyn, having worked closely with the North Abaco Potcake Rescue team, sent both her heartfelt condolences and her sincere recommendation towards her trusted rescue peers. Evelyn and the NAPR team carefully considered how best to accomplish the goal of commemorating Chloe, and helping her beloved Potcakes.

The idea of providing shelters for dogs in need in Abaco, beginning in the remote towns of North Abaco, emerged. These shelters were to be called Chloe’s Havens, in her honour.

Chloe’s Havens are being built and distributed to Abaco families that need help to provide an adequate refuge for their dogs. The Havens will include vital self-filling water bowls, food bowls, harnesses and leashes, (to encourage the families to walk their dogs), and long lines for those that need to be kept safe from hazards such as being hit by cars, and poisoning.

The effort that has evolved into Chloe’s Havens, has truly resonated in the hearts of everyone involved. Several Havens have already been built, decorated and distributed to deserving families and their Potcakes in North Abaco. More are on the way.

Most of the Havens are being built by volunteers within the community of Hope Town, where Chloe is remembered with much love. The children of Hope Town decorated the shelters, and the kids up North also added their artistic talents to the Havens they received for their dogs, thus bridging the miles across Abaco and bringing children together to heal and to help animals in dire need of a better life.

As is the nature of Good Will, even more benevolent events are blossoming from this project. A Pen Pal program between Chloe’s friends in Canada and the kids of North Abaco is in the works. Children from two utterly different worlds will connect across the globe because of this wonderful girl and what she believed in.

Heartfelt condolences go out to the Kotval family, and all of Chloe’s friends. Huge gratitude to those that donated toward Chloe’s Havens in her memory. Much thanks to all those involved with making Chloe’s Havens a reality.

The North Abaco Potcake Rescue team, Evelyn Vaccaro, the builders, the children in the communities of Hope Town and North Abaco. Much appreciation also to Abaco Hardware for dedicating a discount for the materials needed. These Havens show that good can still triumph over tragedy. Those that knew Chloe Kotval will never forget her, and now the people in these distant towns of North Abaco, who never had a chance to meet her, will carry her light of kindness in their hearts.

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