Guest Post: Adopting a dog in Qatar

Adopting a dog

For many expats, the move to Qatar offers the perfect opportunity to get that family dog that you’ve always dreamed of. Often, 1 spouse will not be working, allowing the necessary time and energy to be dedicated to dog ownership.

There are hundreds of homeless dogs in Qatar. Careless breeding, a lack of understanding about animal welfare and a sizeable stray population means that there are too many unwanted dogs and if you have a soft spot for pooches, it’s going to be hard to resist adopting one eventually!

Where NOT to get a dog

There are people breeding dogs in Qatar. None of them are good breeders. Some are accidental breeders, others are just greedy. All of them are irresponsible. Health and genetic controls are unheard of, and for every puppy brought into this overcrowded country, a home is being denied for the hundreds of other homeless dogs languishing on the streets and in rescue centres. Consider a rescue dog instead, many of which have puppies, if that is what you you’re after.

Souq Waqif

Dogs can also be found for sale in the animal section of Souk Waqif, the main souk in Doha. Riddled with nasty diseases such as parvovirus, and kept in appalling conditions, no matter how much sympathy you have for these animals, do not buy one under any circumstances. Buying one is supporting a nasty industry, based upon back-yard breeding, extreme cruelty and even theft.

Where TO get a dog

There are 3 main rescue centres in Qatar, all of which are full-to-bursting with lovely dogs just desperate to find a forever home.

1. Dogs in Doha
Dogs in Doha is a small network of individuals who rescue and foster abandoned dogs. A good place to look if you want a dog, as theirs have been fully socialised within a home environment, so will not have been subjected to the stresses of kennels and will usually have had some training. Check out they’re Facebook page.

2. QAWS
QAWS is the largest animal rescue charity in Qatar. Run by a small committee of expat women, and with premises on a farm on the outskirts of Doha, this is a charity which is trying to do its best for animals despite somewhat limited resources. Connect with them on Facebook.

3. 2nd Chance Rescue
2nd Chance Rescue for dogs has its own small premises on a farm outside Doha and is run by a fantastically passionate Qatari man. He also owns a veterinary surgery called Parkview Pet Centre and some of the rescues are housed in kennels there. If you wish to get in touch with 2nd Chance Rescue, the best way to do it is via their Facebook page, or through Parkview Pet Centre.

Considerations before getting a dog

Your lifestyle may be perfect for a dog in Qatar, but it’s really important to keep an eye on the longer term. A dog is a commitment for the next 15-20 years. Personally, I can’t ever see myself going back to work full-time now that we have a dog, which has been a huge adjustment to have to make psychologically. My dog would never cope with being left on her own all day, and there’s not much chance of finding doggy-day-care here in Qatar. It is mind-boggling to think that our dog will still be in our lives when we are 50!

Rescue dogs will always require a great deal of hard work at first, and puppies even more so. I will freely admit to ending up a crumpled, sobbing heap on the kitchen floor during the first few weeks of puppy-training, and there are no qualified dog trainers in Qatar to help. You will need to put a lot of time into reading about training techniques and teaching yourself dog behaviour.

On the other hand, dog ownership is hugely rewarding, and you will get to see parts of Qatar that your non-dog walking friends may miss. It is also a great way to make new friends. Come down to Wakra beach early on Friday morning and join the huge posse of 20+ dogs all frolicking with their owners in the sea and you will see what I am talking about!

Bio: Amy is a British expat who moved to Qatar in early 2011. She blogs about the challenges of owning a dog in a challenging country at Dog Blog Qatar. You can contact her via her blog or on Twitter.

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