The 18-year-old French student at the Gulf Medical University in Ajman is rehearsing for the Miss AVA Dubai 2009 (Ambassador with a Voice for Animals), a dance-dinner-beauty pageant for ladies in the 17-35 age group willing to educate people on how to care and respect all animals.
The event will be held on October 23 in the Al Ameera Ballroom of Grand Hyatt. “I volunteered to help. I have two dogs, eight cats, a rabbit and a turtle,” said Marie. “I found all my animals on the street, so if we can educate people to care for these simple beings it will be a whole lot better.”
The inspiration behind the event was Ringo, a blind puppy that was abandoned in a cage and found by K9, a non-profit dog rescue organisation, said Sarita Barnett, co-founder and organiser of the event.
“What we want to accomplish is to set up an organisation like PETA in the UAE,” said Barnett.
“We have spoken to a lot of people and they make you feel like there’s a chance.”
Speaking on the animal’s situation Janice Shaw, co-founder and organiser of the Miss AVA Dubai 2009, said, “K9 is completely full of abundant dogs. His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, even gave a new building to accommodate more dogs last month. Feline Friends (another non-profit rescue organisation for cats) don’t have a place to accommodate cats. They only try to find them foster homes.”
“It was difficult to get people to support you at first, but once Grand Hyatt agreed to give us the ballroom everything started to fall into place,” said Barnett. Sarita Barnett and Janice Shaw are sisters who had organised another event Dancethon, which helped raise Dh50,000 for K9.
Hopefully, this year’s event will raise as much funds and create an animal ambassador who will travel the world and educate people on how to respect and care for animals worldwide, said Barnett.
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