Dubai: Five abandoned dogs will be flown to their new homes in Canada and The Netherlands on Wednesday thanks to the hard work of animal volunteers, including four children, from the Ras Al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre (RAK AWC).
Four 12-year-old pupils of RAK Academy initiated a talent show to raise Dh1,500 to add to the funds needed for the air tickets of the group, costing around Dh10,000. The preparation took more than two months. Several others contributed to raise the remaining Dh8,500.
“Of course we knew there would be bumps on the road. But the idea of raising money for these dogs kept us going. There was that feeling that they were counting on you and you would not want to let them down,” Megan Barker, 11, one of the students who organised the talent show, told Gulf News.
This is the second batch of Salukis that are being rehomed through the help of students and animal volunteers from the centre and the academy. They sent three Salukis to the Arabian Saluki Centre in Canada in December.
Because of the Salukis’ sheer number in the region, they are often the least appealing of all dog species to animal lovers here.
“A Saluki here is just a plain dog. But they have culture and heritage with them, and I think people don’t see this in Salukis. Here they are just ordinary dogs. But elsewhere, especially in the Canada and in Europe, they are considered special,” Ellen Quanjer, RAK AWC manager, told Gulf News.
The Saluki earned the title ‘Royal Dog of Egypt’ because back in ancient times, it could be owned only by the ruling classes of Egypt. Salukis were then revered for their beauty, speed, and hunting skills. They are one of the oldest domesticated dogs that travelled with nomadic desert tribes throughout the Middle East and the Silk Route.
“There are many animals that are looking for a new home here in the centre. There is not much interest in rehoming Salukis here. So if we send them to places that find them special, we can have more room for the other animals that need rehoming as well,” Quanjer said.
Quanjer said all the five dogs were in bad shape when they were taken off the streets of Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai months ago. They were starved, skinny, had blood parasites, and some had scars as well.