COMPANY’S BRIEF PROFILE
Pets Habitat was started in 2004 in Ajman as a small trading company solely to import pet food and products. Our first retail store opened in Barsha in 2007. We opened a second store in Motor City in 2011, however we had to let it go due to increasing business costs. Ultimately, I came to conclusion that it’s for the benefit of our animals as well as our customers to maintain and concentrate on one store only for the time being.
WHAT QUALIFIES US TO DISCUSS PETS: HERE IS A BRIEF
I have rescued and owned pets since settling in UAE in 1995. My life used to revolve around them, and it still does, perhaps not in the same way, but nonetheless. I have rescued hundreds of cats, a few dogs, birds and many exotics, including severely dehydrated, injured, refusing to eat reptiles. I used to struggle with food, litter, specialized equipment costs and mostly vet bills just like many of you. The time, finance, knowledge and patience required to nurse living beings to health and the emotional anguish of losing some of them to inevitable “out of our hands” elements, these are all very familiar to me, personally, the whole life cycle of joy, effort, attachment, discipline, costs and the ultimate grief of eventually losing that intangible bond…
I, as owner of Pets Habitat LLC, aim to manage my store’s activities daily, but it does not always happen with hectic business and busy family life. Nonetheless, our emphasis has always been and remains on the health and wellbeing of our animals, even if at a cost of a few disappointed customers who occasionally refuse to understand that some dog breeds do not do well in apartments, for example, or that cats would be happier left to themselves for 6 hours daily than dogs, or that many large dog breeds are simply not meant for lifestyle and climatic conditions of this part of the globe. Sounds simple and straight forward, right? But wait until you are standing in front of me at my store, debating and arguing how and why Husky, originally bred to be sled dog, would thrive in your apartment in Dubai while you are busy at the office from 9 to 5, or Beagle puppy, paired up with Jack Russell, would make one happy family in your studio flat.
When I first came to UAE in 1995, I literally stumbled over my first kitten on the busy streets of Bur Dubai. Weeks later another kitten was found meowing on the stairs of a building, then another very loving tom was found roaming the streets with no owners in sight, then yet another one had to be rescued from being put to sleep… Step by step, my husband at the time and I started rescuing more and more unwanted, abandoned, injured and sick animals, mostly cats, and I began working as a volunteer with Feline Friends in Sharjah, participating in rescue, spay/neuter and release program, as well as homing of stray animals, those we could find worthy owners for. Still, a lot of rescued kittens and cats ended up staying with us. At one point in time we had reached a record number of animals, feeding a colony of nearly 50 cats and suddenly we found it beyond our budget to buy enough food and litter for them all, not to mention the veterinary costs. I thought, deliberated and pondered, and decided to attempt to import pet food directly from Thailand on our own effort, risk and expense. That was the start of my business in 2004, out of sheer necessity to feed our own rescued animals. The business gradually grew, I am enticed to believe due to the blessings of our animals….
In those bygone days, aside of rescued cats and dogs, I had over a hundred of various other animals, including large collection of reptiles, mostly snakes, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, some birds and even arachnids. Once Pets Habitat retail store opened its doors in 2007, I was faced with fated fact: I no longer could dedicate all my time to my animals at home in Sharjah, as majority of my day went into looking after my pet store and pets for my customers in Dubai. With that came uneasy choice to slowly part with most of my much loved animals at home, including my reptiles and colony of sugar gliders. Our beloved Jacqueline (our only pedigree pet Rottie) and Foxy (Retriever Cross rescued from Sharjah streets in a very bad shape and nursed back to health a decade back) have both passed away in 2010-2011 at age of 12 and 13 years respectively. They had a strong bond with each other and lived in harmony together with us at our Sharjah home, they died within few months of each other…
Ironically, I have always suffered with allergies towards animals, mainly felines but not only. Most of you don’t know, but I’ve been surviving on daily doses of antihistamines for years, but with time, being surrounded by animals at any given moment, home or at my store, my allergies were getting worse. Consequently, after over 15 years in Sharjah, I finally had to move to Dubai to a house with lesser number of animals (I was also getting tired of driving back and forth daily between Barsha and Sharjah). However, we still keep our villa in Sharjah for all our rescued cats and dogs, and have provided 3 responsible caretakers to look after their daily needs with our supervision.
Our old house in Sharjah is still home to 20+ rescued cats from the streets, those “unhomable” ones who are blind, old, sick, antisocial and not at all cute, a colony of cats in and around the villa that we cannot not feed, right or wrong, several rescued dogs, some we are desperately trying to find new homes for, couple of dropped off on us tortoises, few snakes, mice and our old pet Umbrella Cockatoo. All of these are fed and taken care of daily by my rdevoted staff, who live at the villa with the animals solely to look after them. In addition, the villa became perfect facility for newly imported puppies and kittens, where we can monitor them for 10-15 days before offering them to our customers.
