Vacation St Croix’s Marti & Carl Gotts have been supporting St Croix’s less fortunate pets since they came to the island. Together they have saved, fostered and loved countless Crucian cats and dogs. Today their home is loved and guarded by a menagerie of rescued pets. Pet overpopulation is an issue in the islands and there are several local 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organizations that help to rehabilitate, foster and re-home St Croix’s homeless pets. These organizations rely on private donations and volunteer power to make a difference. One of our favorite organizations is Sunshine Foundation.
Sunshine Foundation‘s mission is to End Pet Over Population on St Croix through Spay & Neuter Clinics. They also support the grass root efforts of community volunteers who manage feral cat colonies They offers low cost spay/neuter clinics twice per month and sponsors the veterinary care and rehabilitation of special cases of abuse and neglect.
Managed colonies of community cats help to put a big dent in pet overpopulation and keep them out of the local shelter while preventing them for reproducing and adding to the homeless pet population. Many local restaurants and hotels work with the organization and take advantage of their low cost TNVR service. Cats are Trapped, Neutered, Vaccinated and Returned to their managed colony where they are regularly fed and live out happy lives. During the procedure, the tip of the left ear is snipped off, helping volunteers to easily identify cats who have already been trapped. Keep an eye out when you are on island for these special felines. Sunshine Foundation also supports volunteers who rehabilitate and foster homeless dogs and cats who are waiting to be adopted, by providing low cost veterinary services including spay/neuter, vaccinations and medical care. Sunshine Foundation offsets the costs for surgical materials and vaccines by private donations, making low cost services available to the public. One of the dedicated volunteers that Sunshine Foundation supports is Jamison Pollitt who is making a big difference on St Croix.
A veteran bartender and chef, Jamison moved to St Croix from the Philadelphia area in 2010. He first got started with fostering dogs when an Akita named Keesha found her way into his heart. Her owners were losing their home and because of her age and breed, she was going to lose her life. Jamison wasn’t really in a position to adopt a dog at that time and kept saying “No” to friends who knew about her heartbreaking situation. After a couple of weeks, he asked himself if he could continue to look away. On the day that she was supposed to be euthanized, the family was struggling emotionally with the decision. The veterinarian agreed to make a house call. Jamison stepped up that night and agreed to take in Keesha and his life was forever changed. At that time, years of slinging drinks was taking a toll, but Keesha had opened his heart to the rewards of foster and shelter work. A friend, Casey McGuire (Author of A Sheltered Life: Portraits of Inner City Animal Shelters) introduced him to Animal Alliance in New Jersey where he began walking dogs on their picturesque property. There he met Jeggers, a dog he thought of adopting but was instead talked into fostering. Friends who made homemade dog food, had 2 acres and belonged to a dog walking club met and fell in love with Jeggers a few days later. So, Jamison agreed to let him go and foster another. That process soon became habit.
Fostering eventually led to dog training. About 7 years ago, he began volunteering with the Animal Control and Care Team of Philadelphia. There he passed several handler levels and logged many hours participating in events, temperament testing and training dogs at the shelter.
Today we are lucky to have him here on St Croix fostering and preparing Crucian dogs for new homes, as well as training owned pups. His hope is that by teaching basic training and household manners, local dog owners would be more inclined to spay and neuter and better care for their pets. Working towards certification, Jamison practices Positive Reinforcement Technique training and the principles of Sophia Yin, Victoria Stillwell, etc. He has attended the Patricia McConnell course and is currently completing a Karen Pryor Academy training course. You can learn more about his dog training at www.PawsitiveVI.com. His true love is working to rehabilitate fear-based rescue dogs.
Jamison has a tier system for fosters at his home that helps get them ready for adoption. This allows people to adopt a dog that is already trained, socialized and ready to become a loving family member right away. According to Pollitt, “Crucian mutts and coconut retrievers are such unique dogs, with some interesting cross traits. They tend to be very smart and independent, which I assume comes from crossing with the friendliest chow chows I’ve ever met.”
So, now you may be wondering “How can I help? What can I do?”
Vacation St Croix is happy to do our part in helping to end pet overpopulation on St Croix by supporting Sunshine Foundation through donations, but we also want to help the homeless pets who are here on the island looking for homes.
If you are a guest at one of our vacation villas and you decide you’d like to take home the ultimate souvenir – a St Croix homeless dog, cat, puppy or kitten – Vacation St Croix will pay for both the veterinary services to get them ready to go (spay/neuter, vaccination, a checkup and a Health Certificate) through the Sunshine Foundation and we will pay for the travel costs as well. Contact the office for details!
Not ready to adopt, but still want to help? There are two ways:
- Make a donation to toward Sunshine Foundation’s efforts.
- Be a travel sherpa for a puppy or kitten headed to the States. Jamison works with several stateside no-kill shelters, but puppies and kittens need human escorts along the way for security purposes. Get in touch with us and we’ll coordinate to see if there are St Croix pets headed in your direction that you can escort.