Tuesday 31 January 2017

How much does it cost to adopt a dog in Dubai?

Different rescue organisations charge different amounts, but that will all depend on the good will of the vets that they use and how much of a discount they get. Adoption fees range between AED 1500-2500.

I've heard many people say they're doing the rescuers a favour by taking the dog off their hands and don't see why they should have to pay an adoption fee. I'm sure a lot of people think that fee goes into the pocket of the rescuer, but more often than not, it is the rescuer digging deep into their pockets, after the adoption fee is made to pay the vet bill for all other costs involved.

When a dog is surrendered or more often the case, dumped or found wandering the streets, the dog will be taken to the vets, where a full health check is carried out, it will be dewormed and given up to date, relevant injections. This alone can cost AED 1000, and can be several thousand if the dog is injured or unwell.

The next step is to get the dog spayed or neutered, most 'dumped' dogs usually aren't spayed or neutered. The cost for a medium size dog is in the region of AED 1150. The dog then needs to be microchipped, around AED 200.

Once the dog has been through, and during, the above process, the dog will require somewhere to live. Kennelling ranges from AED 60-80 per night at a minimum cost, so unless the dog can be adopted straight away and a foster family isn't available the costs add up rapidly.

Another argument heard from people wanting to adopt a dog are 'you chose to rescue it' and they often don't see why they're being asked to pay kennelling costs. But as you can see from above, kennelling is usually funded by the rescuer, either personally or through donations.

These costs vary greatly and are just an approximation, breed, size and health of dog need to be taken into account, but you do get an awful lot of dog and peace of mind for your money.

A puppy bought through a pet shop or imported from abroad will cost around AED 4000 upwards, and there is no guarantee that they are in good health and the owner will still have to bare the costs for spaying or neutering and injections.

There are 1000's of dogs in Dubai that need homes, not many pure breeds are available, but there are a lot of puppies and young dogs that come up for adoption weekly.

By adopting, not only do you get a loving, healthy companion and friend, you provide a much needed home for a desperate dog and help the rescuers continue their good work.

Monday 30 January 2017

Is our youngest child ready to leave school?

I doubt there are many parents who are fully prepared for their youngest child to finish school and leave home. For us, our youngest child has already left home, so unlike with the other children I have very little idea if he's actually ready to leave school and go into the big wide world of work.

Our youngest child leaves school this year. He will be 18 years and 2 months old.

Our youngest child of 5 left home in South Africa in August 2013, aged 14 years and 4 months to return to the UK to complete his education, the last child (4 of 5) left home in January 2014 1 week before his 19th birthday, having completed his schooling the previous month.

Apart from the school holiday we haven't parented for 2 years and have since moved to Dubai. We also haven't taken much of a role in the youngest's school life, apart from occasional emails and very few visits, he hasn't needed it, he's been on track for his apprenticeship with CISCO, he has an active social life both in school on on exeat weekends with friends and I've visited the UK during the shorter holidays and him to Dubai over the summer and Christmas.

This last few months of his schooling will be busy for both him and I, and I will be making regular visits to the school as we discuss the 'what next?' in regards to where his apprenticeship will take place and the logistics around the when and the how and most definitely the costs involved in regards to housing.

Our eldest child is in a care home, children 2 & 4 joined the army and child 3 had accommodation offered with his first job on leaving home, although in later years we helped out with deposits and landlord issues as he changed careers and moved around the UK.

We've not had a conventional school life with our children, involving 4 different, but simultaneous primary schools and 6 different secondary schools both in the UK and South Africa.

Although technically I haven't been involved with school life for a very long time, I think I will miss it. Having sent the older children off to school on their first day in both primary and secondary, by the time the youngest 2 went to school I had few questions or few worries. By the time the youngest 2 left home, I'd gone through all the worries and fears with their older siblings and it was easier to let them go, but also harder as this time they were moving 6000 miles away.

As adults, we see the children 2-3 times a year, either with their visits to us in Dubai, now with girlfriends and mates or us to the UK.

But having a child in school for the past 21 years has given me stability, reassurance and a sense of time, a way to mark the year, arrange birthdays, holidays and finances. Without school I'm not sure now how I will mark the years from now on, as their birthdays will be spent at work, with friends, Christmas will be spent with their own families as the years go by.

