Dubai: A new service for “senior dogs” seeks to raise awareness about caring for older, homeless dogs in Dubai and finding new homes and “forever fosters” for them.
The non-profit Dubai Senior Dog Project (DSDP) was launched in October 2012 by dog lover Hayley Strifler who has since rehomed 10 senior dogs, some of which are over 15 years.
An Australian specialised in nursing for aged people back home, Strifler is now chanelling her expertise toward senior dogs in Dubai. “With a high transient expatriate population in Dubai, it is the senior dogs that need fostering and rehoming the most. Every year, hundreds of dogs, both young and old, are abandoned. People who abandon them are often expats who adopt a pup when they come here but do not take it along when they leave,” said Strifler.
The reasons why this happens are many. According to Strifler: “Sometimes the reason is financial, other times the dog may be subject to long quarantine periods. Sometimes, people are plain irresponsible. Whatever the reason, it is a huge problem. So we encourage people to adopt older dogs instead of pups.”
Strifler said the project entails a Forever Foster Programme in which a volunteer fosters a senior dog while DSDP covers the medical expenses and holiday relief on the agreement that the dog is supported for the rest of its life.
She said the Petzone Veterinary Clinic in Dubai has partnered with DSDP to provide heavily discounted services for the senior dogs. “We are glad to work together in this community service,” said Sabrina Walle of Petzone.
Strifler said together they will be holding a seminar on senior dog care at the Petzone clinic on February 23 to bring people with senior dogs together and raise awareness about their care. “The seminar is free and we hope it will give us an idea of the number of senior dogs in Dubai, their concerns and level of health.”
On Tuesday morning, Strifler had brought Lucky, a 10-year-old Yorkshire Terrier to Petzone for dental surgery. “Lucky was going to be abandoned but we got him just in time,” she said, adding that Lucky was still in her care.
Senior dogs that have been rehomed include Casper and Cory. “Casper is 17 and came to us in a severely neglected condition. His owners were going to euthanise him when an animal lover called us. She is now with a volunteer in Ras Al Khaimah.”
Similarly, Cory, 15, was spotted on an online forum. “The owners were returning to South Africa and we were concerned as the dog was too old to travel. We found a lady to take Cory in under our Forever Foster Programme,” said Strifler.