As Abu Dhabi Pet Festival wags its tail back into town, we ask some of the capital’s animal lovers what makes their pet special
Whether you’re a dog, cat or even a reptile person, Abu Dhabi Pet Festival is bounding back into the capital on 13th April and with it comes a whole day of activities celebrating all types of creatures. Founded to raise awareness of animal welfare, the event offers vet-led workshops, entertainment, shopping and more.
If Fido is an escape artist, challenge him on the dog agility course – or if you think Fluffy is the purr-fect feline, then the cat beauty contest is for you.
Be sure not to miss the display from the UAE police K9 squad, too. Don’t have a furry pal? No problem – stop by the adoption drive to see if you can offer a pet a new home, or head to the petting zoo for some quality time with small creatures.
In anticipation of the event, we talk to some of Abu Dhabi’s most pet-crazy people to find out why they love their furry friends so much…
Amy Gilbert, physiotherapist
“I have two crazy cats – both Arabian Maus – that started their lives on the streets.
“Tara was found at a school as an emaciated bundle of skin and bones and she had black paws. I later found out this was tar – hence the name Tara.
“She was meant to be a foster, but she never left. “Three weeks later, another kitten needed a home. Her name was Athena, but she was quickly renamed Piper as her meow – or howl – resembles bagpipes.
“Piper is a character and will follow me to the shower and jump in, however very quickly scramble out again. She is a big talker and will meow at you if you meow at her.”
Spencer Brown, senior technical specialist
“We first fostered our cat Lucy back in 2014 and we ended up keeping her. Then we found another cat – Bobby – who had been in an accident and lost one of his front limbs.
“When we moved into a villa, there were three cats living in the yard and they adopted us, and then we adopted two more!
“Bobby wants to do everything that the other four-legged cats do, and better than them – he always tries to climb up the maintenance ladders. He’s got such an adventurous spirit.”
John Rubilla, digital marketing executive
“I have three dogs – Sam, Sophie and Niño. We rescued them all from Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.
“Sam was very scared of people and loud sounds when we got him, but now he’s a healthy, happy boy.
“Niño is a longhaired chihuahua – he’s been with us a few months. “Sophie – she’s a Maltese – loves to watch television. Any time she hears an animal on the screen, she comes running to watch the show!”
Dr Katrin Jahn, head veterinary doctor and owner of German Veterinary Clinic
“I’ve got one dog, two cats, two tortoises and a horse. All my animals, apart from my horse, are rescues and we have a very harmonious household!
“We got [one of our cats] Squidge when she was a few weeks old. She was found on a building site and we had to bottle-feed her. Our dog, Polly, took over the mothering role – they have a huge bond.
“My cat, Vicky, loves drinking from running water, so she’ll regularly place herself in the sink and wait until we turn the tap on. She taught Squidge too, so now we often have cats sitting
in sinks in our house.”
Afra Al Dhaheri, founder of Cloud 9 Pet Hotel and care
“I have 11 dogs at home – ten little ones and one golden retriever, plus one cat and two parrots.
“It’s a busy house! “Every dog I have has a wonderful story. I rescued two chihuahuas – one is called Chino – and he was born with a defect where his tongue is sticking out of his mouth.
“He looks so ugly in a totally adorable way. “Both of my chihuahuas are so small, but when they’re sleeping, they have the loudest snores – it’s like a musical in my house.”
Need to know
What: Abu Dhabi Pet Festival
When: 13th April, 2pm–10pm
Where: du Arena, Yas Island
WORDS Camille Hogg