We all enjoy a trip to the zoo, but at the end of the day, it's easier to leave the animals in their cages for someone else to clean and feed.

But would we feel differently if the animals were homeless?

Sharjah housewife Kirsten Kraeter, who had lived in a pet-free zone for more than two years, was persuaded otherwise when she took in a rescued puppy with nowhere to go.

And now, with four dogs, four cats, two puppies, four turtles, two kids and a husband, Kirsten is certainly kept on her toes with a mini zoo of her very own.

Needless to say, mealtimes are more than entertaining in the Kraeter household, along with bath time and the obligatory tears at bedtime.

Kirsten's friend Neeta Singh contacted Tabloid and requested that Kirsten and her family receive some recognition for their generous work with the animals.

Better life

Neeta said: "I just think they are amazing people. They have opened their home to animals from across the Emirates and I wanted them to know that I think they deserve a mention."

"Lots of people rescue animals here in the UAE but few would take so many in such a short space of time."

Kirsten and her family have lived in Sharjah for around 18 months and say they are shocked by the way people treat animals in the UAE.

"I don't consider what we are doing as anything special really. I can't believe other people don't do the same.

"With the dog and cat shelters bursting at the seams we had no other option. I guess you just try and help as much as you can and try to give these poor creatures a better life," said Kirsten.

"It started with just one puppy who had nowhere to go and we all fell in love with him."

Children's own zoo

Kraeter youngsters Phillip, aged 10 and Vivienne, aged 6, say they love being surrounded by the animals.

Phillip said: "I have a different favourite each day depending on what mood they are in. But I think my true favourite is Molly. She is a white puppy and very cute. Vivienne's favourite is always Chubby the dog and she loves to cuddle him."

Kirsten added: "We only have what we can handle. But one of the dogs we took in was pregnant so we ended up with five puppies. We managed to re-home three but were left with the rest."

Originally from Germany, Kirsten says the children love the fact they live in their very own zoo.

She added: "It's like a dream come true for them. They love spending time with the animals. It's good because they all keep each other company and it's always fun and games."

"Nothing has really changed in this house. We are one big happy family which just seems to keep getting better."