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Empowered Women -A key target in Vision 2030

WSB Admin 26/02/2019 0

By Talat Jalali

Women Empowerment is a process to make the women financially independent, educated and progressive, enjoying a good social status. Women since ages have been struggling to be socially and professionally recognized as equivalent to men, even though they constitute almost half of the population in the world.

Women empowerment will take a prominent role in highlighting the Kingdom’s vision 2030 and the Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman’s grand vision behind Vision 2030 is to transform the Saudi economy from one of oil dependence to a post-oil economy which aims to reestablish Saudi as a more modern, tourist-friendly destination. Over the last year, under  Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman’s leadership, many formulating strategies and initiating processes started especially addressing the youth and the role of the women in Saudi Arabia have been launched.

These have been critical in creating a transformational societal change to the role of women which have been brought about by the government policies and initiatives aimed at empowering them. Some of the most remarkable of these have been permitting women to work, with many public sector jobs now targeted at women, providing funding for women to be educated in foreign universities; employment of women within the military has been opened up.

One of the most historic decisions announced in September 2017, in which decades-old driving ban on women was lifted. Saudi Arabia issued the first licenses to women in June 2018.The first women to drive in Saudi Arabia have spoken of their relief at being self-reliant. They referenced the anti-harassment law that accompanied the lifting of the ban, crediting it with creating a safe atmosphere for the new women drivers.

Saudi women and their empowerment is vital in Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020. Saudi women have recently been appointed to leadership positions, especially in the financial sector. These include Lubna Al-Olayan, chairwoman of the merged Saudi British Bank with Alawwal Bank; Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of Tadawul; and Rania Nashar, CEO of Samba Financial Group.[1]

Some noted among the initiatives of the Kingdom include; the “Qurra” program that was launched to support childcare services for working women, and the “Wusul” program to support the transfer of working women. The ministry of Labor and Social Development also launched the “Support for Self-Employment” program, that enables women to earn according to their skills, and the “Part-time” and “Remote Working” programs that enable women to strike a balance between work and taking care of the family.

Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman’s overall challenge is to turn the population, into a society which is based on the skills, talent and hard work. Empowerment of women in society is seen to be an important part in achieving the goals of Vision 2030. As the country moves toward achieving Vision 2030, women continue to seek higher education and learn new skills; they are being more conscious about their health, education, career, job and responsibilities towards family, society and country, taking part and showing great interest in each field.  Society must also take initiative to create a climate in which women have full opportunities participating in every field of life.

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Empowering Women

WSB Admin 25/02/2019 0

By Sairah Zubair Khan & Faiqa Zubair Khan

                                                  I really identify with the concept on the left, the Japanese art of Kintsukuroi. It really makes sense to me, that what breaks us, somehow makes us more beautiful…

How can one woman empower another? An interesting concept to reflect on, I feel.

Yet it got me thinking about my own relationship, with my daughter.

Do I empower her to achieve greatness or do I hinder her, with my worries for her future? I often think back to how my Mother raised me. I would like to think, that I am from a line of strong women. From my Grandmother, to my Mother, to my daughter and me. In our own unique way, we have dealt with struggle and adversity, yet our fighting spirit remains.

How did each generation support one another? By being generous with praise, having ‘each other’s backs,’ and having hope that your child would achieve more than you…

My daughter often shares with me, her anecdotes about school life and I remind her the core values of honesty, integrity, loyalty and respect amongst her female friends.

She has come to realise an important life lesson. When you do well in something, how many people are there to support you and lift you? Do they join in and congratulate you, or stay on the side-lines and sulk at your victory?       

I really believe in the adage of a kind heart. Beauty without a kind heart is like having no soul. I have a female friend, she has recently moved here from Ireland. When I see and greet her, a smile and giggle escapes from my lips. Her eyes are so twinkly, I am certain she will tell me a funny story or joke!