I'm just not sure that I'm ready for our last child to leave school, just yet. Peter is of course very relieved as it means an end to private school fees and his dream of an Aston Martin could become a reality.

Sunday 29 January 2017

109 My Sunday Photo L is for Luxor and lack of tourists

We're in Luxor for a long weekend, it's the height of the tourist season.

What is the first thing you notice in the photo?

The lack of tourists.

I didn't have to wait, till the coach load filed by, or for the children to run in-between the pillars. I just took the shot and 100's others like it, undisturbed, no one getting in my way, just peace and quiet, a photographers dream.

Whilst the lack of tourists is good for me, it is not good for the local economy. Luxor is a city built 1400BCE. It is already a ruin, but it doesn't need to become run down as well. The Egyptian Pound has devalued so much, that people are struggling here, desperate for the tourists to return.

So why don't the tourists come here anymore?

Saturday 28 January 2017

One Daily Positive Week 4 2017 Toothache, dogs and Egypt

I suffered with chronic toothache over the weekend and after years of neglect I finally plucked up the courage to visit the dentist and finally get them sorted, unfortunately there's not much that can be done and over the next few weeks I need a 2nd root canal filling, an extraction, new crown and several fillings.

I've neglected the dentists due to a couple of bad experiences in South Africa and bone disease, which means implants without a bone graft aren't possible.

Back in October I suffered with chronic tooth pain on a flight, where the cabin pressure causes trapped air in fillings and decay to release and the pain is excruciating. I flew to Luxor on Thursday for a long weekend with Peter and I knew the issue had to be addressed or it would spoil the weekend.

I was also very tired this week as I'm fostering a English Staffordshire Terrier and boy is she hard work. I hadn't seen her over the weekend and she was back at square one with jumping, scratching and biting and I had to physically separate her and Bob more than once. By 3am on Monday morning, I dragged the crate out the shed and put her in it so she could sleep. I couldn't lift it in the house so slept with the bedroom door wide open and woke up at 8am covered in insect bites. I then spent the next 2 hours walking around the neighbourhood as I did again for the next 2 mornings and in the evenings, till it was time for her to go back to the vets on Tuesday to be spayed. I'm seriously hoping this helps to calm her down, although next week I shall only have her during the day while I continue to help look for a forever home for her. Thankfully some of the bad behaviours stopped with a little love and guidance.

So here's my week in pictures and a few words, it's been busy.

22/365 My Bestie
Just me and my dogs today, however I did declare undying love to the dentist for her patience and kindness.

23/365 Hello
In pain with my tooth

24/365 Woof!
Rory went to the vets to be spayed and she'll be there till I get back from Egypt on Tuesday.

25/365 Where I'm Standing
Poor Bob was so confused, I visited Rory and he could smell her on me, took the cat to the vets for boarding, a dental visit and nail bar, plus a hair cut. I was coming and going all day. He's off for a sleep over with Jelly and her humans.

26/365 Dance
Arrived in Luxor, after a connecting flight in Qatar, driver failed to turn up on arrival, room not ready, hassled to buy stuff, no wifi, but fantastic views over the Nile.

27/365 My Secret Wish
Words and pictures aren't enough to sum up the beauty of Luxor.

28/365 Smile

Back home on Monday, travel doesn't have the same edge to it anymore, when home is in Dubai and most people think I'm on one permanent holiday anyway.

On the blog this week.

My Sunday Photo - D is for Dentist
PoCoLo - Marriage after the kids leave home
HDYGG - Workmen and gardening just don't mix

Thursday 26 January 2017

Gardening and workmen don't mix with HDYGG

Gardening plans were put on hold in December due to painting work that had to be carried out on the house. I got as far as weeding the sandpit, when the decorators arrived and had to gather up all the newly bought plants and seedlings and leave them until the workmen finished.

You can see why we had to move all the plants as this was the state they left the others in.

And there is quite a bit of repair work to carry out as well as junk to remove from the garden. I've asked them to come back and sort these things, but they're really not bothered.

 The lawn has suffered quite a bit after having 2 dogs over christmas, hopefully it will right itself soon enough.

 In the local garden centre they were selling christmas reefs between £28 and £44 and real trees were retailing at around £160 for a 6ft tall one.

