As the mercury rises in London, we consider life with pets in the heat. We caught up with ex-Londoner style icon and pup mummy Laura Hosford from Howl & Growl, to discuss handy tips on keeping your pets safe under the scorching Dubai sun, relocating abroad with your pups and her favourite doggy friendly spots in her new home town.
You reside in Dubai with your two dogs Xena and Luna. Could you tell us a bit about your life all the way across the globe?
Life in Dubai is different to what we knew in London, mainly because it allowed us to commit to having a dog or two. This just wasn’t possible in the UK with work commitments. Having made the jump to being self-employed this has meant that our beloved pooches can double up as office dogs in the warehouse space we work out of. (Toil and Tinker) Otherwise life is much the same as London, but just taller skyscrapers, 100% more sunshine, access to beach and pools anytime, and a sense of being on holiday at the weekend with the infamous Dubai brunches, BBQ, scuba diving, sky diving, desert camping all a stones throw away.
How did you meet your dogs and what was the adoption process like?
I initially offered to help someone out who was relocating out of Dubai. With young kids they couldn’t take Xena straight away and she would have needed to sit in quarantine for 6 months, which if anyone knows Xena, just wouldn’t be OK. We were delighted to adopt Xena, but this is a rare example of a dog going from one good home to another. A lot of other pooches out here don’t have the same circumstances. They are often discarded when people decide they are too expensive, or that they should become someone elses responsibility. Truly heart breaking.
Luna we bought in Ireland when we were visiting family there, and got her from a Pomsky breeder. We wanted to raise a puppy and learn the ropes of training young dogs and us on obedience, dog handling and of course the fun stuff!
Wookie is our adopted cat. We saw him on a social media appeal to give him a home. He was only 6 months old, but the owner bought him at a pet market, but later decided wasn’t interested. So, we reached out to the adoption agency, completed a questionnaire (apparently a lot of people don’t bother with this, which weeds out the time wasters.) Then we arranged a visit for us to be sure Wookie could slot into the pack. I guess also a chance for the adoption agency, Adoptafrienduae, to ensure we weren’t going to dump the cat later on.
How do you manage to keep your furry pups cool in the sun, especially in the summer months?
Air-con: this is an essential out here. Sometimes the steering wheel is too hot to touch in the car, so a swift reminder that the dogs need our pre walk floor checks so they don’t burn their paws. They both seek out shade to walk on, but they trot so fast their feet aren’t on the ground too long.
In the ridiculous summer months, we go on crack of dawn and late night walks, we are lucky that there are in-door dog parks, all equipped with swimming pools and air con. We also give them a decent hair cut or de-shedding to ensure they have lighter coats. In the months where it is lovely weather (October to May), we can go about normal dog living, and don’t have to worry about the heat too much. Sometimes I take Luna running, or swimming in the sea, but we have to drive far for this as there are no dog friendly beaches (yet!).
Apart form the high temperatures, what other challenges do you face due to having dogs in Dubai?
The first challenge is that there are limited interesting places to go walking. What I would give for a forest, river, rolling fields to run Luna on (Xena doesn’t do running). Tolerance to dogs is getting better but it isn’t super dog friendly, so there are only a handful of places to take your dog and have a coffee (strictly outside only). The few places that do, are very kind to and great with dogs though.
Another challenge is that dogs aren’t allowed off the lead, which isn’t as fun for them, so we have to go further afield to find some free space for them.
What are your favourite pet friendly spots in your city?
The Palm Jumeirah is a great spot, as nice 2.5km running track equipped with man made little waterways, palm trees and a few spots for coffee, which we just love in Dubai winter when we can sit outside.
I also love the emirate Ras Al Khaimah, this is an hour's drive out of Dubai, but great for hikes and we did a huge group dog trek there one year, where you have to help the dogs over the steep rocks/boulders.
From our current H+W collection, could you pick your favourite pieces for Xena and Luna, and tell us the reason behind your choices?
I love the Inca Pink dog collar and lead, the bright colours and fabric are perfect for Dubai. Xena isn’t one for going in the sea, or swimming in the dog swimming pools dotted around Dubai, so it’s good for her!
Also really like the Geo handsfree lead as Xena is a constant sniffer, so it allows us to let her take her time but still keeps us on the move.
For Luna we love the Geo range, especially the Café lead, because we cannot take them inside it’s ideal for anchoring her down while we top up with coffee for us and dog water bowls for the pups.