She often complains, I didn’t say anything yet?! I lovingly tell her every time, habibiti you don’t need to! I know what you are about to say will crack me up every time. To have friends like this is a blessing, a joy in life.

This is how women empower each other, they make you feel good about yourself, without even trying.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th Of March 2019, we have to remember what makes us strong? As women, we all have many roles that we perform daily, and even in our lowest moments we put each other’s needs first.

We are selfless to the core, yet we underestimate and sometimes undervalue our integral role in society.

We should always be valued and empowered, especially by each other.  

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Reinventing Yourself

WSB Admin 25/02/2019 0

By Kelly Downing

Is it a blessing or a curse to find yourself in Saudi Arabia unable to legally work?  A curse of boredom and uselessness or a blessing of the opportunity to reinvent yourself and discover new ways to prosper?  I’d encourage you to embrace the circumstances you’re in and take a page from Ariana Grande’s book (song) by loving yourself.  It turns out that the empowering woman you need may be found within.

The wonderful thing about our position is that it gives us the freedom to pursue our interests and develop new skills that the rat race back home may not afforded us the time to do.  Take the chance to develop skills that you can use on your resume in the future.  Develop expertise that you can take anywhere in the world. 

Riyadh offers a welcoming professional networking scene as well as a consumer-base that is open and eager to try home-based businesses.  By networking and volunteering, you may find a position that will give you skills that are easily transferable back home (e.g. event planning, fundraising).  By pursuing a marketable interest (e.g. party services, baked goods, coaching, beauty, fitness, crafts), you may find yourself making a little more than pocket money.  The options are here for you to choose.

Two years ago, I became a licensed Realtor in the United States and decided to open a real estate business here in Riyadh.  I practiced here and enjoyed the work a lot.  Yet, despite earning praise from clients, I found it was nearly impossible to be paid.  I had the ability to put up a fight and force payment but I decided that is not how I wanted to use my energy.  Realizing that I need work that pays in cash instead of compliments, I chose to put that business on hold.  (I still freely give real estate tips, which need to be paid in neither cash nor compliments.)

Although I didn’t turn into a real estate mogul, I did gain professional experience and expertise.  The option is always there for me to return.  Yet, at this point, the empowering decision was to choose to disengage from the business I built.

Disengaging opened me up to other opportunities.  I now write as a freelancer for select Riyadh-based publications.  I enjoy the work and the benefits that come with it.  I meet many interesting people and expand my mind through exposure and experiences.  I love the challenge of making pieces both unbiased and genuine.  I am very conscious that there is not much written about Saudi Arabia and, thus, it is an honor to do so.  At this point, this is my perfect fit.

That is what’s so lovely about living here.  We have the luxury to find our perfect fits over and over again.  We have the ability to challenge and mold ourselves, both professionally and personally, through the experiences we choose. 

Now, if I’ve persuaded you to turn a new leaf, so to speak, but you could still use some thoughts on how to get going, connect with me. I do enjoy giving tips when I can because supporting other women empowers us all.  Feel free to reach out to me at kelly@sharakahmedia.com.

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Women’s Silicon Valley of Europe

WSB Admin 25/02/2019 0

By Rositsa Dorovska

In my home country – Bulgaria, we used to celebrate International Women‘s day, before it was officially adopted by the United Nations in 1975, due to our communist past. The Soviet Union doctrine was about fast industrialization and women were treated and paid, equally as men. For that reason, 8th of march was popular as the special  female workmate day…It‘s been, sort of, obligatory for the men, to buy flowers for their women colleagues, on the occasion. In the evenings, women usually would have thrown parties, the so called banquets to cherish their feast.

Nowadays, the banquets and the flowers are still on the agenda, but the significance and the meaning of the International Women‘s day is often disputed. Many people, including women, sensitive on the communism topic, are denying 8th of March as a Soviet Union relic and are openly refusing to celebrate it. Others, from the younger generation, prefer to celebrate the femininity or the motherhood, on this day, which is totally wrong. As we all know, the history behind the International Women‘s day, leads back to massive strikes and demonstrations of women, demanding for their rights – the suffrage right and at its foundation is a civil awarness against any discrimination.