There has been a lot of artficial ground coverings for sale in various locations at around £15 for a square meter and of course artificial turf. Neither appeals to me, but it seems very popular over here.

 Down on the beach near the new canal, planting has taken place to try and restore some of the area.

 There's a bit more weeding to be done in the sandpit, which has to be carried out in the evenings as it's still too hot for manual labour in the garden. Peter has rigged up some LED strips under the sun umbrella and the table has been decorated to add a bit more colour to the garden and we are enjoying evenings sitting outside enjoying the cooler weather.

Monday 23 January 2017

Marriage after the kids leave

Peter and I have been together in June for 17 years. For the first 2 years before we got married we ran 2 homes. For the next 12 years we raised 5 children and lived on 3 continents, the last child leaving home in January 2014. We are still responsible for a 17 year old, but he's been in boarding school in the UK since August 2013.

We are in our 3rd year of being child free on a daily basis apart from the holidays, but this September sees us free of school fees and responsibilities for anyone else other than ourselves and the cat and dog.

So what are we going do?

Sadly over the years, we've heard many friends and acquaintances say once the kids leave home, their marriage will probably be over as they're only together for the sake of the kids. If we'd ever said 'for the sake of the kids' we never would've had the experiences we've had as a family and the been able to take up the opportunities we've worked so hard for over the years.

Of course there have been times, especially over the past 3 years, where only having one another for company has been hard work and with family and friends so far away, it's just been the 2 of us against the world and often the 2 of us against one another when things have gone wrong.

There is little if no interference from the outside world in our marriage, we've made our own life choices and while this has freed us to make the decisions we have made, on reflection it could've gone so horribly wrong, but it hasn't and it stands us on firm ground now for our future without kids.

When we first got together, raising 5 kids between us from our previous marriages, we often wondered if we should 'for the sake of the kids' do things differently, but decided, one day they'll leave home and it'll just be the 2 of us, so we should do what is best for us for the future. The doesn't mean to say we didn't give the children a second thought, it meant we did what was right for us as a family unit, be it in the UK or abroad and we sorted out the problems as and when they arose, rather than worrying about the 'what if's?' and never doing anything.

We are the best of friends, through choice and because we have to be. We've dropped everything to fly back to the other side of the world, spent months apart, either with Peter's work or with a crisis back in the home land.

We've made huge sacrifices for one another, job satisfaction, career opportunities and the financial implications of paying school fees and travel costs for the kids to visit us. But we don't regret any of it, we may on reflection wish we'd done things differently, chosen better with accommodation, for access to work or safety and security.

We know many couples who live almost separate lives due to the demands of families and work, live on different continents and make alternate trips every month or so to see one another, but that's not something we feel would work for us.

I will be in the UK for a large proportion of time this year. March and April and flying back late June on a one way ticket, to support and guide the teen through his last few weeks in school and help him prepare for a life time of work ahead of him. We currently have no idea when and where he will be living after school finishes, as we are all waiting for news of his apprenticeship. Peter will be joining me in the UK in April and again in September for a few weeks, I may look into getting a temporary job now I am no longer working in Dubai, to bare some of the financial costs of running 2 homes, but I will be returning to Dubai on a permanent basis by October at the latest.

So what then? that's most of this year taken up. 17 years has flown by. Peter turns 60 this year, so a maximum 5 years left of work out here in Dubai, but we could leave early, maybe move to another country, maybe take early retirement. There's likely to be problems and issues with this 'what will I do for the next 5 years, not working, on my own all day every day?' There is no sign of grandchildren on the horizon, like so many other expats I know of are waiting for, their chance to move back to the homeland to watch and help the next generation grow up, while their husbands remains living overseas. We're the type of people and our kids have said the same, that they hope when their kids come along we're still living abroad so they can come for cheap beach holidays or even send the kids out to us for a fortnight during the holidays, rather than having us on their doorstep 'interfering' :-)

If you still have kids at home, you may feel that being child free is such a long way off and that you have no idea what you'll do when that times comes. Don't get me wrong it wasn't easy dealing with the kids leaving home and 'empty nest syndrome' but with time, things change and it just becomes the norm, in the same way life changes for everyone after having kids, you look back, you reflect, you wonder if you could've done it differently, you'll even wish for those days back again, even if right now you're moaning about sleepless nights or raising teenagers.

