By Ben Garcia
Having multiple pets at home, one would surely imagine a messy, noisy and chaotic scene. Kuwait Times visited a home in Kabd full of dogs of various breeds, but surprisingly, the house is a picture of calm, stability, joy and happiness. “I have 31 dogs, all of them have names, and I like them all! I enjoy playing with them. They are trained, so if you tell them to come, sit or lay down, they will obey your commands,” said Jaja, the owner.
“The majority of these dogs are nice and gentle. Many of them have a story of why they ended up in my house. I got one after the owner threw her out of her car’s window. We followed her and asked why she threw her dog. She simply said she doesn’t like it anymore. So she threw it from the window! Thank God we saw her and rescued her,” she said.
Some of Jaja’s dogs feel jealous when she’s too close to any of them. “If I am playing with them, others would like to be closer to me, so they feel jealous. But these feelings are temporary and they tend to forget after a few minutes and are friends again,” she said. Some of the breeds she has in her house include bulldog, German shepherd, retriever, Chihuahua, poodle, Maltese, Rottweiler, Pomeranian, Bichon Frise, terrier and French pug, among others.
Kuwait Times asked which was the most expensive dog she has bought so far. “I bought some of them, but they are not that expensive. The most expensive one I got was for KD 500,” Jaja said. And how much does she spend for food for the 31 dogs? “Their food is not very expensive. I buy it from the pet market in Al-Rai. My budget is around KD 250 to KD 300 per month, and I also have to pay for grooming, shampoo and vitamins,” she noted.
Despite having many dogs, Jaja says that she is not offering any of them for sale. Instead, she is willing to accept adoption requests. “No, I don’t sell dogs. However, I let people adopt them if they want, but I study and get to know the person to determine if they really want a dog or a toy. I do a background check, and will only give them if they have a history of caring for one or two pets. I don’t give to first-time owners, as they have no idea how to care for them,” Jaja said.
Dogs, according to Jaja, have feelings too, and are man’s best friend. “If you want a dog, consider it as part of the family. Give them complete food, baths and walk them regularly. Here in my place I have space for them, so they can run and play,” she said. “Do not adopt a pet if you have no time for them, whether it is a dog, cat, bird or fish. It needs you more than you need them,” she said.
Since she was eight, Jaja has never had a year without a dog. Even after she moved to Kuwait, there was never a year when she hadn’t had dogs in her house. “The first dog I had when I married my husband is still with us. We’ve been married since 2009 – almost 12 years now. She is old and has no teeth, but she still plays with me. She is quiet now, unlike when she was younger,” she said.
Most of Jaja’s dogs belonged to people she knew, and others whose owners left for good. “When I see stray dogs, I feel very sorry for them. If they can be brought home, I bring them and give them shelter. I give them food and medical attention too if they are sick. All my dogs have names, and I have medical records for every one of them,” she said.
Jaja’s house in Kabd also has farm animals. There are several lambs, ducks, turkeys and chickens in her backyard. “If we need fresh meat, we get it from the farm. This place is run by my sister and all the work here is handled by her. If I need two or three dogs in my flat, I take them from here and replace them with a new set of dogs the next day,” she said.