Despite the controversies around the socialistic roots of the feast, women in Bulgaria have a great advantage comparing to the other European countries in one specific field – the IT sector. According to the Euro state statistics, Bulgaria has the most women in Tech in the EU, and the merit goes ironically, to the communism. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or the STEM disciplines were not kept only for men, under the communist regime. Women were pursuing careers in STEM for the needs of the Soviet economy and obviously, that tradition is somehow hereditary. Today around 30% of Bulgarian women are in the high tech industry, including coding and artificial intelligence (compared to the EU average of 16% ). Some of them are even running their own companies in the field or /and educating young girls to code, through a variety of courses and tech conferences.

Mariya Gabrial – EU Commissioner for digital economy and society

The EU Commissioner for digital economy and society is a Bulgarian woman, as well – Mariya Gabriel. But her name is only one amongst the many names of women, getting well known for their expertise in the ICT sector. Tech jobs are usually with flexible working hours, so women can easily manage the work-life balance, which is another advantage, apart from the good profit. Still, there is much to be done, to overcome the gender pay gap, even in the Technology, but the Bulgarian capital – Sofia, has already been named as the European Silicon Valley for women and that is promising enough.

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Women Empowerment

WSB Admin 23/02/2019 0

By Anne McGarth

I think I was very lucky that I went to a school where the ethos was that we could become or achieve whatever we wanted so long as we had aptitude and worked hard. We were unaware that we might come across any other obstacles such as sexism, ageism, racism, or any other ‘ism’, we just had an innate belief that everyone was equal and that success would stem from the effort you put in.

In my family too my parents never put down boundaries. They never said: ‘that is for boys’ or ‘this is for girls’.

I also had a role model of a grandmother who was a family doctor. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin in the 1920s, so not the first, but still something of a trailblazer in a male dominated profession nearly 100 years ago.

And so I grew up expecting that my talents alone would lead me to success in whatever field I chose, that I would control my life and make my own choices. Of course while that is how it should be, with life experience I know that is unfortunately still more aspiration than reality.

I still believe that you should succeed on merit, but during my career I know I have lost out on jobs because I was female. I also worked in one newsroom where all my colleagues were men and I was on the lowest salary even though I was better qualified (if less experienced) than the men. Needless to say I fought to have salary increased, banked the experience and moved on!

Although the struggle for female empowerment continues and some countries are more advanced than others, there is progress.

There are more and more women breaking through the glass ceiling and taking up positions of leadership. Politics is a good example of where that change is happening. In the UK, the Prime Minister is a woman and the First Ministers of both Scotland and Northern Ireland are also women. There are also a record number of women serving in the US Congress making up nearly a quarter of its voting membership for the first time ever.

In her concession speech in 2016 Hillary Clinton said: “‘To all the little girls who are watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your dreams.’

We might not be there yet, but if all the little girls and boys today believe those words then the future will not only be bright, it will be feminist.

Blog: ourbigarabianadventure.com

Instagram: anne.mcgrath248

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Finding the Joy of Girl Power!

WSB Admin 23/02/2019 0

By Lizzie Daniell

With March celebrating International Women’s Day, it’s time to reconnect with our femininity and those wonderful female energies around us – reminding ourselves how amazing we are and how much joy we are able to emanate to the world!

(Hey guys, this article is no reflection on your impact in our life’s – promise – you are amazing, its just a celebration to us!)

I’ve often heard it said that regardless of the position in the home (mother, daughter, wife, grandmother) our energy is what holds it up/lets it fall – right girls?  Sounds like lots of pressure to me.. but is it true?

I spoke to many colleagues and friends and put it to the test… would you believe it, sounds like there might be something in it:

“Why is it when we are low or down, that energy goes out to the family/home… no one else steps up to change it?”

