Published: Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Misty Pileggi and her husband Frank, of Lower Salford, were taking a pre-tax-season tropical vacation before Frank's job as an accountant got into the full tax-time swing. The couple traveled to the Caribbean Island of Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, to enjoy the clear ocean water, the relaxed local attitude and the refreshing island sun, but they came home from their winter getaway with more than just a suntan. The Pileggis adopted a three-month old puppy, which they brought back to Montgomery County at the end of their trip.
By By: Brendan Purves
Although the Pileggis were going on vacation to relax before tax season, they were also traveling to bring a care package for Potcake Place, a nonprofit organization that sets up the adoption of local island dogs. During their vacation they had the opportunity to meet some potcakes puppies, and could not help but invite one of the gentle Caribbean dogs into the lives.
"They bring the puppies to your resort," Misty said. "They give you an opportunity to meet them and inevitably fall in love with them."
Potcakes, which are a recognized breed on the Turks and Caicos Islands, are so named because for generations the islanders fed them the caked remains at the bottom of their cooking pots, Misty said.
Misty had done research on Potcake Place, and the plight of the potcakes before the trip was even planed, and when the opportunity to help the dogs arose, she packed leashes, dog toys and treats into her suitcase along with her bathing suit and suntan lotion.
"They are the only guardian angels for the potcakes," Pileggi said about why she wanted to support Potcake Place.
The Pileggis were excited to help out the potcakes, and were even considering couriering one of the easy going dogs back to the United States for an adoption agency, but they did not think that they were ready to bring another pet into their own home, Misty Pileggi said.
In the spring of 2006 the Pileggis lost their 14-year-old American Alaskan Eskimo, Jessica, and their 14-year-old cat, KC, and did not think that it was the right time to get a new pet, Misty said.
The Pileggis had no intension of adopting, but Potcake Place organized a potcake-puppie beach play date at the beginning of their vacation, and after a week of discussion, they decided to adopt one of the playful little pups.
Gracie, the newest member of the Pilleggi family, made the trip back to the United States with another puppy who was being taken to The New Jersey Animal Alliance for adoption.
One would think that taking two dogs into the country would be difficult, but Misty said that Potcake Place made the process very easy.
"It's extremely easy," Pileggi said. "It was really a piece of cake." (No pun intended)
Gracie has been living with the Pileggis for a few months. She will graduate from puppy kindergarten at Opportunity Barks in Quakertown later this week, and although potcakes like Gracie have had rough early lives, Misty says that Gracie is very well behaved, and brings an island calmness to their home.
"She is very mature for her age," Misty said. "She's very calm and serene. She is definitely on island time."
Since its start just under two years ago, Potcake Place has been able to set up 345 adoptions - 19 of which were to homes in Pennsylvania. Misty said she will continue to do everything that she can to help the organization, and encourages others to get involved with helping the potcakes.
"The more we can spread the word about the plight of the potcake pups and the tireless effort to save them, the greater the number of success stories we can achieve and ultimately help more of these special pups find their forever home," she said.
More information about the potcake pups can be found on the Potcake Place Web site www.potcakeplace.com.
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