What’s On teams up with good magazine for a guide on how to adopt a pet in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including adopt-me.ae, 38smiles, Feline Friends and more.

Dubai Pet Festival
Guide to pet daycare
– Where to walk dogs
– Guide to owning pets
– Dog-walking ban

Ahead of the Dubai Pet Festival, What’s On teams up with our pals at good magazine to bring you a guide to adopting pets in the UAE, including where to go, how to go about it, and, more importantly, the success stories from across the UAE…

This fantastic database collates animals in need of adoption from shelters and charities across the UAE. You can then search by your criteria, view images and contact the right people to find out more and take the process further. They also promote regular adoption days and share expert insights on pet ownership.


What: Founder Kay Ivanova began rescuing stray animals from her villa (number 38) in 2011. 38smiles has a policy that they will not rehome surrendered pets, and mainly rehome stray cats and some dogs.
The adoption process: 38smiles rely on foster homes for the cats and host frequent adoption days at Petzone Veterinary Clinic where you can adopt on the day. A contract is signed to protect the animal’s rights, guaranteeing they will be returned to 38smiles if the animal is no longer wanted.
Fees: All adopters are expected to cover the cost of vaccination, microchip, de-worming, spay or neuter and registration with Dubai Municipality, at a reduced rate of Dhs650.


What: In 1991 Lesley King started Feline Friends, a non-profit organisation that rescues cats suitable for rehoming through a network of volunteer foster parents. They also have a sterilisation program to prevent the number of unwanted kittens on the streets of Dubai. Cats are trapped, neutered and released, and it is funded on donations.
The adoption process: Monthly adoption days are a chance to pick up a furry friend, but cats can also be viewed in foster homes. A form can be filled in online and this will be followed by a call from an adoption coordinator who will discuss which cat is best suited to you.
Fees: To cover vet bills and the trap, neuter and release programme, Feline Friends ask for a non-refundable donation. This is typically Dhs500.


What: There are hundreds of dogs abandoned in Dubai every year. The Senior Dog Project is on a mission to rehome dogs over the age of 7. This age group tend to get neglected when it comes to being adopted and The Senior Dog Project want to promote the fact you can teach an old dog new tricks and give them another chance at happiness.
The adoption process: The first step is a meet and greet with founder, Hayley Strifler, to work out what type of dog is suited to your lifestyle. This is followed by a two-week trial adoption and the official paperwork.
Fees: The adoptee is asked to cover any medical costs that have been incurred at a capped rate of Dhs500 per dog. If a dog is adopted with a chronic health condition they will be entitled to subsidised vet care.


For good magazine articles

What: K9 Friends is a volunteer-run organisation that rehomes Dubai’s unwanted pooches. They have a shelter but, like so many of the region’s animal charities, are severely stretched. K9 Friends rely on help from the general public to ensure they are able to carry on helping as many strays as possible.
The adoption process: Those interested in giving a dog a forever home are invited to call the shelter and then answer a questionnaire. You can then make an appointment to visit the shelter to get matched up to the perfect dog for you.
Fees: Dhs850 for a cross breed, Dhs1,400 for a pure breed and Dhs1,600 for a pedigree with papers.


SNIFF (Strays Needing Interim or Furever Friends)
What: SNIFF was founded by a group of friends all with rescue pets and a love for animals. It aims to not only rehome abandoned or stray animals, but to also educate people on the importance of adopting rather than buying pets. It relies on foster parents and support from the public to help with vet bills.
The adoption process: A form is filled out before you are matched to the right pet. There’s then a 20-day trial adoption period, if it works out you can officially adopt your new pet. SNIFF also offer reduced rate training and socialisation classes to help your new pet settle in.
Fees: Dhs400.


What: The Bin Kitty Collective is a welfare-enabling group, helping people to help distressed or stray animals. They offer support, discounted veterinary services and advice, along with a trap, neuter and release programme.
The adoption process: Adoption days are held monthly and you will be asked to provide a responsible forever home and take your cat with you when you leave the UAE.
Fees: A donation will be asked for which goes towards the trap, neuter, release programme in areas such as the Deira Fish Market.

