Abu Dhabi: From specially groomed contestants to those that will be taken there just for the fun of it, pets in the UAE are all set for the third edition of the Abu Dhabi Pet Festival (ADPF) at the du Arena on Yas Island on April 13. Take Konfetka Zolotoi Zomok.
A Scottish Fold cat, she has been a winner at many cat shows, including the Abu Dhabi Pet Festival last year and the International World Cat Federation Show in 2016.
Owner Nataliya Ross Borovitskaya, who is going out of her way to prepare the cat for the big day this time round too, says it takes her around two months to groom the cat for a competition.
“We give her special food and additional vitamins to maintain her appearance. We make sure we use only certain shampoos and beauty products to keep her fur shining. It costs us around Dh2,000 for the preparations, but it is well worth the effort when she turns out to be a winner,” said Ross.
But not everyone is like her. Anthony Franchina, who visited last year’s ADPF when his miniature Yorkshire Terrier Suzi was still a pup, said, “I was so impressed with the arrangements that I decided to enroll Suzi into the dog show this year. I just want Suzi to have fun and mingle with other dogs of her own size.”
Touted as one of the biggest pet events in the UAE, ADPF is a free festival organised by PETME and Showline FZE with the aim of raising awareness about animal welfare, health and training.
Pet lover’s paradise
“It is a fully immersive pet lovers’ paradise and an educational and thrilling experience, especially for children who rarely get to interact with domestic pets,” said Gerardo Llanes, executive director of Miral Asset Management, which manages Yas Island.
Shree Nair of Showline said over 100 cats and dogs have registered for the competitions so far.
While dogs will have agility tests in the competition, cats will be judged only for their appearance and grooming.
The highlights of the festival include the Seventh International All Breeds Dog Show, competitions for cats and dogs, Woof Parade (Dogs & Owners Walk), petting zoo and a pet-and-owner fancy dress competition.
The show stealer will be the Dog Squad’s K9 Unit act, presented by the Abu Dhabi Police Security Inspection Department.
Nair said, “After the tremendous success of the Woof Parade in Dubai and Ras Al Khaiimah, we have brought it to Abu Dhabi this year. Dogs and owners can assemble on the spot for a quick parade in front of the audience.
They will be judged for titles like ‘Best lookalike’, ‘Diva dog’, ‘Worst attitude’, ‘Smartest dog’ and so on. The judges will be selected from the audience itself. It is a fun competition to involve the public and have a few laughs. The judges are free to make up their own titles for awards.”
Nair said safety will be priority at the festival.
“We will be assessing dogs and giving them ribbons of different colours according to their behaviour: red for ‘stay way’ aggressive dogs, yellow for friendly dogs and green for ‘stay away, but check with the owner’ kind of dogs.”
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Date: April 13
Venue: du Arena, Yas Island
Timings: 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm
The writer is an Abu Dhabi-based freelance journalist