“Sometimes I’d just like others in my family to be the gatherer and lift those spirits and keep that positive energy going!”

“I am lucky, as when I am not feeling joyous and happy, my husband steps up and gathers us in…. he remarks – that being part of a heavy female family (three girls and one male dog), estrogen is probably coming out of his paws too (lol!)”

Sometimes we underestimate our impact and don’t realize what a difference we make regardless of how the world see us now and what the current expectations are on women – interestingly, often created by ourselves! Whether at home, holding down a couple of jobs, travelling, at the gym, walking the dog, running workshops, lecturing, on the school run, teaching, or all of the above  – we are incredible, so don’t let anyone take that away!

Our partners, friends and work colleagues see it, even our kids see it, why don’t we?

Is it that we are constantly striving to be better in others eyes, trying to please all or is it that we let society blindside us to believe whatever is the latest ‘IN’, ‘way to be’ is the only way; and if we don’t follow that trend, we fail! 

Cause lets be honest wonderful ladies, as we age with ‘grace and beauty’, and go through life’s rich (sometimes demanding) tapestry, we get stronger and should remember to look inward and trust that bright light called ‘intuition’ that lurks inside. This has been passed to us through generations of amazing women before us, under grace and in the perfect way and most importantly … with love!

So with this being ‘our’ month, let that wonderful female energy shine out and share those thoughts, joys, actions and all with love – we owe it to ourselves!

We are powerful beings and deserve the world!

With so much joy and girl power, until next time!!

Lizzie Whizz xx

  • If you would like to contribute to an article or send me something to upload, please email me lizziefindingjoy@gmail.com
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WSB Inspiring Woman: Bethany Al Haidari – Oz Yoga Studio

WSB Admin 23/02/2019 0

     Tell us about yourself?

I’m a single mother to my beautiful Zaina, I am originally from the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the United States. I am a PhD Candidate in Human Rights Law and a lover of yoga, travel and handstands.

     What made you start Oz? 

I was diagnosed with postpartum depression after I gave birth to my daughter. I struggled being away from my friends and family in Saudi as a new parent for the first time. Yoga helped me through that battle, everything I practised on the mat was a metaphor for things going on in my life. It allowed me to reconnect with myself after many years of being lost, it became something I wanted to share with the community.

     How long have you been in business in Riyadh?

I opened up my home studio and took on my first client in January of 2017, I was granted the SAGIA license in May of 2018. Running a home studio and an actual studio are incomparable, but the home studio process was a necessity for me to be prepared for what would come. 

     Have you had formal training or are you self-taught?

My journey started with youtube and Instagram, I was inspired by others and learned from them. I was formally trained and registered first with CorePower Yoga in 2016, then did my first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification in 2017, I continued with further training in India and Bali to also be certified in Kalari Prana Vinyasa and Aerial Yoga. In yoga, as in life, nobody is truly “self taught”, we all have teachers in some form or another.  

     What does Oz Yoga offer?

An incredible family of clients, staff, and instructors who are there for transformation and self-inquiry. We also have Yoga classes of many different varieties. For kids, for adults, for women, for men,  and for people of all backgrounds and levels. We also offer yoga retreats around the world and teacher trainings for individuals looking to become Certified Yoga Instructors..

     What makes Oz unique?

OZ focuses only on yoga and how to look deeper into our personal journeys. We try to integrate the ethics of the practice into the business model, and try to encourage personal practice among our members. We are a small start up, we are proud to clean up after ourselves, we try our best to offer reasonable prices, and we try to accept everyone where they are at. We are not a gym or studio, we are a safe space where people use breath, mindfulness, and movement to dive deeper into their own journey and in connection to the community around them. 

     What is a typical day like for you?

