AL AIN // An Emirati woman who has launched a veterinary clinic at a villa in Al Ain is hoping to raise awareness of animal welfare among residents in the emirate.
Nadia Al Maskari, 36, an animal scientist and behaviourist, said there were not enough services in Al Ain for people with pets nor enough people helping deal with the stray population.
This is something she wanted to change and the reason she opened the Royal Veterinary Centre.
“We have set up a partnership with the local animal welfare agency, Al Ain Animal Welfare,” she said.
“We offer a number of free sterilisations every month because one of the most important things to managing the stray population is to have them sterilised.
“The smaller the number of strays, the fewer the cases of disease and injury”
Lesley Taylor, of Animal Welfare Al Ain, said there was certainly a need for such a clinic in the emirate.
“We struggle to find foster homes and forever homes in Al Ain compared to Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” she said.
“Since Ms Al Maskari was a volunteer, she is aware of the many animal welfare issues and the free sterilisations she is offering will help us a lot.”
The veterinary centre has been open for a month and has been welcomed by residents, Ms Al Maskari said.
“Many of our customers would either have to take their pets to clinics that they did not think were up to standard or go to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, especially if there was an emergency,” she said.
Her clinic, which has a staff of six, can board up to 15 dogs and 30 cats and other small animals.
“We are a multi-service facility,” said Ms Al Maskari, who grew up with pets and always wanted to open a clinic.
“We have the clinical side where we do vaccinations, deworming and health checks, and we have a fully fledged laboratory and pharmacy, so we’re able to treat and do surgeries.
“We also have behavioural services, so if a person has an issue with an aggressive dog or cat, they can come to us.
“The biggest factor is education and awareness, particularly among the children, on how to look after animals and treat them.”
Ms Al Maskari moved to Al Ain five years ago to work with Al Ain Zoo, where her husband is employed.
“Al Ain seemed like the right place to open because I don’t think there is anything like it here, whereas there are many clinics in Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” she said.
“If it means giving back to the community, we’re really happy to do it.”
Ms Al Maskari said the number of pet owners in the Arab world was increasing.
“Many are becoming more accepting of the ownership of animals, but there is still a lack of awareness in regards to responsibility,” she said.
“Cost and time should be taken into consideration.”
Owning a pet, she said, should not just be done “for the sake of having something cute and fluffy”.
She said being Emirati was a great help in being able to provide advice to Arab clients for whom the idea of pet ownership was still quite new.
“I know that being local and Arab, our Arab clients have a different rapport with us,” she said.
“They may be more conformable saying things to us and they can be more accepting of advice.”