So, last month I mentioned that I’ve moved to Amwaj. Part of the appeal was the cleaner air, walker- and cyclist-friendly roads and, of course, beach access.
I had visions of taking home the rescue dogs I sponsor and spending delightful early mornings welcoming the dawn together as we explored the island’s highways and byways – alright maybe not quite dawn but you get my drift.
And in preparation for possible future dog ownership, I happily threw myself into two weeks of dog sitting and me and Gigi, my fluffy, four-legged charge, became a regular sight ambling along the beach outside her mum’s villa.
For me, one of the greatest joys of having a canine companion (and yes this is not my first doggy experience, I was owned by a red setter for many years before heading to Bahrain), is the walking.
It doesn’t matter how grumpy or worse for wear you might be feeling, that expectant wet nose stuck in your face at silly o’clock in the morning – well, for me, it’s totally irresistible.
The leash was always by the door along with a good supply of poo bags.
And that’s where I’ve been shocked in Amwaj, the number of people who think it’s OK to let their dogs relieve themselves wherever they like and just leave it there for others to walk in, roll buggies through or whatever.
Having had dogs as a kid back in the UK, there was a time, many years ago, when no-one even thought about cleaning up after their pets – though you did blush furiously when Fido chose to deposit a steaming package outside the gate of your latest crush (or was that just me?).
But I’m showing may age and, a bit like driving without a seat belt (and don’t even get me started on the subject of child car seats), those days are long gone.
I can’t remember walking a dog at any time in the last 20 years without bags to clean up after my pet so I’m utterly amazed at the dog owners of Amwaj.
After all, I would imagine we’ve all moved there because of the environment so why are they not doing their bit to keep it clean?
From pavements to waste ground to grass verges to the beaches, there seems to be nowhere free from dog poo and it’s really not pretty!
Some will say they’re not responsible because the maid/driver walks the dog. Well aside from the issue of why you’d even have a dog if you can’t be bothered to care for it, at the end of the day it’s still your dog and that includes the poop!
Others whine that picking up doggy doo is ‘not very nice’. Well, think about how much more unpleasant it is for the young mum who gets it all over the wheels of her buggy and treks it through the house or the kids who step in it playing ball on the beach, they want sand between their toes not something unmentionable.
Lots of countries don’t even allow dogs on their beaches for exactly this reason and, though I’m a dog lover (some would say dog bore) through and through, I can’t say I blame them.
So come on Amwaj dog owners, it really isn’t that hard to arm yourselves (or your maids or drivers) with a couple of carrier bags when you head out for Fido’s constitutional.