Stittsville Fire Station 81 goes to the dogs – potcake dogs that is

When we think of firefighters and dogs, we often relate to Sparky the Fire Dog, a Dalmatian who has been the mascot of the National Fire Prevention Association since 1951. As dogs, Potcakes are truly a remarkable breed of dog – smart, loyal, resilient, loving – and could very well be a firefighter mascot, just ask the firefighters at Station 81 in Stittsville.

On August 14, Stittsville residents had the opportunity to meet many Potcakes – the day that Station 81 firefighters opened the doors to share their penchant for helping these pups find new homes and support a good cause. At the event, the Station 81 team were hosting a fundraiser/adoption “Pups and Trucks” day for the Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue (EOPR), an Ottawa non-profit, volunteer-driven organization, formed in January 2016. The EOPR brings these pups to Eastern Ontario from the Bahamas area to be adopted and finally find their soon to be healthy and happy life in a forever home.

(A map showing the adoption area of the Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue. EOPR website photo)

What is a Potcake dog you ask? Potcake is the name given to the dogs of the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands. It came about because the locals fed the caked remains of the cooking pot to the dogs. Some rescue organizations believe that the original Potcake was derived from a mix of the Labrador, German Shepherd and Fox Terrier breeds.

Station 81 was filled with various vendors selling dog-related items, handcrafted art, baking for pups and humans, and freezies for the kids (big and little) with all of the proceeds being donated to the Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue. Of course, there were Potcakes of every size, shape and colour in the station. Dogs of all ages were available to adopt, but owners of adopted Potcakes were proudly sharing information about their beloved pets and the reasons to adopt this breed.

A lot of action was inside, but outside the firefighters were kept busy giving tours of the fire trucks and kids got to spray the fire hoses at targets, trying to knock them over with a blast of water.

Cheryl Pauls, the lead organizer for the day and firefighter at Station 81 told Stittsville Central, “I’ve been fostering dogs for over a year with Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue. When Ottawa Fire Services gave the go-ahead to start offering public education again, I thought it was a great opportunity to bring two things together that everyone loves pups and trucks. Pups and Trucks gave the community a chance to tour and learn about the fire trucks, and meet some adoptable dogs, one of which was my foster dog Ellie.”

We also ran into Harlow an adopted Potcake who brought along her owner, Ashley Tomassini-Labelle. Ashley is a local author and had penned a heartwarming children’s book told through the eyes of Harlow about the dog’s journey from St. Lucia entitled, “Harlow’s Journey Home”. You may have met Harlow and Ashley at Sunset Farms in 2021, when they appeared at the HolliBell Foundation‘s doggie walk. Ashley shared with us, “this is a fantastic day for Potcakes and we appreciate so much that our firefighters in Stittsville are supporting this cause. Potcakes are the sweetest and they all deserve a good home – just look at our beautiful Harlow”.

The vendors who participated loved to support the Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue group – well really anything dogs! To keep that support going, below is the list of those who attended, along with links to their social media pages:

It was an awesome time at Stittsville’s Station 81 for everyone who attended. We look forward to more events at Station 81!


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