April 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Muscat: A pet shop owner in Oman recently stopped selling dogs and has now decided to promote the concept of “adoption” of these animals.
Dhiyab Hamed Al Zakwani, managing director of ‘Creatures’, said that the decision was not taken under pressure from any external sources. “This idea came from my daughter after she saw the large number of stray dogs in Oman who needed homes, to which I wholly agreed,” he said.
“This initiative, which was implemented in January 2015, will negatively affect our business, but that is minimal when compared to my peace of mind,” added Al Zakwani.
He estimated a loss of 25 per cent in his business due to this decision.
A sign which has been posted in the area where dogs were sold at the shop earlier reads: “Creatures Trading LL will no longer be displaying dogs in cages and we have decided to convert this area into a dedicated Grooming Saloon for all your pets. We encourage you to adopt local neutered dogs from animal rescue shelters.”
He pointed out that the store will introduce new variety and assortment of products and services such as pet grooming to cover this part of the business.
“I was absolutely horrified to see the reality of animals at an “animal farm” from some pictures which my daughter managed to click there,” said Al Zakwani.
“There was no proper food provided, the animals were very weak and were housed in very small cages.”
He added that dogs require a lot of human interaction and plenty of exercise which they could not provide at their current facilities due to lack of space.
Since many dogs are vulnerable to the hot weather, Reju George, manager of a pet store in Al Qurum, recalled that he once saw a Husky exposed to direct sunshine as it was suffering heat stress during the warm weather without any shed or water.
According to Dhiyab, adoption is a good way to provide homes for stray dogs. If there is no supply of breed dogs, people will tend to adopt these affectionate dogs, especially after they see their gentle nature.
Sorraya Rourke, a Muscat-based British expatriate who is taking care of stray dogs in Ruwi said that these animals can be perfect pets as they are very affectionate, especially if they are adopted at a young age.
“I always encourage people to adopt rather than buy them because all animals deserve love and care. This is what I have learnt from adopting four stray cats in Oman,” added Sorraya.
Expressing her delight at the pet shop’s action, Dr Emily Shotter, an animal rights activist said that it is important to remember that pets are for life, and for an expatriate it is not advisable to take care of a cat or dog if the person does not intend to take them along on leaving Oman.
“However, if you want to be a ‘temporary’ helper, then there is always a need for ‘foster parents’ for cats and dogs.” she added.
“In general, I do not think that animals in pet shops are kept in an appropriate environment. Indeed, in some places I have been troubled by the size of the cages, the lack of fresh water and food, the inappropriate flooring (wire floors are not suitable for a cat’s delicate paws), lack of toys and bedding and the state of health of many of them,” she said.
Jeremy Rawlins, an expatriate who has rescued more than 30 abandoned dogs in Oman during his 20 years in the country, alleged that many expatriates do not take responsibility when buying pets and abandon them before leaving the country just to avoid paying extra rials for the shipment.