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Where will you keep your pets this summer?

06/30/2009 06:39 PM | By Aftab Kazmi, Bureau Chief

Al Ain: People planning summer holidays are facing difficulties in finding the right caretakers to look after their pets.

The shortage of adequate animal accommodations have forced many expatriates to rely on friends and family who are either not going away or have delayed their holiday arrangements. There is a serious shortage of facilities in Al Ain that can provide pet care or safekeeping.

"I have to leave my two canary birds at a friend's house and feel guilty about leaving them with a person who has no emotional attachment to the birds," Nusrat Jehan, an expatriate housewife, said.

She said her friends may take good care of the birds, but she will still feel uneasy while away. People who do not have pets do not know how to take proper care of them, she says. "They treat them like mere objects and not like living creatures," she explained.

Susan Robert, another expatriate, said many people who cannot take their pets away with them unhappily leave them with friends who aren't necessarily fond of animals. While the city has many veterinary clinics, they do not have facilities for house birds and animals.

"One such facility does exist in the city, but it has limited capacity and it is already full," Robert said. Providing adequate pet accommodations could be a successful business. People already running veterinary clinics should think of adding ... to their facilities," Robert, who is going on vacation next week, said.

Robert said she could not find a trained person to take care of her two cats over the next four weeks. "I cannot take my cats along with me, so I requested one of my friends, who will go on annual leave later in December, to look after them," she said gloomily.

Salim Khan, a veterinarian and expert in breeding exotic birds, said pets have feelings just like human beings. They are also prone to illness if kept in small and dirty cages and are not properly taken care of.

Khan said he has a small facility for birds which is completely full, but still lots of people are requesting to use it.

"I can only take in a limited number as pets require full attention to provide accommodation, food and treatment for different illnesses," he said.

Khan said pet owners must leave their birds and animals in professional care before going on holiday. "Those who can take the pets along with them should do so instead of leaving them behind," he said.

Travel arrangements, Khan said, can be made for pets, but certain formalities have to be followed when travelling abroad. It is not difficult to obtain a health certificate for a pet from any government owned vet.

The certificate ensures that the animal is free of disease and has been properly vaccinated. A similar certificate is also needed from a competent authority in the expatriate's home country in order to bring the pet back to the UAE, said the expert.

He said that pets cannot travel with the passengers of an aircraft.

"All airlines have a special animal holds for pets in their planes and pets travel without any harm in there."

"I can only take in a limited number as the pets need full attention to provide accommodation, food and treatment for different illnesses," said Salim Khan, a veterinarian and expert in the breeding of exotic birds.

Have you experienced any trouble when travelling because of this? Where do you keep your pet when going on vacation?

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