Search for ‘Bin Kitty Collective’ on Facebook to join the group

What: Friends of Animalsarecommitted to keeping the cat population in the UAE under control and hold weekly adoption days. They work with the government to bring animal cruelty to their attention and encourage the community to start their own operations in their area.
The adoption process: You’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire, which will be used as a screening process. If successful, you’ll be invited to meet the animal you are interested in adopting and asked to submit a passport copy and tenancy agreement.
Fees: Friends of Animals will ask for medical costs to be covered at a discounted rate and for a donation to enable them to help other animals.



Emma Foley and Bruno
I’m currently eight months pregnant with my first baby. It hasn’t been an easy pregnancy and the plan was always to wait until the baby was six months old before adopting a dog. Six weeks ago I saw a post on Facebook about a five-month-old Saluki on death row in a Sharjah shelter. Baby hormones tipped me over the edge and my husband agreed we could foster him. Buying a bed, leash and toys was the first sign Bruno wasn’t going anywhere, with the final indication being a tag with our phone number on it. When he arrived he had so much energy, which he now burns off in the dog park in The Greens. My house is filling up with sand but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t believe this little dog, who loves everyone he meets, was so close to being put down.

How to adopt a pet in Dubai and Abu Dhabi - Emma and Bruno

Megan Castang, Dora, Diego, and Maysie
When I arrived in Dubai three years ago I wanted a kitten. I asked around and found out a colleague had rescued a pregnant cat, and six weeks later Dora entered my life. A month later my husband and I felt she was lonely, and again fate stepped in as a stray cat in our area gave birth to six kittens before sadly passing away. Weeks later Diego became Dora’s stepbrother. We had no plans to adopt any more cats until we literally stumbled on a ball of black fur in the lobby of our building; we couldn’t leave her and soon christened her Maysie.

How to adopt a pet in Dubai and Abu Dhabi - Megan and Maysie

Cherith, lifestyle writer and stylist for good, and Posie
It’s no secret that I’m something of a cat lady and my Himalayan is rather spoilt. I can justify treating her like a baby because of her past – Posie was hit by a car several years ago, leaving her with a broken pelvis and back legs. Thanks to the devotion of Feline Friends and Modern Veterinary Clinic, she regained the use of her legs, with just a limp. After spotting her on the website, I fell in love. Feline Friends wanted to make sure she found the right home and luckily I fitted the bill. I do occasionally take Posie shopping, and she recently visited team good in the office but I wear the cat lady badge with pride. Just stop me from purchasing that pet buggy I’ve had my eye on…

How to adopt a pet in Dubai and Abu Dhabi - Cherith and Posie

Daniel Evans, Flora Howard, Katsu and Miso
The first time we saw Katsu it was in an email that was sent around work. He had been abandoned in Bur Dubai and was approaching everybody who passed in the hope of being rescued. He was homed but given up as the older cats in that home were bullying him. Reading that email still upsets us and is a great reminder of how the simple act of adopting can make a difference. Seven months after adopting Katsu we decided he needed a sibling. Miso was found near Al Wasl Road as a very young kitten. We saw her on the Facebook page of The Veterinary Hospital and fell in love. They quickly became best friends and we feel they seem incredibly grateful to have a home. Pedigrees may have an appeal but consider those living on the streets; adopting a needy animal is a wonderful experience.

How to adopt a pet in Dubai and Abu Dhabi - Dan, Flora and Katsu

Annabelle and Paul Kelly and Biscuit
In May we adopted our furry friend Biscuit from K9 Friends. Biscuit was brought in by the Municipality with his two sisters and since he came home with us he’s gone from a nervous, timid dog to loving life. He has a huge personality and is such a gentle soul; he puts a smile on our faces every day. We can’t recommend rescuing a dog highly enough.

How to adopt a pet in Dubai and Abu Dhabi - Annabelle, Paul and Biscuit

Helen, editor of good, and Lizzie
Two years ago Lizzie had been dropped off for boarding at Posh Paws in Ajman when her owner called to say he wasn’t coming back. After seeing her little face on Dubizzle I drove in the pouring rain to meet her, and within seconds was on the phone to my husband to say that I couldn’t leave without this sweet, shy spaniel. We’re her third – and last – home. Lizzie will be 10 years old in March and I hope she’s having her happiest years with us – she’s in great health (the breath could be better, I admit) and I suspect she’ll be part of the family for many more years. I’m pregnant with our first child, and know that Lizzie will be the best big sister we could hope for.

How to adopt a pet in Dubai and Abu Dhabi - Helen and Lizzie