DUBAI // Three abandoned dogs are being flown to the United States to start a new life after being adopted by an American rescue centre.
The saluki/greyhound crossbreeds were being looked after by members of the Arabian Saluki Centre of Dubai after they were picked up by Dubai Municipality's Veterinary Section.
Now, after two years of temporary care, they are being taken to San Francisco to find new owners.
"We try to find new homes for the dogs we pick up but it's difficult and we end up having to look after them ourselves," said Trine Lund Petersen, a member of the group.
"We are still working to raise enough money to have a centre of our own, so we have to house dogs with us or friends."
The animals are due to fly this morning via a stopover in Amsterdam. They are being taken in by Greyhound Friends for Life, which will look for new homes for them.
The US animal organisation learnt about the Dubai group after one of its members travelled to the emirate to adopt two salukis.
"We got talking and Greyhound Friends said they would be willing to help by taking in some of the rescued greyhounds when they had space," Mrs Lund Petersen said.
She is accompanying the dogs on the flight, which was paid for through donations and fundraising.
Being crossbreeds, the dogs are a little larger than the average saluki, so special crates had to be found for their transport.
"We've had to transport them as excess luggage otherwise it would have been too expensive," Mrs Lund Petersen said. "We were fortunate to get a donation of larger crates from Pet's Delight."
Dino, a two-year-old male, was rescued last year. Sosie, believed to be between three and five, was taken in a few weeks ago, and Babaevsky, a three-year-old male, was adopted two years ago.
"Babaevsky was in a particularly bad way when he was found and had open wounds," Mrs Lund Petersen said.
Salukis and greyhounds are often used for racing but some are dumped by their owners as unwanted pups or get lost during training.
"It is just a small minority of race owners who do this, the vast majority look after their dogs well," Mrs Lund Peteresen said. "We try to work with them to say that instead of dumping them, we can adopt them, but some of them perhaps don't know about us and so just leave the dogs somewhere.
"Summer is a particularly difficult time for us because people leave and then decide not to take their dogs with them or go on holiday but can't be bothered to pay for boarding at a kennel.
"We even had one case when someone decided to dump their dog because he couldn't look after it because he said it was Ramadan."
At the moment the Dubai centre has 15 dogs. The three going to Greyhound Friends for Life in Auburn, just outside San Francisco, will hopefully be rehomed soon.
"In the US, greyhound mixes [generally crossbreeds with other sighthounds, such as borzoi, Scottish deerhound, saluki and Irish wolfhound] are bred for hunting and to keep coyotes and other predators away from livestock on ranches," said Barbara Judson, president of Greyhound Friends for Life.
"We have always been able to find good homes for the hybrids.
"Depending on their age, temperament, and socialisation needs, it may take longer to find a good match for them than for the ex-racing greyhounds, but the right match eventually comes along.
"For the three dogs arriving on Thursday, we already have several people interested in both fostering and adopting them."
The group hopes to adopt more dogs from Dubai when they can raise money for flights. To adopt a dog or to support the Dubai centre, visit their Facebook page or email email@example.com.