UAE: Stray dogs get luxury meals from 5-star hotels

Atlantis, JW Marriot Marquis are among those who donate


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 24 Jul 2022, 5:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 25 Jul 2022, 1:55 PM

Over 800 dogs at the Stray Dogs Centre in Umm Al Quwain get the five-star meals, thanks to an initiative that sees the likes of Atlantis, the Palm donate food to feed them.

“Not only does the food provide our dogs with a weekly, delicious meal but It also saves us approximately Dh3000 monthly in food costs,” said Amirah William, the founder manager of Stray Dogs Centre, Umm Al Quwain (SDC-UAQ). “We began the ‘Reduce waste, Fill a doggies plate' campaign in 2019. Currently our two biggest contributors are Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites and Atlantis, the Palm.”

Earlier this month, the shelter had posted about its gratitude in a post on their social media channels:

"Atlantis, The Palm not only feed 862 doggies with 5 ⭐ quality food but, they also entertain us as well when we pick the food up 😍😍😍. Blessed to have your pawsome support ❤️❤️❤️", the post reads.

In the images posted, Atlantis employees Chuah Wai Teong, Dyaz Alief Pratama, Tej Bahadur, show off a dance step after loading up the special van with the week’s food supplies.

“They were clowning around and did a few dance steps,” chuckled Amirah William. “It provided a bit of entertainment in the otherwise dreary day of the boys who went to collect the food.”

The Project

“We started the food donations in September 2021, following the launch of the Atlantis Atlas Project,” said Kelly Timmins, Director of Conservation, CSR and Education at Atlantis, the Palm. “We work closely with the dog shelter to organize the transportation in a van once every week to pick up food from Atlantis. The food is collected and stored in a separate freezer and then handed over to the collection team.”

As of July 2022, Atlantis has donated over 1300 kgs of food to the shelter. “They send meat, beef bacon, sausages, boneless chicken and so on,” said Amirah. “It is a real feast for the dogs. We have given them a list of the kind of food that the dogs can eat, and they send according to that.”

Moreover, the iconic resort hotel also supplies large quantities of discarded linen on a monthly basis, providing the shelter with much needed high use items.

“Linen donation started in February 2022,” said Kelly Timmins. “This includes bed linen (duvets, bedsheets, pillow covers, mattress protectors), bath linen (bath towels, bathrobes, bathmats) and pool towels. All the linen is washed and well pressed before it is packaged and given to the stray dog centre. Currently, we have donated over 23,000 pieces of linen to the UAQ Stray Dogs Centre.”

“The linen helps us a lot,” said Amirah William. “We use them for mums with puppies and we line the crates for bathing. As you can imagine, bathing 852 dogs takes a long time. We don’t have the manpower or means to bathe them often. So, the discarded linen really helps us a lot and saves us time and money.”

The Atlantis Atlas Project was launched by the resort in June 2021 to consolidate existing industry-leading work on environmental and social responsibility as well as cement its long-term vision to pioneer educational tourism which cares for people and the planet. As part of the project, Atlantis also supporting the local community and donates $1 from every marine animal experience to projects which make measured impacts on conservation, education, and society.

The Centre

Apart from food, SDC-UAQ has several other expenses. “Our major challenge by far is operating the shelter,” said Amirah William. “Our monthly operational costs are approximately Dh90,000. The centre is powered by generators sponsored by Byrne Equipment Rental. Diesel costs are Dh750 daily. Our shelter is semi powered, and only single breed, fluffy dogs, moms and puppies have the luxury of AC.”

“The majority of our dogs are housed in non AC units with built in plunge pools and are hosed down constantly throughout the day. We have been campaigning to raise funds for a solar solution being located in the middle of the desert or to connect to the grid. Both options are very expensive.”

“Food is always an ongoing concern. The contributions by the hotels save us the cost of feeding the dogs that one day. Other than that, we spend approximately Dh24,000 every month to feed the dogs we house and care for. Our vet bills every two months range from Dh140,000 to Dh170,000.”

The shelter that opened doors in 2014 is the largest, MOCCAE and local government licensed, private, non-profit dog shelter in UAE, housing and caring for 852 dogs rescued from the streets or surrendered. Since opening SDC-UAQ has rescued and re-homed over 7000 dogs and relies solely on public support, fundraising and fee-paying activities to operate.


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