ABU DHABI // While many Saluki dogs are getting pampered and prepared for competition, others are just fighting to survive.
In September, for example, Rina Bradley, a volunteer for Strays of Abu Dhabi, (SAD) found a skinny, bruised Saluki wandering around the Mushrif area. The dog had a long, heavy chain tied around her neck, and no collar.
"They just tightly joined the links of the chain together around her neck and tied it with a twisted wire, which kept on poking her neck. She had holes in her neck because of it, and she must have been walking around with this heavy chain for months and months," said Mrs Bradley.
The dog, later named Judy, was too scared to come close to Mrs Bradley. She left food for the animal.
Around Christmas, Mrs Bradley noticed the dog was pregnant, and afterwards she and her husband went searching for the puppies. They were found in an abandoned house.
"It was a horrible place," said Mrs Bradley, whose organisation is attempting to find a permanent home for Judy and other stray dogs in Abu Dhabi.
"It was full of debris. I tried contacting shelters, but no one could take all of them, and the puppies can't be separated yet."
After a lot of searching, Mrs Bradley called Raghad Autubashi, who runs a rescue centre called Al Rahma. Within hours, a couple were found who were willing to foster the dogs.
SAD has been rescuing dogs and puppies since it started re-homing strays in April 2006. Rachel Shaw, the director of SAD, said the group sterilises each dog it gets.
"If Judy had been sterilised, there would be one dog looking for a good home, not 10," Ms Shaw said.
She said often, when people neglect to neuter their pets, they dump the puppies - either in the desert or in a waste area - and perpetuate the stray-dog problem.
At SAD, there is an average of six adoptions per month. The organisation found homes for 74 dogs last year, and 83 in 2009.
"Probably hundreds of dogs die each year from road traffic accidents and worse still by poisoning or shooting," Ms Shaw said.
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is in the process of opening a shelter for stray dogs, where they will be neutered and vaccinated.
But for now, Judy and her puppies are looking for a loving family that will permanently take them.
"We are the voices for those who cannot speak. If we don't speak up for them, who will?" Mrs Bradley said.
Anyone interested in adopting the dogs can call Mrs Bradley at 050 616 4722 or go to the SAD website: www.straysofabudhabi.com.