So what exactly is Woofstock?
It’s a great opportunity for dog owners to involve their beloved four-legged friends in fundraising for Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS). The dog show itself is a series of fun contests, such as ‘Waggiest tail’, where owners can enter their dogs in the hope of winning a prize. Along with the show, there will also be a table top sale, food stalls, bouncy castle, kids’ corner, face painting and more. Dogs that are not entered into the show can still come along and spectate. The show is open to any dog that is vaccinated and sociable (subject to prior registration) – it’s just a great opportunity for animal lovers to bring along their own dogs and get them involved with fundraising for QAWS too.
If people don’t have their own dogs, but want to participate, what can they do?
We know there are a lot of people in Qatar who don’t own a pet because they travel, but we will let them borrow one of ours for the day. Coming to an event such as Woofstock is a great opportunity for any QAWS dog to be involved directly with fundraising. And we’re also hoping that someone might fall in love with a QAWS dog and ask about adopting them.
What can you tell us about your canine residents?
We have such a variety of dogs coming through QAWS that they all react differently when they first arrive. Some take it in their stride, have their dinner, then curl up to sleep, while others take a little longer to settle in. Some dogs are rehomed within days of coming in, and others can be there years before finding the perfect family for them. The days when we rehome long term residents are very emotional for all of us as we see them grow from scared, abused dogs to wonderful family pets. We have QAWS dogs that have moved all over the world – from Australia to Azerbaijan, and all of them are loved unconditionally.
Other than puppy-power, what’s new at QAWS?
Although there are several foster- based rescue groups in Qatar, QAWS is still the only physical shelter until now and we always have a minimum of 100 animals to care for. Even if we can’t physically take them into the shelter, we will always offer advice on what to do and advertise them on our website and Facebook page. QAWS is not only a rescue shelter, it’s also an educational centre to the thousands of children (and adults) that come down every year to volunteer, on field trips or simply to learn more about animal welfare.
Everyone knows the old shelter was destroyed by fire last year. How are things at the new one?
The new QAWS shelter is great, but far from perfect. In an ideal world we need a facility twice as big as what we have now, and we’d still be full all the time. We’re still battling our way through the charity application process, and now we have the shelter up and running that’s become our main focus (after the animals, of course). We’re having a massive brand overhaul thanks to SDI Marketing, and we have a new look to hopefully go with our charity status in the not so distant future.
How else can people help?
There are so many ways the people can help QAWS. From dog walking, cat cuddling and fostering to event organisation, administration and shelter maintenance. Just attending QAWS events helps us by raising money for the running costs, and raising awareness of what we do and the animals we have for rehoming. We have a new donation box at Qatar Veterinary Centre, and every riyal put in there goes directly to pay off some of our mammoth outstanding vet’s bill. Also, simple things such as saving up newspapers or soft toys and donating them to QAWS goes a long way to helping the animals. QAWS always needs new leads, as with so many dogs we get through them very quickly!
The Woofstock dog show takes place on November 5 at QAWS (5539 6074; www.qaws.org), from 3pm. Places for the dog show are limited – to enter, email name, mobile number, dog’s name, classes to be entered and vaccination record to email@example.com. To borrow a QAWS dog, call the main number. Entry per dog is QR50 for one class, QR75 for two classes, QR100 for three classes. A full list of classes is on the QAWS Facebook page.