Luckily for this old Labrador, who was left by his previous family, he has been given a new and loving home thanks to the kind people at Friends of Animals. Image Credit: By Montserrat Martin/Gulf News Reader

Dubai: A few days ago, I received a photograph of an old Labrador that was surrendered to the authorities because the owners were moving from a villa to a small apartment.

I sent more than 2,000 e-mails and used all possible advertising platforms to find the Labrador a home. To my surprise, dozens of people contacted us and offered him permanent homes and foster homes, or were willing to pay the full cost to send him abroad. It was simply a rewarding effort.

We took the animal to a clinic to have his health checked. He appeared to suffer from the usual afflictions that an old dog undergoes, and for the next 48 hours, he was under observation.

His general health appeared to be stable, but his appearance was a mess. He had massive gum inflammation with decay, his front paw nail was so long that it grew inside his flesh, he had an ear infection and his right eye was discharging pus.

Within 24 hours of circulating his story, we received more than 40 callers and at least eight suitable families. We made arrangements to meet with two of them and while we were having the Labrador checked in the clinic, the new families arrived.

There I was, standing with the old dog and two fantastic guardians offering him a permanent home. It was a very difficult choice, but the Labrador found a loving home with another young dog and very caring people.

Common practice

As much as we might despise the act of surrendering a pet to the authorities, it is a common practice worldwide and is perhaps done more often in the UAE due to the number of people living here for a short period.

Right now, all the animal welfare groups in the country are flooded with unwanted and abandoned animals. If you are here for the summer and would like to help, please foster an animal, pass on the experience and lesson to your children and neighbours.

Help reduce the demand of imported animals — even pedigrees end up in the incinerator before their time. No one has control on life's capricious ways but it is up to us to change the lens and see the beauty of each situation.

If you wish to help and make a difference in an animal's life, please contact us at info@friendsofanimalsdxb.com. We will provide full details of where to go and what to do if you wish to help. You can also visit www.friendsofanimalsdxb.com.

— The reader is the founder of Friends of Animals, Dubai

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