Local family rescues dogs from Belize with help from community

Posted at 11:24 AM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-20 11:24:28-04

For Boomer, his puppy friend Tony, and even Poogie, the likelihood of getting adopted was pretty slim.

But now, these dogs have hope, thanks to an East Lansing family and the community.

Rachel Hoke and her family turned a Caribbean vacation into a rescue mission, when they decided to bring these homeless dogs from San Pedro Island off the coast of Belize to Mid-Michigan.

"These dogs just know they have another chance, they have a chance at a home and a life," says Hoke.

In Belize, the strays are called potlickers, forced to lick empty pots for food just to stay alive. But, thanks entirely to donations, the family cut through some major red tape to get passports for six potlickers.

"People will just let them go, will just let them loose on the island and it is tough, they are starving," says Hoke, "they're wonderful dogs, I can't even begin to tell you how grateful they are."

With two dogs adopted, four are looking for homes, like Poogie, who lived in the tropical shelter for two years.

"A shelter stay can be really stressful and it depends a little bit on the temperament of the dog," says Capital Area Humane Society CEO Julia Willson, "so some dogs really thrive in a shelter environment, for a lot of dogs, especially dogs with fear, a shelter is a really bad place for a dog."

Now, Macho is on the mend, and the two puppies are jumping and playing, happier than ever.

It's a mission this Mid-Michigan group plans to continue.

The dogs are totally spayed and neutered - ready for adoption. They've passed all health requirements to get into the country.

Right now, three are in foster homes and one is at CAHS, much different from the outdoor shelter in Belize.

To help or adopt, visit the "Passports for Potlickers" Facebook page.