BET À DAY
With temperatures hovering around 45 degrees all summer long, the UAE's more athletic locals work out in air-conditioned gyms. But their dogs were deprived of it.. until a recent initiative.
In Abu Dhabi, the capital of the wealthy Gulf state, a new pet food and accessories store has been making dog-friendly treadmills available for the first time in the country for the past two months. an air-conditioned room.
After being duly attached to a leash by the employees on the aircraft, Oscar, a two-year-old Welsh Corgi, runs in place at high speed on the small black carpet lined with glass intended to prevent falls.
Its owner, Mozalfa Khan, is delighted to have found this place, where she says she comes two to three times a week.
“In winter, I took it out, but in summer, it remained isolated because every time I took him outside, he got sick from the heat,” the young Pakistani expatriate told AFP.
With high temperatures and suffocating humidity, “he can't really walk around and after two or three minutes he wants to come in,” says this designer who specializes in living design near the store.
His veterinarian advised him not to walk Oscar outside during the summer because of the high risk of heatstroke. “Last summer was really difficult for me because there was no place like this,” recalls Mozalfa Khan.
The United Arab Emirates, like the other Gulf countries, experience long, particularly hot summers every year. Most of the inhabitants, about 90% of whom are expats from around the world, remain cooped up in the heavily air-conditioned interiors, private or public.
As the whole world suffocates, the Gulf is one regions most at risk of suffering from rising temperatures due to climate change, with areas that will be, for part of the year, potentially unlivable, according to experts.
And it's a vicious circle: the current, intensive use of air conditioners, which are particularly energy-intensive, contributes to ongoing global warming.
Lover of dogs, Mansour Al-Hammadi had the idea of importing treadmills in his store which sells croquettes as accessories stamped with the logos of luxury brands.
And, to encourage his customers, he has decided to only charge them a “symbolic price” of one dirham, or about 25 euro cents per minute.
Himself owner of three dogs, the young Emirati says he wants to offer a “suitable environment”, recalling that these friends of humans need to exert themselves to stay physically and mentally fit, at least half an hour a day.
“So imagine when you can only walk them for a minute or two a day!” Mansour Al-Hammadi remarked to AFP.
“We have carefully studied the project so that it is 100% sound. Everything was chosen with care and not at random, in order to avoid any problem and not to harm the dogs”, he assures.
As night falls on Abu Dhabi, but not In the sweltering heat, Destiny storms into the small gym, playing with the other dogs and climbing on the treadmill. is agitated” every evening when it's time for her session, her owner Fahed Al-Monjed told AFP.
“For the health of the dog, it's better that she does exercise and spends. Using an indoor treadmill is the most appropriate solution”, believes this Lebanese-German expatriate, who works in tourism.
For him, this activity is “very healthy if you want to take care of your dog”, because the devices are not automatic and adapt to the speed at which the animal itself wishes to run.
His dog Destiny, she likes high speed. She recently won a speed contest organized by the establishment.