DUBAI // Lovers of dogs and cats from across the UAE converged on Festival City yesterday for the 22nd Dubai Pet Show. As hundreds of pet owners gathered, organisers wanted to raise funds for the pet charities K9 Friends and the Sharjah Cat and Dog Shelter. Emile Samuel, 36, and his wife, Tracy, 33, both from South Africa, were not there to watch their German shepherd compete but to let him meet other dogs.
"It's great here as there are so many pet owners with their dogs," Mr Samuel said. "Coco never gets to meet other dogs so it is more of social event for him." The dogs that competed had to please judges from Crufts, which organises the world's largest dog shows. Hanna Alvez, 25, and her husband, Jason, 36, both from the Philippines, saw their two-year-old poodle, Nice, finish second in the utility class. "We rescued her two years ago," said Mrs Alvez. "She was very dirty and we had to take her to the vets and clean her up.
"When we first found her, she was very timid and frightened as a result of being abandoned, but now she is so happy and is the most sociable dog here. That is how she did so well in the competition." Bianca Korsten, with her dog, Boogie, won the "best six legs" competition, which included the legs of the owners. Jane Bevan's dog, Inka, won "happiest dog". The award for pedigree veteran went to Mary Kotharay's Yorkshire terrier, Danny.
Possibly the largest dogs at the show were two Great Danes, which each eat 15kg of dry dog food every month. Duke, a three-year-old, and Doza, 18 months, seemed perfectly comfortable as passers-by petted them while their owners explained how easy they were to keep. "It is not as much work needed with these dogs as people would think," said Neil Anderson, 46, from Britain. "It is the same as most other dogs. We walk them both every morning and evening for about 20 minutes."
Last year, 30,000 people visited the show at Festival City, an all-day event. Dogs from the Dubai Customs K9 division, Abu Dhabi Police and Dubai Police gave demonstrations yesterday. Pet owners were able to pick up tips from experts at Waltham, a pet-care and nutrition group. "I know most of it already, but it is always good to refresh the head," said Elizabeth Richards, 38, from the UK, who owns a German shepherd.
"I left him at home today because he would have got very excited with all these other dogs around," she said as she listened in on a demonstration. "I am part of a group that walks together with our dogs and he loves that but here it would be a bit too much. The tips are good but my guy is very well-behaved." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org