They say every dog has his day, but last Friday, it seemed that every dog in the UAE was joining the celebration. The annual Pedigree and Whiskas Dubai Pet Show, held at Nad Al Sheba, was attended by thousands of pet lovers from around UAE, including Dubai, Sharjah, ...

By Bindu Rai

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Published: Sun 22 Feb 2004, 2:56 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:36 AM

and as far away as Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.

Sixteen years on, and the novelty of the Dog Show has yet to wear off. Maybe this has something to do with the introduction of new competitions, new entertainment modules and lots and lots of new pets showing off their skills every year. This year - their largest gathering ever - maintained last year's theme of 'Bond for Life' and aimed at promoting healthy pet ownership.

'The best thing about this event is that not only does the entire family enjoy this day out together, but pet owners such as myself, learn a lot about the physical and emotional well-being of their pets,' said Angie Hall, owner of two toy poodles, Brandy and Chicky.

The day began as early as 8am, with hundreds of pet enthusiasts lining up to register their dogs for the various competitions to be held throughout the day. With the introduction of a second competition show ring, a lot more events could be squeezed in this time, including a Saluki Display, a K-9 dogs parade, a Flyball Competition, and the ever popular - Dog Most Like Its Owner (which had quite a few contenders this year!).

All the competitions were divided into two classes, with the pedigree classes and the crossbreed classes’ competitions taking up the bulk of the morning slots in both the show rings.

Said Marian Knowles, owner of Spitz-cross, Tiger, 'If you see most dog shows, judges usually turn their noses up to any breed that isn't a pedigree. Over here, everyone gets a chance to show off their dogs without having to worry about such restrictions.

'And the best aspect to the show is the K-9 dogs parade. Not only is this event a great way to help such organisations financially, but many of the dogs can also find a loving home with a good family.'

But the event was not all about fun and games. On a serious note, the police dogs display highlighted the hard work by the departments of the Dubai, Al Ain and Ras Al Khaimah K-9 units. These dogs are aptly trained in locating illegal substances, sniffing out explosives and in search-and-rescue operations. Their efforts were widely appreciated, if the people-packed arena was anything to go by.

This year, there were four judges (instead of the usual two), with Frank and Eleanor Bothwell, who have judged shows in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and South Africa. Accompanying them were Jerry Robertson and Elizabeth McKnight, with 30 years of experience in breeding and exporting winning stock.

While dog lovers were up to their ears with barks, licks and playful paws, the feline friends were not left out. The special Whiskas tent had its own charm, with a special Feline Friends display and several cat parades throughout the day.

Another attraction was the Trill Aviary , with an exotic bird display and a chance to see some of the trained falcons from the Dubai Falcon Breeder club. The highlight was the grand release of the 1,000 pigeons from the Dubai Racing Pigeon Club; this honour was given to the kids from Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs.

Said 7-year-old Mira Ali Khan, 'I don't have a dog, but after seeing so many well-behaved puppies here, my mom has finally agreed to let me have one. This has been a great day!'

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