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Relocating to another country with your pet should be considered from day one, says Nabeel Haroon Image Credit: Supplied

For Dubai resident Nabeel Mohamed Sali Haroon, what started as an animal rescue effort has now grown into a one-stop shop for pet supply and welfare. Haroon’s Wonder Pets LLC started operations in Jumeirah Village Circle in 2014. It is not just a pet supply store that sells pet food, treats and accessories, but also educates residents on adopting and fostering pets. The company also assists in pet relocation all over the world. The store is frequented by pet lovers in the area as well as from the neighbouring communities.

“The initial idea was to rehome the pets we rescued from the streets of Dubai. We found dogs, cats, birds and rabbits – abandoned, abused and homeless – and we tried to get them back on their feet and find a family for them,” says Haroon.

A to Z of relocation

Wonder Pets provides tailor-made door-to-door solutions for families relocating with pets from the UAE or coming into the country. With many families now leaving Dubai, Haroon urges pet owners to be more responsible about their pets. The company takes care of worldwide pet relocation, especially to countries such as India, the US, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia. The cost of relocation is usually high, says Haroon, and it’s prudent to keep some cash aside for such costs, he advises. Pet relocation costs include documentation fee, airline fee and could vary depending on the size of the pet.

As relocation specialists, Wonder Pets partners with pet handlers around the world to ensure that families are guaranteed a stress-free travel experience, to and from the UAE, with their pets. “We are conscious of the needs of different types of pets and find a relocation solution for every family. Our focus is the wellbeing of your pet, while making sure that the whole process is cost effective as well.”

Wonder Pet’s relocation services include the following:

1. Pet pick-up from home to get all documentation completed.

2. Visit to the vet to bring vaccinations up to date.

3. Check in at the airport.

4. Arranging for a handler at the destination country to receive the pet if required.

“Make sure your pet is up to date with all vaccinations before you leave Dubai,” says Haroon. “Many countries have a long waiting period post vaccination and your pet can only enter the country after the stipulated time. For example, in India the waiting period is almost a month, whereas in Australia it could be 180 days,” says Haroon.

He also advises pet owners to be extra cautious of flat-faced pets, such as pugs, Persian cats and English bulldogs as they are sensitive to high temperatures and cannot travel during summer.

During relocation a family can choose to take their pet in two ways – as excess baggage or as cargo. “When you check in your pet as excess baggage, you can do that from the same counter and at the same time as you check in,” says Haroon.

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Pet parents come to Wonder Pets looking for basic necessities like bowls and beds, treats and training accessories Image Credit: Supplied

Pet supply

In addition to pet relocation services, pet parents come to Wonder Pets looking for basic necessities like bowls and beds, treats and training accessories, carry bags, automatic feeders, leashes and cool collars, as well as food for pets on special dietary plans.

“Most people in Dubai don’t know the responsibilities of having a pet. It’s very important to understand that a pet is for life and you don’t just buy it because you want to play with it,” explains Haroon.

Here are the things he wants pet owners to keep in mind

1. Find out if your building is a pet-friendly one. Check your contract.

2. Make sure you have lots of patience as puppies and kittens need training.

3. Be ready to shower lots of attention on your pets.

4. Teething is a tough phase. Be ready to go through it with your pet.

5. Get your pet microchipped and vaccinated. Make sure you note down the 15-digit number that the vet will give you. It’s the only way to identify your pet.

6. Register your pet with the Dubai Municipality.

7. Go for a pet only if you are sure to be able to relocate with it. Relocation is expensive, so make sure you start saving for that from the day your pet comes home.

Haroon encourages families in Dubai to foster a pet before getting one. “We have the problem of abandoned pets in Dubai and it’s always better to foster animals for a week or even for a month so that you understand your engagement and responsibilities,” says Haroon.

Fostering also helps a family understand what kind of pet they will be most comfortable with. For example, is it puppies or bigger dogs that you want? “There are many animal rescues groups in Dubai and some of these play a vital role in animal rehabilitation. So before you decide to get a pet, try fostering one. And ideally adopt a pet,” advises Haroon.