Peter and I on the surface of things don't have much in common, different TV shows, I don't like watching movies, we have different tastes in food and we both have our own ideas of what makes a good day/night out. We are each our own people, but we do like spending time together, just sitting in the garden, exploring places when we finally decide where that place will be, going out to eat, picking restaurants where we know we'll both find something we'd like to eat on the menu. We go for long walks in the desert with the dog, we both like to travel, although often on our own rather than together. We can go a whole weekend without leaving the house, we're comfortable just being around one another, we don't need things to do to occupy our time.

We accommodate each others needs, it all sounds a bit boring, but when we are apart, even during the day when Peter is at work there are plenty of phone calls between us and messages. Some of my female friends say they'd feel stifled if their husbands called them several times a day, they'd feel like they were being checked up on, but for us, it is the norm.

It works for us, our relationship, we'll not worry about what we're going to do, this time next year, next week, something will crop up and add to our adventures. It probably won't be an easy ride as we really don't know what is ahead of us, but together we're working towards our future, day by day.

Sunday 22 January 2017

108 My Sunday Photo D is for Dentist.

I suffered with chronic toothache over the weekend and after years of neglect I finally plucked up the courage to visit the dentist and finally get them sorted, unfortunately there's not much that can be done and over the next few weeks I need a 2nd root canal filling, an extraction, new crown and several fillings.

I've neglected the dentists due to a couple of bad experiences in South Africa and bone disease, which means implants without a bone graft aren't possible.

Back in October I suffered with chronic tooth pain on a flight, where the cabin pressure causes trapped air in fillings and decay to release and the pain is excruciating. I fly to Luxor on Thursday for a long weekend with Peter and I know the issue has to be addressed or it would spoil the weekend. I also purchased an emergency filling repair kit from the supermarket and I'm ashamed to say it was still in my tooth until today.

Due to the bone disease and receding gums, probably caused by smoking, my teeth are so sensitive, so depute my mouth being completely numb, the water and air used whilst doing the root canal caused me so much pain in my other teeth, that the dentist stopped work and applied temporary filings to several other teeth and applied a seal around the tooth that needs a new crown.

The dentist was exceptionally kind, especially when she had to inject directly into the root canal as the first lot of injections weren't effective, she appreciated my need to stop treatment and allow me to re position myself, due to my bad neck and had full understanding of why I hadn't been to see a dentist or hygienist for 2 years.

I've been told that due to the work she has done on my teeth, that I'm only to eat soft foods until my next appointment in just over a week and avoid hot and cold drinks.

probably not the best choice of food to be eating with all that sugar, but I did have chicken soup and bread for my lunch and a yogurt.

Friday 20 January 2017

One Daily Positive 2017 Week 3 Dogs, exercise and routine.

First full week as a SAH, a housewife. Peter is at work 8am till 6pm every day, so it's just me, Bob and Pushkins. So far, so good. I've established a routine, a daily time table and a list of things to do for the week. In the past when I've been a SAH, it's not been through choice and I've suffered with depression.

The first day of the week in Dubai is Sunday, I tidied up after the weekend, hoovered and put the washing on, after getting dressed I headed off to a local vets to walk a rescue dog, Rory.

Monday was going smoothly, after a few jobs around the house, I set off on a bike ride to the beach, as I posted my photo, I realised the date and had a minor meltdown. I collected Rory for the afternoon and sat in the garden sorting out car insurance. After taking Rory back, I went to the RTA to get the car tested (like a UK MOT) and re register my vehicle for another year. A very efficient process but not easy to work out if you've not had to do it before.

Tuesday and Bob and I went out into the desert, walked round 4-5 lakes and had a picnic breakfast, collected Rory and chilled out in the garden. I walked Bob and Rory back to the vets.

Wednesday had the potential to be a very stressful day, as I had to do the Ejari, which is registering the house contract with the government. I then  In the headed out on my bike to the bank and then for a walk on the beach. In the afternoon I collected Rory again for a few hours. It's nice finding different routes to walk through the streets with the dogs. The evening was spent doing the UK tax return online, as overseas landlord we have to download software off the Government website and after a lot of searching I found another expat in America willing to share her knowledge.

