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Dh72,000 beds: How UAE dogs live the high life

Pet owners across the Emirates are splashing out on top quality food, spa treatments and corporate jets

Image Credit: Supplied
Pet lover Aksana Demakina, seen with her favourite chihuahuas, treats her pets to weekly spa visits
GN Focus

Does your pet wake up in a customised bed encrusted with real diamonds? Or does she have a choice between wearing Swarovski or ruby chokers for a stroll around Dubai Marina? Do they get their birthday cakes via DHL directly from New York? Or deign to nibble only on organic food imported from around the world?

Perhaps not, but many pampered pets in the UAE are being spoiled
with VIP services that would leave most humans salivating with envy.

No expense is spared by devoted fur parents to make their babies feel special, from organic keratin treatments that enhance hair growth to blueberry facials, fizzy paw treatments and Mohawk haircuts. Meanwhile, label-loving pet owners are buying haute couture clothes imported from Italy and Scotland, and monogrammed shirts and Swarovski-studded hoodies tailored in Europe.

“We believe that pampering your pet should be no different than the way you would spoil your child,” says German pet lover and entrepreneur Aksana Demakina, who owns the Dubai store Pampered Pets with her Indian husband Samir Shroff.

Every week, their chihuahuas — Sugar, Chewy, Hugo, Chanel and Calvin — are treated to a spa visit where they are shampooed, blow-dried and sprayed with a special pet perfume. Shroff says his dogs are the real owners of their home, they have their own beds in almost every room and also share his wardrobe. They also spoil their pets by buying them monogrammed clothes, shoes to protect their paws from the summer heat and sweaters for winter. Treats and pastries shipped in fresh from a New York bakery are standard fare.

“Our five chihuahuas are not just our pets, they are also our babies,” Demakina adds.

Other pets in the UAE live equally extravagant lives. Curly (name changed for privacy reasons), a lapdog, wakes up daily in a 1.5-metre-long customised bed with a headboard encrusted in diamonds and semi-precious stones. The bed itself cost Dh72,000. Then there is Bubu, a prized Jack Russell whose doting Iranian owner has built him a special wardrobe with 30 shelves that hold a set of monogrammed clothes for each day of the month.

While most pets spend their day sitting by the door waiting for their owners to return from work, one cat is on a life-changing adventure. Mogli is a German-owned moggie currently on a cross-continental road trip to Dubai with her owner, 30-something Martin Kaluka. The pair set off from Rosenheim in Bavaria on August 25, and are sharing their story via the Instagram page @motomogli.

The purrfect traveller

“Mogli is a very curious cat, she is constantly catching critters and lizards. They say curiosity killed the cat and then satisfaction brought it back,” says Kaluka, who hopes to live in the UAE. The pair are currently in Albania, camping, couch-surfing and hobnobbing with border police and children alike. Kaluka says Mogli is a keen travel buddy who loves riding shotgun in his bike’s tank bag.

Travelling with a cat is not easy, with extra luggage, cat food and shots (Mogli is vaccinated against rabies, and therefore able to cross borders without being quarantined). “I would not have it any other way,” Kaluka says. “I had to take Mogli on this trip or else I would have to give her away and that was not an option for me.

“I guess I am committed to her. It is also nice to snuggle up to my beloved cat in the sleeping bag at night.”

The pair are expected to reach Dubai in November.

While travelling can be gruelling for animals, a select group are crossing the globe in the lap of luxury. A team of corporate flight attendants in California launched Sit ’n Stay Global to cater to the jet-set pet. The company says 50 per cent of its clients, among them GCC residents, fly privately to ensure the comfort of their pets. Similar services are available from Rotana Jet and Royal Air.

Over-compensation?

It’s heartening to see that rescue animals are also being treated well. Every year project manager Bahtim Ozok, 34, and her husband Mert celebrate the birthday of their husky, Simarik, with a big party. Simarik is spoilt with presents in the form of bones, toys and doggy bites. The highlight is being served her favourite meal, a large juicy steak with pasta.

The Dubai resident says, “Simarik was abandoned in Turkey. Her name means pampered in Turkish. I believe she deserves a really happy life, I want her to feel special and so I pamper her.

“Simarik, is more a child to me. After a long day, when I walk through the doors, she greets me with hugs and kisses, she makes me feel like I am her world. It’s a shame she cannot talk. I treasure our little baby.”

PETS EAT OUT

Now you can dine out with your fur babies, as the food-ordering app Zomato’s Pet friendly page proves. We shortlist a few options

Dubai

Senara, Palm Views West, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Tel: 04 451 6460.

Nofara JLT Swiss Tower, Cluster Y, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Tel: (800) 663272

Cycle Bistro, The Cycle Hub, Dubai Autodrome, Motor City, Dubai
Tel: 04 425 3000

Arrows and Sparrows, Emaar Business Park, Buiding 4, The Greens, Dubai
Tel: 04 5588141

Lime Tree Café, Beach Road
Tel: 04 3256325

Abu Dhabi

Café Firenze, Al Zeina – Abu Dhabi
Tel: 02 556 4643

Jim’s Kitchen Table
Masdar City – Abu Dhabi
Tel: 02 491 9401

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