Taco is a ‘Desert Dog’ aka mongrel, who was dumped in a box at a dog shelter, rescued by volunteers, and we adopted.
Today is Taco’s ‘gotcha day’.
Let me explain:
I only discovered this terminology and all the surrounding, um, madness that goes along with it, after we had adopted Taco. It turns out that pet people (and I am including cat people, dog people, bird people etc in one collective group, because it applies), go slightly potty for their animals and their anniversaries.
I understand people often treat animals as children, as they inveigle their way in, and become part of the family. Especially with their cute eyes, waggy tails, soft, fluffy fur, snuggles, and unconditional love.
There is a massive market for all things pet-related, and rightly so. But the one thing I can’t quite get over is the fuss made on a gotcha day, which is the day rescue dogs and cats are ‘got’ and brought into their ‘forever homes’. In lieu of a birthday, which is very rarely known.
I’ve seen posts of dogs dressed up in party outfits, with balloons tied to them, eating massive ‘gotcha’ cakes (made with doggy friendly food). Gushing posts that say how much ‘Fido/Coco/Harvey/Bella’ has changed their lives and how they couldn’t live without them, etc., etc.
Taco has definitely changed our lives, but he aint getting a ‘gotcha day/cake/party outfit.’
Don’t be feeling sorry for him though, he has a charmed life for sure, and I am glad we had the ability to provide him a home. But adopting a pet here is not for the faint-hearted. The responsibility and commitment seems so much more than in the UK or NZ, for example.
First, there are the very high costs of pet care, with no pet insurance.
Then there are the restrictions on dogs and where they can hang out. In Dubai, it’s very few places off-leash, no beaches (officially), and in the summer the ground is too hot to walk on, so you better be prepared to invest in some doggie daycare for socialization and to run off that energy.
Then you need to think about saving to have them relocated with you when you leave. As an expat, this country is not a ‘forever home’ and if you take a pet into your family, please do it with the view this animal is with you for the rest of your life.
There are way too many animals who are dumped every year because people didn’t factor in the cost of transporting an animal to another country, what that would involve time-wise, and sometimes even that they just couldn’t be bothered.
It breaks my cold, icy heart when I see posts of animals left to, let’s face it, die, when owners leave them behind.
Probably why we have 2 rescue cats as well as Taco (who cost us a small fortune when we had to relocate them from another Gulf country to the UAE via NZ).
And don’t tell my husband, but I’d like to get another dog…
Fortunately, there is a glimmer of humanity, as there are many volunteers who scoop up unwanted, or unloved animals, foster them, provide care for them, find homes for them here, or abroad (and find flights for them to get them there), and help owners relocate them as well.
But there is never enough. Especially at this time of the year when people leave for the summer, never to return, and the dumping of animals is at its peak.
So if you are not busy, or want to give back and not sure what to do with your time, please consider:
- Fostering an animal (most expenses are paid for you, you just have to give the animal love, and
a homeuntil they find someone to adopt – or a ‘forever home’ as they say). It means the animal has a nicer life than being in a cage in a shelter.
- Walking dogs in a shelter.
- Offering car rides to take animals from a foster home (without a car) to the vet or to an adoption day, or vice versa.
- Offering to be a flight buddy for animals who are being relocated around the world. It costs you nothing, the organization does all the paperwork, you just have to meet them at the departure airport, and then meet the new owner at the arrival airport. So simple and so easy.
And if you’re bring a pet out, or returning with one, there are some great organisations who will help you with everything, you just have to stump up the cash.
If you want any more info about any of these things, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put you in touch with the right person or organisation.
As for Taco, well I did buy some doggy ice-cream for him today…
But it is a very hot day, so I rest my case your honour.
Love, Kat xxx