Each day with the studio looks different, but I never have an alarm clock as my daughter wakes me up at 6am every morning. I make her breakfast and get her ready and drop her off at school, then return to the studio to teach private sessions throughout the day or whatever scheduled classes I have. I clean the studio a couple times a day, check people into classes, organize the schedule with the teachers each week, post to social media daily, try to organize events for the studio, plan new retreats, respond to social media, email and phone calls, head to the bank, pay bills. Saturday is my day off, but a lot of weeks I don’t have a day off. Some days I pop in and out of the studio and run errands and teach private sessions. Other days I am there from 9am to 10pm. It all depends. Every minute I have free from the studio I’m with my daughter.

     What do you enjoy the most about your work?

Yoga attracts some really great human beings, and I’ve met such an incredible community of people who have loved, supported me and uplifted me more than they will ever know. I love to see them develop in their journey, and in yoga we deal with some pretty deep life issues, I love going there.  The other incredible thing is the family of teachers that we have working at the studio. 

      What is the hardest part about your work?

Opening a new business is so difficult. Also, coming from a yoga studio culture in the USA that is very well developed, being the first studio of our kind in Saudi Arabia was difficult to try to create a new business model and culture in the community. The first three months I worked 80-90 hour weeks, and didn’t have a single day off. Being a single mom, going through divorce and some very deep life stuff on top of that was so tough. I struggle with being a business owner and having to pay bills. It’s hard to have something you love that you want to offer to everyone for free, but cannot. Turning passion into business has its perks, and its also difficult as we’ve had thousands of people through the studio now, its harder to get to know everyone who visits on a deeper level.

      Tell us about your journey of starting your own business in Riyadh.

I had been running a yoga studio from my home, as yoga was previously not permitted in the Kingdom, and as far as I knew foreigners couldn’t open start ups. When my ex-husband quit his job I was faced with the reality that I didn’t have anyone to depend on to raise my daughter but myself. I used my savings from private clients and teaching out of the home to get my license from SAGIA. I had to battle to find a government sponsored individual to hear my business plan and financial projections for the company. When the vision plan for the company was approved by the head of the Entrepreneurship institute, I partnered with my dear friend and long-time client Diana who invested into the idea and believed in me. Together we expanded and battled in government ministries to get all the required approvals, which seemed endless. I started the legalization process in May and we opened our doors in September. We started with not a single riyal in the bank, and have had to build everything from scratch and hire help little by little. It wasn’t the smartest way to start a company or the easiest, but we have had an incredible team that has worked their hearts out to make sure it would survive. I hope it continues to do so.

     What advice would you give women considering starting their own business in the Kingdom?

I would say it’s a battle. Get a good lawyer. Be super detailed and clear about everything so that there is no confusion. Be diligent about your vision and trust what you uniquely have to offer. Listen to the people around you but trust your intuition. Also, there is always someone out there doing the same thing as you, don’t compete – support each other. There are so many things that should be simple here, but are so complicated and nothing is what it seems. Arabic is a must. If you don’t speak Arabic, you NEED someone who absolutely trust with your life to carry you through. 

     Where can creative women go to network in Riyadh?

To OZ yoga studio of course! 

      Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?

My motto always changes depending on my life season – but right now I’m inspired by trying to be the best example of unwavering strength, of resilience, and grit to my lovely daughter Zaina. My girl is a Saudi American, and I want her to know that even in the most difficult of circumstances, as an outsider – mommy could do it here, and did it for her. Or she tried her best anyways…

Contact Information & Social Media

My personal Instagram : @Zainas_Mama

OZ Yoga Studio: @OZ_yoga_studio

Om Zaina Yoga Company 

7320 Amr Ahdhamry Street, Suite 67

Diplomatic Quarters, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 12512

+966 538 000 126

www.omzainayoga.com

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For the love of food

WSB Admin 30/01/2019 0

By Leigh-Jane Obermayer

As soon as you set foot into Riyadh’s Eataly branch, you enter a sphere of Italian food loving. The Italians have always been passionate about food and the art of dining; mealtimes are ingrained in their culture, the importance ofspending time with family. Eating is a passion, a time for pleasure and leisure.

