Team Y meets a group keen to promote a ‘can-do’ attitude towards canine companionship.
Dog owners like to indulge their pets from time to time whether it’s buying furry capes for them in winter or treating them to a juicy steak.
And dog shows like the legendary Crufts give owners a chance to display their canine’s skills as well as their good looks.
But for some owners, the dog show should do more such as showcasing health and welfare towards these intelligent animals.
Believe it or not, it’s lucrative turf that has grown into a multi-million-dollar industry around the world.
However, an event that’s slated to take place in Oman this week aims to achieve something else: to educate us on respecting and sharing space with dogs.
It’s the culmination of the hard work and dedication to dogs of a group of four friends, who founded Oman’s most respected canine club.
For the MCT K9-Team, the conformation dog show is now in its third year, the star turn of which will be a ‘beauty pageant’.
Founder member Musheer al Zadjali is a 32-year-old Omani. He owns Julius-K9, a shop that provides specialised food, equipment and even a restaurant for dogs and cats.
“This dog show stems from our love for animals,” says Musheer with a smile. “We want to use it as a platform to promote a healthy and safer living for dogs in Oman.”
The founder members used to gather at the Burj al Sahwa roundabout – better known as the “Clock Tower Roundabout” – to share their insights on pet ownership, experiences, and to advise newcomers on pet care and safety.
Now the MCT K9-Team has grown quickly after its members decided to register themselves and run dog shows with a difference.
Unlike international events, the group aims to show how to share our living spaces with dogs, break stereotypes on wadi dogs, and persuade Omanis how rewarding caring for dogs can be.
It’s not about making money from events, it’s about promoting the bliss of canine companionship, Masheer says.
“We used to run this for free at the Burj al Sahwa parking lot before deciding to host it as a bigger event near our shop in Seeb. We then graduated to a full-blown show at venues across Oman.
“And, the most heartwarming thing is that the people have accepted our club as a part of their own. So, while we were limited to Omanis initially, we now have expats from various parts of Oman coming together and sharing their love for dogs.”
Musheer’s conformation dog show is expected to take place this Friday (December 15) between 2pm-6pm at the Muscat Hills – and is open to everyone.
You don’t need to have a pet to visit the event. Entry is free while a nominal RO3 will be charged (for service and other amenities) if you’re looking to register your canine pet.
There will be a ‘beauty’ contest, a dog dance show, a race and other activities that are to be a surprise.
With the number of canine contestants topping 80, this could become one of the largest events of its kind in the Sultanate.
It could also give dog lovers the chance to get a first-hand look at rare breeds such as Caucasian Shepherds, Presa Canario, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and more.
Moreover, three judges – including Adil, an international ajudicator with more than 25 years’ experience – will be present. The event will also be presided over by another founding member of the club, Anees al Zadjali; and the dog coach at the Royal Oman Police (ROP), Sami al Wahaibi.
All competing dogs will receive certificates and winners’ medals.
Musheer says: “We hope to see people turn up to see the positives of pet ownership. There’s a general notion here that people don’t like dogs but that’s not true.
“In fact, there are people who come here who have had pets for decades and love to share their experiences with the people.
“And, who knows, maybe we can change the hearts of people who are even afraid of dogs or scared to adopt one?
Adoption and general well-being tips aside, the MCT K9-Team will also educate the visitors about wadi dogs.
Musheer says: “This is one of the mottos of the club – to tell people that wadi dogs aren’t dangerous.”
“Of late, we’ve come across several instances of violence against dogs – and this upsets us. We’ll be speaking to the public about this during our events, and create a sense of awareness that the people can then spread among each other.”
Hassan al Lawati, an animal enthusiast, says: “I think this is a brilliant initiative by the MCT K9-Team as it opens up a place where people who have had experience with pets can come and teach each other the highs and lows of dog ownership.
“It’s something we here in Oman require – a common ground where people can meet each other and their pets, and perhaps even show bystanders how they too can adopt a pet and turn their world into a much better place.”
It’s a thought Musheer, the owner of 10 dogs, shares with us, too: “A dog’s smile beats all else. I fell in love with dogs at a very young age and have always been advocating for animal rights.
“What the MCT K9-Team does is to give us all a platform to stand together and form a bond that we can use to share our insights to change age-old perceptions.
“That’s the goal – a place where animals and humans can live together in peace.”