Thursday was my day to get ready for the weekend, tidy, clean, iron and food shop. Now I'm not working I've found the time to shop for what we want to eat each day. I decided to visit the Mall of the Emirates and check the sales out. I've been keeping a close eye on what I'm spending so I can create and stick to a budget of some sorts. I collected Rory again. After posting on my blog about a visit to The Green Planet, Rain Forest, the Project Manager invited me back for a tour to see what else has been added and to explain why certain things, such as seating can't be accommodated.

Friday my friend came round with Jelly for the afternoon and leaving both dogs with Peter we visited Safest Way, an American supermarket I'd heard about. As Jelly's human is American it was a good trip and the cupboards are now restocked. Peter will be working more from home and the aircon in the study isn't the best so we spent the evening, moving his desk and contents into my sewing room and vice versa.

Saturday and my routine is getting interrupted already as Peter heads off to Egypt this evening with work. I'm joining him on Thursday for a long weekend in Luxor and I have Rory till Tuesday, when she is getting spayed, to occupy me and to work on her behaviour. Peter had a hair cut in the morning and we met a friend for lunch.

15/365 Indulgent. Getting things done. 

 16/365 Play.

 17/365 Kiss.

 18/365 Alive. Enjoying living next to the beach.

 19/365 Wake Up. The whole of Dubai was up early and off somewhere.

 20/365 Fur. The cat has been feeling slightly neglected this week with Rory visiting.

 21/365 Little Ones. Celebrating the end of 21 years as a school mum. My Little ones all grown up now.

On the blog this week:
PoCoLo Identifying and managing depression as a SAH
My Sunday Photo Soft Play with Bob
Animal Tales Dogs for adoption

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Dogs for adoption in Dubai with Animal Tales

Late last year I made an appeal in a face book group for donations of old bedding and material so I could make up some dog beds for various animal organisations in Dubai. I'd fostered a couple of dogs for a short period, successfully helping them get their forever homes through some basic house training and social media. But it wasn't something Peter was keen on doing on a regular basis and it was upsetting the cat, introducing new dogs into the family. Bob certainly wasn't put out and seemed to enjoy having them around. So 2017 is going to be a year of supporting the various organisations through social media, walking and socialising foster dogs and collecting and donating items for the organisations to use such as bedding and food.

My mum was visiting and finding the weather too hot she helped run up several dog beds, which have been donated to Dog Walk, Doggies Palace and My Second Home, companies who work with rescue organisations.

I've made a couple of visits to Doggies Palace to walk Pheonix who was rescued back in June but is sadly living in kennels. Bob and Phoenix had a chance to meet in a supervised environment, both on their leads to see how they got on, to see if Pheonix can be integrated into a family with other dogs or whether he must be the only dog.

We left a couple of presents for Pheonix and will be visiting him some more this month.

I haven't been back to see Phoenix yet, as I've been helping out with Rory, she was found a couple of weeks ago, no microchip and around 18 months of age. I can't foster, but I can have her home in the afternoons so she can have some time out of her cage and socialise. She walks well on a lead and travels ok in a car as long as she is secured safely.

Rory would make a lovely addition to any home, with or without other dogs.

 We had a visitor over Christmas the New Year. Jelly and her owners arrived in Dubai in October. They spent the holidays with family, so we offered Jelly a place to stay rather than her go into kennels. 

 After our visit to meet Santa we also attended a carol concert for humans and hounds at My 2nd Home. We've also lined up quite a few other playdates at various locations and I'm looking forward to friday meet ups with Jelly and her owners.

 Bob and Jelly got on very well together and Jelly is certainly missed already. I'm sure Bob is perfectly fine, as is Jelly now they are apart, but having 2 dogs was really nice and they played together none stop as well as constantly looking at me like this, every time I entered the kitchen.

I also took Bob to soft play and there have been trips out into the desert.

There are also a lot of stray cats in our neighbourhood, this one turned up a few weeks ago, I've been feeding her/him, but can't get close enough to check for a microchip.

Monday 16 January 2017

Trying to avoid depression now I'm a Stay at Home.

I became a SAHM in 2011 after moving to South Africa where laws prevented me from working. I did however immerse myself in charity and volunteer work, not behind the scenes but fully hands on. Working formed an important part of my identity and without a career I felt lost.

