Paws and Whiskers
BY ANAAM IKRAM
An animal-lover from the beginning, Mariam Al Shakar’s enthusiasm towards pets and the joy they bring brought her closer to her dream of opening her own pet store. Citing dogs as her favourite pets, Mariam has dedicated herself to caring for them and opened her boutique pet store to serve a comfortable, relaxing, and fun environment for the dogs in her care. Mariam spoke to Perle Magazine about her exciting facility and its playful tenants.
Finding the company of pets as a relaxing escape from a tedious routine, Mariam says she would always find comfort surrounded by animals. “When you’re stressed or when you have a lot on your mind, I find it very helpful to just go and play with animals”, she says. Partnering with one of her close friends, Mariam decided to open her own pet-store to be able to be around her favourite animal all the time. Opening Paws and Whiskers in 2014, the pet shop is truly a one-of-a-kind. Unlike most pet shops, Mariam allows the dogs to roam freely within the shop twice a day, and has spacious playpens for them to rest and play in. “I do not like seeing pets in a cage, I think its healthier for them to be free”, Mariam says. Home to 7 different breeds at the moment, Paws and Whiskers is open to take in dogs who are looking for a new home as well as those who need a place to stay while the owners are away on holiday.
Paws and Whiskers not only helps place dogs in good homes, but also has “Children’s Playtime” where customers can book a time for their children to play with the dogs, walk the dogs, and be part of grooming activities. In the morning, for example, children would be allowed to bathe the dogs and be taught how to clip nails, whereas in the daytime they can take the dogs for a walk. Not just for children, adults too are welcome to come and play with the dogs or spend time in the shop and relax. One of the elements that makes Paws and Whiskers a comfortable and fun place to be in for the customers and animals is because of the high levels of cleanliness and lack of odour that is normally associated with pet shops. “I make sure we clean the shop thoroughly. It is one of my requirements that the shop has to be clean.
I also make sure the shop is ventilated and mopped three times a day”, Mariam says, and adds that cleanliness is very important for a healthy and pleasant environment.
Home to Pomeranian, Maltese-Shitzu, German Spitz, Labrador-Dachshund, King Charles Spaniel, Siberian Huskies and Dachshunds, Mariam explains that sometimes people have to give away their dogs out for adoption so she takes them in to find them good homes. Other times people want to sell puppies from a puppy litter and she assists with that. Mariam says based on the customers’ requests she also helps them find the breed they are looking for.
Having read extensively about the different dog breeds and how to care for them over the years, Mariam says she is lucky that most of the dogs that come to her are well trained and she does not have to be too disciplined with them. When the new dogs come in, she says, they fit in well with the older dogs and sometimes start behaving like them too.
Looking to branch out to Oman, Mariam says they are in the works to expand in the next 6 months or so. Of Paws and Whiskers in Bahrain so far, Mariam says she enjoys seeing people come into the store and spend time there to unwind. “People just find it very relaxing to play with dogs, its very soothing especially after a long day at work”, she says. Friendly and eager to bond with all the customers that walk through the doors, the dogs at Paws and Whiskers truly give a new meaning to the saying “dogs are a man’s best friend”.
For more information:
Opening hours: 9am-8.30pm
Uptown Village, Budaiya Highway
(00973) 3777 2126 / (00973) 1782 2505
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