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Playing with Pups for a Good Cause

Pet Friendly takes on new meaning at this beach hideout

Tails a-waggin’ and guests a-gellin’ at this hotel. Who would ever think dog meets man at a paradise hotel at the heart of George Town, Exuma, Bahamas this summer?

Peace and Plenty Beach Inn

Peace & Plenty Beach Inn did. And (bow) WOW! Masterminds Lynne Sutton and Bette Francis surely did not bark up the wrong tree approaching resort Vice President Barry Benjamin with the perfect pet-lover solution.

Lynne rescues stray dogs or lost puppies around Exuma and keeps them in the pen. Guests at the Peace & Plenty property at the Beach Inn get very involved, taking dogs to the beach with them for an entire day, petting and playing with them on-site.

On property, there are a total of eight island dogs called Pot Cakes. They are a mixed breed, each one different than the other.

“Due to our program, families and children like to stay at the Beach Inn and get involved,” she said. “Guests are not charged for participating and taking them out for a walk. I take donations though,” she added referring to the fund-raising events they launch such as the 10-kilometer Wagging Tails Sponsored Walk on the old airport runway. Sponsors and members of the public and private business groups raised over $3800 in February. Peace & Plenty donated generously towards the construction of the Bette Lynne Animal Shelter. Over 50 participants raised the monies that grew enormous awareness for the organization.

Barry Benjamin thinks the program with canines offers a unique sort of therapy, as do dolphins swimming and frolicking with divers, guests or kids with special needs.

“It’s an experience all its own,” he said.

“A lot of people have left pets behind. Having dogs here, they say, really help them not miss their pets so much. Stroking the animals help relieve the stress of leaving their pet companions while on vacation,” said Lynne. At the property, dog-training classes are held every Saturday. If guests are not directly involved, they do come and watch the fun happening at the Club Peace & Plenty. “So much of this goes on right here!” Lynne said.

A resource center in Exuma has made appointments to bring children with autism to the property where kids can socialize with the pups.

In the pipeline is the 2007 Wagging Tails Calendar with each month sponsored by hotels or individuals or business groups. Lynne said, “The calendar, to be released this October promises to be a big sale. It will be our major fund-raiser,” she said. Readers and guests are invited to send in snap shots of their favourite pup for a $5 fee. First prize gets a picture on the cover with 21 other pet runners-up featured all over the spread.

Peace & Plenty carried two months of advertising on the calendar. This kind gesture was a welcome treat for the pet organization.

Furthermore, the inn assists Exuma dog owners with obtaining a proper license to own a pet. Since it is legal requirement in Exuma, Peace & Plenty Beach Inn hands out application forms and files completed paperwork. Owners only collect the license from the Beach Inn. It’s that easy.

While a few of the dogs are sent to the States and are put up for adoption, the majority of the dogs found, rather than returned to the streets, are housed at the Beach Inn where there is plenty of room as well as visitors.

Lynne’s team is designing a website to reach out to people on an international scale. Hoping to bring humane awareness to the Family Islands of the Bahamas, they will post the organization’s profile, services offered, upcoming events and update on the construction of the animal shelter called BLAS. More on Peace and Plenty.