OUR PERSONAL BELIEFS WHEN IT COMES TO ANIMALS
“But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . .”
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
So, first and foremost, we, at Pets Habitat, are passionate about all animals: cats, dogs, birds, rodents, reptiles and all others. I cannot accentuate enough how pet animals depend on us entirely, as we, humans, have tamed and domesticated them since centuries ago, we routinely play roles of “Gods” to them, frequently deciding crucial aspects of their lives and wellbeing. Personally, I equally value all life forms, to the ridiculous point of being reluctant to step on a cockroach or kill a mosquito. To support my personal belief I have stopped eating meat since 2012 entirely for the benefits of the animals (not being eaten). I support WWF, various against animal cruelty campaigns and organisations, and strive to only purchase personal products not tested on animals, from skin care and perfume to household items, as much as possible. My business is essentially an extension of my principles and I feel it has provided me a good platform to try and bring in some reforms into pet trade in UAE.
WHY ARE WE SO FUSSY WHEN IT COMES TO OUR PETS AND WHO GETS TO TAKE THEM HOME?
As animal lovers and owners, who, as we frequently feel, have seen it all when it comes to human-animal interaction, it is our policy to interview, consult and scrutinize our customers to ensure that each individual or family is willing and able to provide suitable environment, living space and the passion, dedication needed to own a pet. This may happen subtly or may come across as a more straight forward approach. Our aim is not to turn around our pets for quick profits, but to pair you up with compatible long term companion. At times we candidly discourage some customers from buying a pet altogether and suggest to go for a plant instead (better yet a cactus), simply because the motive to own a pet is often unjustified through our eyes. This policy is passed on to my staff, who are also trained to ask questions such as:
- Do you live in a villa? If so, are you ok if your dog will not allow green grass to stay green all the time?
- Do you have a maid or someone to help you look after a pet while you are away, busy or sick?
- If you live in an apartment, are you disciplined enough to walk your dog daily?
- How many hours do you work as a couple? Singles are almost never encouraged to own a dog, unless you are retired or live with a full time helper. Why not try a cat instead? Or a bird? Or a hamster? Or an indoor plant?
- How will you manage a large breed dog, considering UAE weather is extremely hot in summers, UAE lacks dog play areas and the pet will spend majority of the day indoors (unlike in Europe or other countries) ? We always try to coax our customers into buying a small to medium breed of dog while in UAE, so the pooch is happily managed indoors during hot and humid summer months as well as reduced relocation costs eventually, based on reasonable size / lighter weight of smaller breeds.
- Can you offer a home to one of our “free to good home” pet instead?
I guess this is our humble attempt to reduce abandoned animals in UAE streets and we expect our customers to understand and cooperate with us. In return of this scrutiny and assurance from our customers, we guarantee to provide strictly home bred and raise healthy pets, while ensuring that we do not encourage any form of cruelty to animals even inadvertently. As a result of our carefully selected associations, we are able to guarantee our puppies and kittens WILL NEVER be purchased from puppy/kitten mills. We have hired very carefully chosen partners in EU to select our animals only from home based breeders to avoid fuelling any form of animal cruelty, direct or indirect.
All our puppies and kittens are backed by our 30 day warranty against any life threatening serious diseases or viruses against which we can vaccinate and protect our animals. Read more about this in “Health Warranty” section and “Why buy a pet from Pets Habitat”.
In short, if you are looking for a pure bred puppy or kitten in Dubai, you will appreciate our store. I assure you that we will offer our best advice on the type of pet to ensure that the decision will be in the best interest of all parties involved.
If you have certain type of pet in mind, let’s discuss and I promise we’ll suggest and find most suitable, healthy pet for you and your family. Please bear in mind that at times it is simply impractical to search for and import one rare breed just because you think it will make best pet for you and your family. In such instances we always suggest alternatives.
IT WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THEM
First and foremost, chances are I would not be writing this if not for my ex-husband and former partner at Pets Habitat Navdeep (often known just as ND or Andy). As life has it, Navdeep and I had to part our ways upon a mutual decision between us in benefit of our individual growth. He has been by my side for nearly two decades, patiently supporting me, my causes, beliefs (often stubborn and in some cases downright unreasonable) and my business, and I owe him a large portion of my success today.
My loyal and dedicated staff, who are loving and passionate towards all our animals, who may even be more knowledgeable than me on some aspects of our pets, yet always humble, honest and respectful. Please see “MEET OUT TEAM” to get to know every one of them.
So this is my honest story as it happened… I hope to see you at the store and let’s discuss who is going to be your next family member…
Pets Habitat LLC