On moving to Dubai, I was determined to find a job and I took the first one offered, teaching in FS1. I hadn't taught in this age group or environment, this didn't work out for me you can read more about why I gave up working here.

So now I'm a SAH through choice. In South Africa my visa read 'Home Executive' In Dubai, due to where we live I'm affectinately known as a 'Jumeriah Jane'  however expat coffee mornings are not my style.

Despite living as expats, we've never employed cleaners or maids to help around the home, many people say we're not supporting the local economy, but for me I don't want a stranger in the house, the worry of employment visas, contracts, etc.

After a full on year of 12+ hours a day working and the recent spate of visitors, I'm glad for the time off. Lots of things have been put on hold that really need doing, such as the garden, housework and tax returns, the house and new flat in the UK that we need to sort things out with such as renewing insurances and the youngest child leaving boarding school and applying for apprenticeships as well as helping him find somewhere to live.

We have a trip to Egypt booked for the end of the month to give me something to look forward to and then there are the trips to the UK and South Africa to book.

But I still have to manage the in-between. I don't find it easy to pace myself and am often accused of making myself ill by not resting, something I did last week, trying to get everything sorted asap.

I know what triggered depression in the past, losing my identity, self worth and value as a person, so I know what to avoid and how to avoid it. This time my new identity is my choice, so I am responsible for myself this time, as in there is no one to try to lay the blame on.

Reading through my blog, I've identified that 2013 and the lowest point for me, the posts are a mixture of reflection and the current situation at the time. It was the year we had Tenants from hell and I spent months away from my family and I felt a self imposed guilt of being away for so long, it was the year the youngest child was heading to the UK for boarding school, child 4 of 5 was finishing school and moving back to the UK sooner rather than later, we had lots of visitors, visas were due for renewal and Peter was travelling more.

June 2011 With love and support from my husband

February 2012 When Suzanne says 'fuck it'

January 2013 Losing my identity caused my depression

February 2013 If depression had physical signs and I looked ill

February 2013 Do expats ever settle?

March 2013 Managing my depression

August 2013 Constant changes make life difficult, long spells in the UK, a child leaving home and after the visitors.

June 2015 the importance of having a routine

So now I know what caused the depression, the triggers, now I know how to stay on top of it, to acknowledge it and say 'it's ok to feel sad' to talk about it before, to ask for help and not feel I have to justify it in anyway, I thought I'd share my thoughts on my blog, so I can revisit and remind myself just how far I have come and that, just like a physical illness, it's ok just to have bad days.

I've created myself a time table/things to do on a daily basis and then weekly goals on top:

Wash up and tidy around the house, sort out the days dinner, make a pack lunch to stop me picking on food all day.

By 9am get dressed, including hair and make up.

Go out, even if it's just for a coffee or a food shop. Walk the dog, cycle, go to the beach, blog at the coffee shop, anything just to get me out the house and do this first thing or I'll not leave.

Sundays and Thursday are for housework, food shop, washing, ironing and tidying only. Getting ready for the weekend so when it comes Peter and I can do what we want rather than spending, like we have the past year, doing housework, washing and ironing, then too tired to do anything.

Tuesday are desert days, take Bob for a long walk, pack the camping stove, a book, deck chair and picnic and just chill out. Nearly everyone I've met in Dubai has been through #BobTheDog.

There are projects and crafts I want to do. Finish writing my book, sew dog beds for charity, find a use for the rest of the odds and ends lying around the house. Sort the physical photo's into albums. Work more in the garden, sit more in the garden and enjoy the efforts of my hard work.

I will allow myself down days, pj days and days of eating junk food, that's how we spent the weekend, for the first time in a year, just chilling out and switching off.

And finally, routine. I have to accept it changes, not on a daily basis but when we have an influx of visitors, when I travel to the UK. We've bought a flat near my parents so we have somewhere to stay when we travel, a base, so we're not living out of a suitcase, somewhere we can invite people to come and visit us. Expensive, but so simple. It will make going home now a lot more pleasurable, knowing we can switch off and relax and actually start taking proper holidays rather than seeing it as a chore because we have no down time.

Sunday 15 January 2017

107 My Sunday Photo F is for fun

Who says you can't have fun after your kids leave home. I just go to soft play now with my dog, Bob, instead.