Pet Thieves Exist, Emma Brain says Adopt!
We’ve all been exposed to the whole phrase “Adopt, Don’t Shop” multiple times, by either friends or family. We know that ultimately, it’s all about giving a furry pal a second chance, one who deserves to be loved and one who can love back. But actually, there’s more to that common one-liner that we need to be aware of, so many backstories that we could not even imagine.
I was able to catch up with Emma Brain, an avid animal lover and advocate of animal rights. Some of you will definitely have heard Emma before as she is a UAE Radio personality. She’s also known for moderating sessions and interviews at the Middle East Film and Comic-Con for the past few years. We were able to discuss some crucial topics that surround adoption. I feel like there is a lot our community of pet-lovers can learn from Emma’s personal experiences.
Emma has four adopted pets, two dogs and two cats, who surprisingly all get along as any best friends would. Toby was the first adopted pet from Animal Action. Emma says he’s a special case because both his back-leg knees don’t have the hock joint and he has muscle atrophy. This means that it’s impossible for Toby to move his back legs, but he gets around just fine, don’t you worry. Emma says: “It’s hard enough to find homes for mix-breed desert dogs, let alone one that is disabled”.
Toby was taken to a lot of check-ups because Emma was extremely disappointed with the first vet that she went to. The vet wanted to put Toby down on the spot. Toby is nine years old now and Emma says: “He’s still causing mischief, still doesn’t know he’s disabled and runs around on his own like a complete lunatic! The cats love him, and other dog loves him too”. What we can all take away from this is that it’s always best to get multiple opinions rather than going ahead with one decision.
A lot of animals are over-looked here and most people look to adopt either Huskies, German Shepherds, Beagles or Collies. The issue with seeking to adopt those dogs is if the individual cannot adapt to the dog’s needs. Emma explains: “These are working dogs. They’re used to working 8 hours a day with lots of activity. They need tremendous physical and mental stimulation. A bored dog is a completely destructive dog, that’s when they chew sofas and chew cupboards!”. These types of dogs are compatible with people who like to keep themselves active consistently.
Mixed breeds, desert dogs or ‘imperfect’ animals are usually the ones that are left behind. Emma expresses that it really saddens her to see this happen especially since cats such as Maus are very common here but are treated like ‘trash cats’. In comparison, Maus in Europe would be viewed as exotic and they could even be sold for as high as 1000 euros.
Emma further explains that: “Animals don’t know they have something wrong with them, and whether they’re born with it or end up with a disability, they’re far more adaptive than humans are”. This is true in so many cases, and Toby is living proof that a disability does not take away from being a loving, caring, hyper, active and fun dog.
Many shelter homes are extremely overcrowded in UAE. This means that they cannot afford to take more animals in, despite there being many on the streets. With all these animals in search of a forever home, pet shops are still selling animals! A common misconception is also that just because animals are a pure breed they’d never be abandoned. Emma points out that this does happen when people get tired of the pet or just don’t want it anymore. People also use excuses such as, “We’re having a baby, let’s throw the cats and dogs out”. However, according to an article and study reported by Psychology Today, children who grow up around pets have better communication skills and are less stressed because they have a companion.
A final shocking occurrence in the UAE is that pet thieves exist. Online pet community groups are aware of this and always warn people to take care. Emma says: “People follow dog-walkers in communities, take pictures and make note of where they live!”. I’m sure this is shocking for many of us who did not realise that dogs are hunted and can be stolen from gardens that are left unlocked. Additionally, Emma says these pets are stolen for either breeding or reselling.
We all need to take better care of who watches our pets and remember to always lock our doors. It is also important to maintain an open mind, and not look for a ‘perfect’ pet. Perfection is a constant illusion that humans have created and imposed on everything that surrounds them. But we all know that it does not exist and it’s not natural. So, why put animals down for so-called ‘imperfections’ when we ourselves are not perfect?