Our quick feet upon the brick sidewalk did not disturb the man and his beast, who were not ten meters ahead. We crept up behind our prey at lightning speed, and before they knew it, we were upon them. We struck!
“Can we pet your dog?!?!? My wife and I really like dogs!”
Perched on our balcony, my wife and I had spotted countless dogs. Chihuahuas. Jack-Russell terriers. Even a poodle or two. All of them, walking around all smug. Heads in the air, like they owned Abu Dhabi. Well, they didn’t. And neither did their masters, who tagged along behind them as the dogs unloaded their bowels haphazardly.
Their casual strolls together burned a jealous desire in us, mainly because we had no pet of our own to walk. We looked out at the owners displeased faces, at having to pick up their dogs poo, but we knew. Secretly, they loved every minute of it. How did we know? Because we had a dog too.
When my wife and I came to Abu Dhabi we had to leave Max behind. I’m not sure if he truly understood the gravity of the situation as he watched us pack our bags in the car from the window. His curly white fur waved gently as he shook his tail back and forth. Max, a Maltese Lhasa Apso mix, probably believed we were soon to return. As the days and weeks passed, it was probably hard for him, and still harder for us.
While not impossible to bring your dog with you overseas, there is much paperwork to sort through to make it happen. Albeit worth it to have man’s best friend by your side, for some this just isn’t the best scenario. But hope is never lost.
Every summer we get to see our beautiful boy. Within a day or two, he is happy. Within a week, it’s like we never left. We even get to spend some time kicking it with Mylo, a smaller, more colourful version of Max.
Pets are good!
Dogs, and possibly lesser animals, like cats, bring much joy to our lives. Studies have shown the many benefits of pet ownership:
- Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
- People with dogs have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
- Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
- Heart attack patients with dogs survive longer than those without.
We’ve gained much from our relationship with Max, and Mylo, but sadly, they are there and we are here. We will be reunited again one day, but not yet, not yet. In the meantime, we will continue to pour over our summer pictures together… and secretly stalk other people’s dogs.
If you DO want your faithful friend to join you on your countless adventures, they may need a puppy passport. If you live in the UAE, find info on how at Pet Travel.
If that’s too complicated you can always do what we did. Give your dog to your parents and hope that when you inevitably return to them they have some memory of who you are, or more likely, how you smell. If they do remember, SUCCESS! You have a loyal pet with an abundance of forgiveness. If not, take heart, it might take a few carpet urinations and a nip in the bottom, but they’ll come round eventually.
Have a dog like your first girlfriend and they just don’t forget? Well, there’s always adoption. I hear imaginary dragons are fun too.