Eataly’s unique concept – the combination of a marketplace for highest-quality Italian foods and a restaurant – is a place which captures a piece of this passion for food, family time and the art of great cooking but offers unique shopping, culinary and Italian coffee drinking experience. Just like in Rome, New York, Munich, Tokyo, Los Angeles, this concept, founded only 15 years ago in Turin, has created a loyal following for its Thalia branch.

Manager Bilal Hakim and his team serve daily Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (“all day dining”). The choices range from traditional Italian Antipasto to classics such as Pizza, Pasta & Risotto. Eataly also serves various meat and fish dishes – we particularly liked the Agnello Brasato, a slowcooked, “falling off the bone” braised lamb shank. Our favourite Antipasti was difficult to determine: we could not decide between the Carpaccio di Polpo, a dish of thinly sliced cooked octopus with rocket, capers and black olives, or the healthy (and vegetarian!) Insalata Elegante, which is a mix of fresh pears, mixed green salad andParmigiano Reggiano with walnuts and balsamic dressing.

When exiting the restaurant, you will find it hard to resisthaving a look at the merchandise: Eataly’s retail offering ranges from fresh breads and fresh meat and cheese counter to traditional Italian olive oils, balsamic vinegars and, of course, various Italian sweets and chocolates. Allof which we would put in the high-end, luxury segment. Hence, a gift voucher (on sale in the store) can make others feel loved.

Occasionally, Eataly offers ‘cooking classes’ such as “make you own pizza” or “make your own pasta”. We were fortunate to be part of a large school class arranged by the PTA at the British International School. Eataly’s specialised team provided cooking stations within a private area of the restaurant for almost 50 students over 2 sessions. The students were given a brief history of Italian cuisine and were taught how to prepare a Chocolate Calzone along with a “Dough” sing-song. The students were able to eat their creations along with ice cream and oranges, then presented with a certificate of participation. An excellent opportunity for all the family as parents got to observe the class while enjoyingg delights from the menu.

You may have guessed already, we very much like Eataly, not only for providing great educational, delicious entertainment for school communities but for bringing a diverse range of up-market Italian dishes and products straight to our doorstep in Riyadh.

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Love your kids before they leave the nest

WSB Admin 30/01/2019 0

By Saima

Today was a normal day. Sunny and nice!

Nice weather and kids around me. My son was having his breakfast and I was getting his bag ready for school. He wanted to draw something before leaving but the driver was outside and he I had to send him. I gave him a paper and a pencil to draw in the car while going to school.

Then the routine chores cycle started and I had to cook, clean, iron and more stuff to get done. My younger kid was up then and I served him breakfast and started folding clean laundry near him. He wanted me to give him bites but I told him he is a big boy now and I have so much stuff to do.

But you know what, I wanted my kid to draw that car before he left for school. I just got carried away with the fear of getting late from school. I wanted to help my little one and accompany him while tracing but I had to take that important phone call.

I just didn’t!

But u know, in a blink, kids grow up! There will be a time in a few years when there would be no tracing, no breakfast bites, no coloring, and no more tantrums. One day you will notice there will be no more piles of homework and no more storybooks to read.

So if you have a chance to sit down with your kids and ignore those emails or those calls just for the sake of their happiness, do that!

I know cleaning the kitchen before sleeping is a great habit but somedays I just don’t want to leave the warm hugs of my kids so I leave the kitchen and forget about the dishes and we read stories and talk about dinosaurs and rockets.

Our kids grow up when we don’t even realize how fast this all happens. With every passing day, we step closer to the time when our kids will leave our nests and there will be empty rooms. Doesn’t matter if you have girls or boys!

So please dear mommy, sit with your kid and read that story.

Help him trace that alphabet.

Help him in coloring that pirate ship.

Forget the dishes and hug them more.

Because this is what we moms do!

