by Elisa Black-Taylor
Dubai construction - Rapid expansion in Dubai resulted in too much debt and a fagile economy - photo by twocentsworth (Flickr)
News of the pets in Dubai being abandoned was the first newsletter article that caught my attention on my email today. So I decided to educate myself and my readers at the same time. I'm beginning this from scratch so I'm unsure whether this is a good pet story or a bad pet story. Here's the newsletter that brought this to my attention: Abandoning Pets in Dubai
This is a good newsletter to subscribe to. I just sorry I can't afford the course he offers.
So here we go on my mission of education and awareness.
I have two questions as I begin this. Where is Dubai (I've never heard of it) and why does their pet problem concern us? The name sounds like another country (it is) and don't the people in the U.S. have enough pet issues without adding another country to our list of those to help?
I'll answer the latter question first. We at pictures-of-cats.org take animal welfare first regardless. I'm sure Michael and all of the readers here would agree. I'm presently unable to help financially but I'm good at spreading the word so those who can help will. Educating others is the end result of my big mouth and love of writing I've had since childhood. My love of animals also helps a lot.
In this case the story is similar to events taking place all over the world. Pets are being abandoned for many reasons. Hopefully we can all learn from the story of Dubai and what the people there are doing. This is a situation that can happen anywhere in the world and I'm curious to see how animal rescue groups are handling it. So lets take a look.
Where is Dubai and what happened?
Dubai is a peninsula on the Persian Gulf. I won't spend a lot of time on the location because that's not the issue. The abandoned pets in Dubai need help and rescue groups are doing all they can. Here's the link for those who would like to dig deeper.
Abandoned pets in Dubai seem to be suffering the same issues as other parts of the world. One similarity is the economic problem. People are losing everything they have because of the economy and can no longer afford to care for their pets. There is one major difference.
Many in Dubai are residents of other countries.
They work in Dubai and when the job ends voluntarily or involuntarily, they return to their own country. Since it costs to take an animal into another country are so high, the animal is abandoned. There are also people who decide to return to their own country on holiday for a short period of time who abandon their pets. They claim boarding costs are simply too high. One month boarding is between Dh (or AED) 1200-1500 (1 Dh = 0.27 USD). 1500 AED = 403 USD Read the entire story while you're there. It addresses the problems we all seem to be facing.
Quarantine and the overall cost of the pet returning to another country with the owner are a major part of the problem. Someone leaving Dubai due to unemployment simply can't afford to take their pet out of the country.
Just a thought. Shouldn't those who are leaving on holiday have considered boarding costs before they had taken on pet ownership? I'm not judging anyone so please don't jump on me. It's just one part of the problem.
I have 3 heroic organizations for this story. I'm sure I'm missing some and I apologize. Thanks to these animal lovers, this is turning into a story of hope. Not just for the abandoned pets in Dubai. Thanks to them, I'm able to pass on helpful hints that can help abandoned pets everywhere.
My first organization is Feline Friends, Dubai. They have a page on Facebook. Feline Friends is staffed by a totally volunteer force. Most already have full time jobs and run this in their spare time to help the homeless pet population. They do not operate a cattery. All cats are placed in foster homes from several hours to several weeks. These cats know the love of a family until a forever home can be found. I love this approach and it saves money by not having a facility to operate. A foster cat is sent to a temporary home with a litter box, feeding bowls, food and litter. Vet visits must be approved before the cat goes to the vet but are covered by Feline Friends. Most of the visits are for vaccines or sterilization. THIS IS SO GREAT!
K9 Friends is a non-profit rescue organization in the Middle East. They also have a page on Facebook. I absolutely love the way the organization is run and would like to share what impressed me. First of all they have a wide variety of ways to help the shelters they operate for the rescues. These include using school age volunteers who want to help out. I would love to have worked for such a cause when I was a teen. Their volunteers can help man the phones, sell merchandise at a booth, perform stall maintenance, or offer to foster an animal. They have programs in place to sponsor an animal. THIS IS SO GREAT TOO!!! And something any Humane Society in the world can easily copy. Their's was a black tie/national dress event which included a 4 course meal and drinks, an auction and prizes. The photography sales alone probably brought in a lot of money. There are pictures posted of the event on the K9 Friends website. This could easily be scaled down to fit any community. My area would do better with a hotdog dinner and door prizes. My point is this idea is very adaptable.
My final organization I give kudos to is the Pedigree and Whiskas Dubai Pet Show 2010. I admit my first thought on them was negative. How can they have a pet show when so many pets need rescuing? People are paying admission and buying pet items and acting like everything is hunky-dory in the pet population there. Just as shows are run all over the world. I admit my first impression was wrong.
The people who put together this show are actually benefiting the abandoned animals of Dubai. One way is by educating people in both pet ownership and pet care. Maybe if people would understand pets aren't toys to be traded in or given up. FOREVER HOMES are called that for a reason. Will people never understand they are getting a pet with the understanding that a 10-25 year responsibility is involved? If you only want a pet for a short time try foster care. Actually, foster care isn't a bad idea for a first time pet owner. Test out the water before you invest in a boat. Pet ownership isn't a good idea for a lot of people. They just don't realize it until it's too late.
Pedigree and Whiskas give charitable organizations the chance to promote their groups to the UAE public.
They raise money for K9 Friends. Pet experts give lectures throughout the day. Refreshments are provided. In other words, this is a family event day. A chance for parents and children alike to learn about pet care and spend quality time together. I LOVE events that involve the family. They create lifelong memories for everyone.
I'm sorry I've given everyone so much HOMEWORK with all of the links. Honestly, this article could easily have turned into a novel. I've described the situation, some of the things that led to it, and ways Dubai re sidents are trying to correct it.
Fortunately these 3 organizations are doing a lot to help. Please forward this story to your local Humane Society and rescue groups. The ideas here are good ones to apply to any community. I love the Puppy Ball idea and the sponsorship programs. Also in using responsible youths to help out.
I'm glad the positive outweighed the negative in my article. That rarely happens and I'm glad when it does.
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