Dog walking in Dubai

Adam Soppelsa laments the loss of pet-friendly beaches

The Knowledge

Recently, my family and I have experienced a huge change in the dynamic of our household, arriving in the form of a nine-week-old springer spaniel puppy called Remy. The young Remy is the latest in a long line (stretching back nearly 40 years) of springer spaniels to join the Soppelsa household; as with all puppies, he is a tiny bundle of energy that barks all night, runs at anything that moves and chews everything he can get his teeth into.

The main reason Remy now lives with us, destroying our furniture and keeping us awake, is because he is a replacement, filling the boots of our old springer spaniel, Ollie, who sadly passed away last year. Ollie had lived his life well and, while his passing was sad, he has left our whole family with more than our fair share of happy memories. For me, the fondest recollections are early Friday mornings when the whole family used to bundle Remy into the car and take him, and later our second dog, Nina, down to the golden beaches at Jebel Ali for his weekly dose of serious exercise.

Sadly, these are experiences that I’m never likely to share with young Remy: the sudden, dramatic shift in the landscape of Dubai means there is simply nowhere left to take him.

It’s true that the emirate is well known for its fantastic white sandy beaches, which we all make good use of during the winter months. Yet I can’t help but notice that not one of these beaches allows people to bring their pets along. One now has to drive down to the Dubai/Abu Dhabi border to locate a beach that allows you to give your dog a good runaround, which for most of us is simply too far.

It is not just the beaches that don’t allow dogs; the parks don’t like them either. I find it truly depressing walking around Safa Park knowing that the animals who would enjoy the space the most will never have the chance to use it. It appears that despite the huge number of families with pets in the UAE, it hasn’t crossed anyone’s mind that beaches and parks can be shared by both people and their pets. Ironically, there are plenty of places to take cats and dogs to be pampered, and we even have the hugely popular annual Dubai Pet Show, yet walking them along a stretch of beach is all but impossible.

Remy is fortunate that he lives in a house with a big garden and a good area nearby where he can walk. Yet it seems a shame to deny him the enjoyment he could get elsewhere, purely because people can’t share
their beaches and parks with their four-legged friends.

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