Saari currently has a canine friend staying whose owners are away for a couple of weeks. She is called Perle and she has a rather interesting history. However, Saari is not all interested in her history, she is just happy to have a playmate, some-one to keep her company on her walks and a bed she can steal that is more comfortable than hers!
So what is Perle's interesting tale?
Perle was in fact born in Guadeloupe, a French island in the Caribbean. She was a street dog know in French as a chien errant (feral dog) and these dogs are all too numerous on many of the Caribbean Islands. In the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas (and to a lesser degree in Guadeloupe) they are known as potcake dogs. The name comes from the fact that many of the residents used to feed these feral dogs the sticky mixture from the bottom of their pots of rice and peas, a traditional Caribbean dish. The dogs themselves are most probably descended from dogs who arrived on the islands with early settlers and although this may have included many breeds, the potcake dogs themselves now all look somewhat similar. Perle is an excellent example - short coated, shortish legged and (in her case) a slight look of dachshund about her.
On Guadeloupe these potcake dogs are now a major problem. Estimates vary greatly as to the numbers but it is thought some 500 puppies are born every day. The dogs suffer greatly through their short lives from malnutrition, disease, parasites and injury. If you have a strong stomach (and I mean strong as some of the images are quite horrific, then Google "chien errant Guadeloupe"). To try and combat their rising numbers there are some sterilisation programmes in place and a limited number of adoption agencies working to re-home dogs that are taken from the streets.
Perle was one of the lucky ones. By the age of less than a year she had already had a litter of puppies but she was caught, spayed and placed with a re-homing charity. This charity works initially with the dogs in Guadeloupe, ensuring they are healthy, taming them and generally turning them from feral street dogs to tame, potential pets. They are then flown to France, to a refuge near Paris and put up for adoption. Our friends got to hear of this charity just as they were looking for a pet and visited the refuge hoping to be lucky. All homes wishing to adopt a potcake dog are inspected for suitability (this is not often the case with other dog refuges in France who are often just relieved to give a dog a home) .... and by chance for our friends one of the ladies who checks homes actually works in our local town of Condé-sur-Noireau. Their home was deemed suitable and Perle, the street dog from Guadeloupe found herself a new and loving home surrounded by the fields of rural Normandy. Quelle chance!!
For anyone wanting information about re-homing Potcake Dogs in France please contact:
Association Secours Protection Animale
21Ter Rue Anatole France - 95120 ERMONT
internet site: www.secours-animaux-guadeloupe.fr