Lots of love,

Saima aka A Supertiredmom

https://asupertiredmom.com/

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My gorgeous fur babies

WSB Admin 30/01/2019 2

By Deepa Thomas-Sutcliffe.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. Josh Billings

I am a lucky girl, I am loved by not one dog but 3 gorgeous dogs – Sandy, Puppichino and Mocha Boy. I wanted to share my story with you and hope to inspire more of you to rescue a pet one day.

Soon after my dream wedding in Mumbai, my husband and I moved to New Delhi as he was transferred there. One of our evening rituals soon became to walk around the quiet lanes of Anand Niketan and feed over 20 street dogs who lived there. We went through a lot of dog food but got repaid in love, welcome woofs and wagging tails. One of the dogs had a litter of puppies in our first month there and we started taking milk, yoghurt and puppy food for the puppies and partnered with other dog lovers to take them to their vaccinations at the friendly vet. Little did we know how important they would become to our life.

One day, we realised one of our friendly street dogs was limping badly and looking miserable at the side of the road. He had been run over and was being given some first aid by a kind dog lover. He had deep cuts on his front paw and nose and was whimpering in pain. We picked up him up and took him home where he was cowering under the table. Every day, we would take him to the vet to be treated and then home to rest. He slowly grew in confidence and knew he was safe. Once he was finally recovered, we thought of releasing him back to the street. He soon let us and our security guards know that he preferred living with us. The third time, he came back to our home, we decided we would keep him. Sandy has now been with us for over 3 years and has lived in India, UK & now Saudi Arabia. He is a very happy dog, extremely loving and cuddly. He can be quite mischievous and adores toys and treats. His eyes are magnetic and often gets many people and dogs drawn to him. He has a great love of dates developed here in the Kingdom.

That was October 2015, a few short months later, August 2016, Puppichino entered our life. He was badly wounded on his back where some bigger dog had taken a big chunk out of this then 9-month-old puppy. He was one of the puppies we were looking after and we again took him in to care for him and take him to the vet. He again decided to stay and we realised he was good company for Sandy when we went to work. He is very affectionate and soon convinced us we are his ‘hoomans‘. Puppichino has traits of his border collie ancestry in him and is very intelligent. He can open doors, nudges you for strokes with his paw or head and is like a shadow to my hubby or me. Puppy reminds me to take a break when I am studying for my MBA or working on the newsletter. He is not much for toys but loves his food and treats. Cats are his enemy and he will try to chase any he spots as he strolls around the DQ. You have to watch any food in his reach as he will help himself to anything he can access – even stole a cupcake right under our nose.

Mocha’s story is similar as he got attacked by dogs in a shelter when he was being neutered. He is Puppichino’s brother and very loving. While bigger than the rest, he has always been shy and a bit of a loner. He is much loved by all of us and still lives in the UK with my in-laws. My mother-in-law is so attached to him that she often sings him to sleep and they share a bedroom. He enjoys crumpets, fish and many things English. My in laws take him on road trips and he keeps them young. We were lucky enough to spend time with him over the recent December holidays and miss him, but are happy he is well loved and looked after.

The great part of having dogs in your life is your routine becomes focused around them –  morning walks to the park, evening walks to the wadi and night walks around the block. The walks needs to happen regardless of how tired  you are  which means they are great for our health. We play with them, cuddle them, bathe them, look after them in many ways. They keep us active, give us so much love that you feel wonderful. They are masters at guilt trips and use their beautiful eyes and cute head tilts to make us feel bad when we go to work and leave them. They always know when we are coming home and meet us at the gate. They are always happy to see you and give you such a warm welcome every day when we come back home. If you are feeling low or ill, Nurse Sandy will cuddle you and give you many loving licks.  We have taken them on road trips including the mini Edge of the World and it’s a happy day for all of us to be exploring together. They make for great guard dogs and Mocha even chased away a burglar who attempted to enter my in-laws house in the UK. Sleeping at night with the gentle snores of our dogs next to us, makes me feel all is right in the world. Do think about rescuing a dog or a cat one day and changing a life.

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