Jillian R.

Here’s another reason why Muscat is not for the typical dog lover.

Today was an extremely hot and humid day. It was so hot that our air-conditioner started spewing warm air. Poor Jester has been having trouble doing his #2 all day because the ground burned his paws every time I take him out. And of course, there’s not even a patch of grass nearby that he could stand on. At about 6pm, it finally cooled down enough for me to take him out.

Jester was evidently very happy to be sniffing around. His happiness was short-lived. When we were a few houses down from our villa, two boys started barking, whistling and howling at us from about 10 feet away. The boys looked to be about 12-14 years old. I tugged on his leash and Jester obediently ignored them. However, as we turned the corner, a handful of pebbles flew our way, missing Jester by a few inches. If we walked just a little slower, the pebbles would have hit Jester’s hind leg(s).

I quickly looked at the boys’ direction and saw one of them fleeing into the nearest alley. I immediately shouted “HEY! DID YOU JUST THROW STONES AT US?” at the top of my lungs. As it was the time of day when housemaids gather among themselves for a chat, people cleaning cars and nannies pushing strollers along the street, everyone turned to look. Even a car turning the corner stopped to look. It was what I wanted; witnesses. The boy who remained peeked from the alley wall and said “No, not me, not me!” but I continued yelling “Then why did youR friend throw stones at ME? WHY? I’m going to call the police!” The boy was obviously petrified as he kept shaking his head and repeating “Not me! Not me!. Finally he said “Sorry!” and ran into the alley after his (cowardly) friend.

I was so enraged that I could feel my face heating up. I’ve heard (and read) about kids (and adults) throwing stones at cats and dogs here, but I never would’ve guessed that they would do it when the owner is right there! Also, what kind of cowardly boy runs away leaving his friend to be yelled at anyway?

So, if you or someone you know is moving to Muscat and is planning to bring your/their dog, this is best avoided if possible. Although the vets and dog trainers (run by expats) are excellent here, the local perception and attitude towards canines are just heartbreaking. Jester was adopted here, and it’s true that I would never have gotten the chance to care for this sweet little boy who only wanted love and attention if not for us moving here. However, if I’m planning to move here, I would never bring my dog and subject him/her to the brutal treatment of dogs here; not being allowed at any of the beaches and parks, stared and barked at (by kids and adults) daily, yelled at randomly by mean/scared individuals and of course, having pebbles thrown at him/her.

What would you do?
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