Covid-19 impact: Dubai’s oldest dog shelter, K9 Friends, may close – News

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The non-profit organization issues an urgent message for immediate help



Myrtle with Helena. Photo: Nandini

Published: Wed, Jun 29, 2022, 3:46 PM

Dubai’s oldest animal placement center is about to close. And Covid is to blame in large part for that.

The non-profit shelter enjoys a significant increase in income from the events it organizes in the winter, but the last two winters, due to Covid-19, they have not been able to organize these events, which hit them hard.

Forced by dire circumstances, the K9 team recently posted an urgent notice on social media: “If K9 friends do not receive immediate help, they will be forced to close the doors in the next few months.”

The message further read: “Unfortunately the past few years have been difficult for everyone, and it is with a heavy heart that K9 Friends is now in financial difficulty. Without official help, we can no longer bear the financial burden of Dewa, maintenance, insurance, staff costs and veterinary bills associated with running a foster shelter.”

The message struck a chord with residents and organizations trying to save the many furry friends at the purpose-built facility from becoming homeless.

Take the case of Myrtle, an eight-week-old puppy rescued by K9 Friends Dubai after being abandoned and rescued from an industrial estate in the United Arab Emirates.

She now faces the prospect of being homeless again if K9 is to close its shutters.

When Khaleej Times visited the Jebel Ali shelter, we were informed that, like Myrtle, 120 dogs of all ages, colors, shapes, sizes and with varying personalities and temperaments are housed at K9 before finding their “home for still”.

Although the facility was donated by the government in 2009, the daily operation of the shelter must be supported by raising funds through adoption fees, sponsorship programs and the sale of K9 Friends products.

This non-profit organization continues to rescue stray and abandoned dogs, but constantly struggles to relocate them.

Solange Bornand, Managing Director of K9 Friends Dubai, said: “The reason for this post is because of the situation, which is not good at all. We are struggling to survive this summer. So it is a statement to raise awareness at K9 Friends. We’ve been very quiet. We’ve been doing our job for 30 years, helping and rescuing dogs. We do our best to match dogs with suitable families. We’ve been doing it all for all these years.

“Unfortunately, we have reached a point where without the financial support, we cannot stay open, and we cannot continue our mission. We are asking for help, any help, whether it is Attracting new sponsors, whether corporate or other sponsors We are also looking to attract new volunteers, new adopters or new festivals who could help us.

“We also want to continue our educational mission and welcome more schools and more children to the shelter, as we have done in the past. But during the Covid, all school visits had to be suspended”, adds- she.

Another unsung hero (volunteer), Helen Bragger, also kennel manager at K9 Friends, explains why this volunteer-run centre, established in 1989, is now struggling to keep the place operational.

She says: “Covid has been difficult for all of us, and it’s hit us hard. Winter is a time when we can hold events and engage the public, but over the past two winters we haven’t been able to do these events.

“Winter events keep us going all summer, and due to the lack of events over the past two winters this summer, we simply don’t have the resources to continue.”

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The passionate volunteer from the UK explains how each dog is documented and how they prioritize high standards of kenneling and veterinary care.

“We have 50 volunteers who do various jobs in the 55 kennels. When a new dog arrives, it involves a lot of paperwork. the dog is placed in isolation or quarantine for a period of time. Again this is to protect the rest of the kennel. The dogs are then fully vaccinated so that we can release them back to the main kennel sooner. check them thoroughly; we castrate them. Once they get the all clear, they’re fit and healthy, they mingle with the other dogs in the main kennel.”

According to the K9 Friends website, it costs around Dh5,000 to care for each dog for an average of one year.

Helen adds: “We have sponsored walks here at the kennel. We also have an annual ball; we have corporate events. It helps bring awareness to who we are. We’ve almost missed two years of people walking through the doors to then bring awareness to what we do.

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