By Joanna Lewis
The Pink Duck Publishing cast of creatives enjoyed a morning of wagging tails, sloppy kisses, and delicious eats last weekend courtesy of a new initiative by the Cayman Islands Humane Society and local restaurant Bandidos Cantina.
The animal welfare organisation and the Seven Mile Beach Mexican-inspired restaurant have joined forces to help encourage people to volunteer their time to walk the more than 60 dogs at the shelter by offering a free breakfast for dog walkers.
Pooches Turner, Brandon, Russ, and Black Stuff all stretched their legs thanks to ducklings Angie Kape, Eleanor Smith, and Ian Swaby, who in turn each enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Bandidos Cantina.
“Our cast of creatives love dogs and some of us have four-legged friends at home,” Pink Duck Publishing’s marketing manager Eleanor says. “We really enjoyed walking the dogs at the Humane Society on Saturday morning. We did good, we felt good, then we ate good at Bandidos for free.”
The CIHS rely on volunteers to help walk the dogs at the shelter. Dog walkers are encouraged to visit the shelter between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays (except on Wednesdays when the shelter closes at 1 p.m.), Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon.
In addition to walking the dogs around the vicinity of the shelter, volunteers are also free to take a shelter dog for a trip to the beach, to popular areas such as Camana Bay, or even home with them for the day. On Sundays, volunteers can also take one of the shelter dogs to the weekly beach training class held on Seven Mile Beach Public Beach.
“It is important that our dogs get as much exercise as possible,” Saskia Salden, CIHS director says. “They are cooped up in their kennels 24/7 and love to get out and stretch their legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy a change of scenery. It calms them down and makes them less stressed when back in their kennels.”
She adds: “Taking the dogs out in public also gives them more exposure to potential adopters on or off island. We ask people to provide us with pictures, short videos and let us know more about the dog, such as whether the dog likes swimming, or is friendly with other dogs.”
Jason Moir, owner of Bandidos Cantina, says he decided to offer free breakfast for dog walkers as he is a passionate animal lover and wants to do what he can to help the animals at the CIHS.
“I've always enjoyed going to the shelter and visiting the dogs and cats, volunteering to walk them when I can,” Jason explains. “I also feel we can do more. On the weekends the shelter needs more walkers and I wondered how I could help attract more volunteers. Bandidos recently started opening for breakfast on the weekends and I thought maybe I could attract volunteers to walk the dogs and reward them with a delicious breakfast.”
Located in Seven Mile Shops, West Bay Road, Bandidos Cantina offers fresh Mexican-inspired fare, including a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options. On the menu diners will find numerous offerings including salads, soups, fajitas, burritos, tacos, and tapas.
The restaurant is open for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to noon. Dog walkers are free to order anything from the breakfast menu, which includes a wide range of hearty and delicious offerings such as omelettes, breakfast burritos, potato hash, avocado on toast, waffles, classic bacon and eggs, and more.
Jason says the response so far has been fantastic and that he is thrilled that so many of the dogs are getting the opportunity to stretch their legs.
“We'd like to continue running this promotion for at least the next little while, then come up with something new and fresh and ideally keep the interest level up and continue helping out where we can,” Jason says. “There has been lots of buzz around the restaurant and what's most important, the dogs are being taken care of. Hopefully we'll be able to find some forever homes, make some matches and adoptions.”
Saskia adds: “We are very grateful and appreciate this kind of initiative. We encourage other businesses to contact us and hopefully do the same. All the dogs at the shelter are great and they all deserve a loving home.”
For more information, call the shelter on 949-1461, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.caymanislandshumanesociety.com. For more details on Bandidos Cantina visit www.bandidos.ky or visit their Facebook page Bandidos Cantina.