By Angela Pattusch
Children from Hope Town and Mount Hope recently lent their time and talent towards a very special cause; decorating Chloe’s Havens, dog shelters built for Potcakes in need in North Abaco (as reported in last issue.) The Chloe’s Havens Project was conceptualized by the North Abaco Potcake Rescue team and Potcake Advocate, Evelyn Vaccaro. The Havens are being built to honour Chloe Kotval, a wonderful girl with a special love for animals, who was taken too soon from her family and friends.
Young artists of Hope Town gathered in the same yard that Chloe played in, to paint beautiful scenes on the empty canvas of the dog shelters. Although the task was taken on with love, there was also an air of quiet solemnity amongst them. The opportunity to be a part of commemorating Chloe’s memory, meant much to them.
The shelters were then sent far North to families in Mount Hope and Fox Town. The kids there were told all about Chloe and how much she cherished animals, even those many miles from where she lived. The thought seemed to elicit a sense of somber wonder that someone an ocean away could care so much for their pets.
The painting began, and the kids took on their mission with zest and exuberance, enough to cover the painting of their dog houses, themselves and the patient North Abaco Potcake Rescue volunteers.
The Potcakes were treated to special moments of playtime with the kids, and took full advantage of all the attention. Part of the goal of Chloe’s Havens, is to create positive experiences between the kids and their Potcakes, and to further feelings of pride and nurturing towards their dogs.
The event that led to the project that became Chloe’s Havens is beyond tragic. The transformation of this tragedy into hope, shelter and compassion is a testament that kindness cannot be extinguished, but can be a torch passed forward across vast distances, with a light that has no end.
Friends and family also would like to remember Mario Simoes, a treasured rescue friend and part time Hope Town resident. His altruistic heart and love for dogs brought him in contact with the North Abaco Potcake rescue efforts. Mario had planned to bring Evelyn and supplies for Chloe’s Havens to Abaco, and to join the team on their journey of good will. Mario passed away recently, and the loss of this good man, who seemed bigger than life in so many ways, has left the NAPR team and friends in shock and sorrow. He will be sorely missed by so many.