Forget team sports or social clubs, animal lovers in Jordan are determined not to leave their beloved pups at home and are banding together for social walks.
Pet dogs were once an uncommon sight in Jordan, but pampered pooches are now out in force on the streets of Amman, thanks to a weekly walk organized by local pet company Aleef Express.
Around thirty people and their dogs were out for a walk this week.
Organiser Sufian Hourani says it helps the dogs’ temperaments and teaches them good manners.
“During our work, we found out that there are problems facing dog owners and their dogs. Dogs need to exercise daily. Owners can’t find the time to walk their dogs. Also, (the dogs) need socialization and to see other dogs. Their temperament improves and they will get used to seeing other dogs so they don't become aggressive or develop behavioral issues where they can’t interact with other dogs. So we said let’s arrange an event and encourage people. The event is free. Each person brings their dog and walks together,” organizer Sufian Hourani, from Aleef Express, said.
Pet ownership has been on the increase in Jordan as families grow smaller and adopt Western lifestyles.
The import of food, medicine, and accessories used for pets increased 21.3 per cent last year, Hourani said.
Pet services are expanding and the weekly walk certainly has tails wagging, but owners say they enjoy the outing just as much.
“This is the best event that could happen in Jordan because when someone is walking their dog alone might feel bored. But when we all come here, each one with their dog, it is fun, and bring their friend, everyone walks together,” Mohammad al-Ani, a dog owner, said.
Hourani says both Jordanians and foreign nationals make up the group of walkers.
As for the dogs, even those that need to be carried make a show.
“Of course, this is useful for dogs, so they can meet. We can create a new environment for dogs to adapt to it. More people should come as it is important for dogs to meet. People should show their dogs a life different to their normal daily life at home,” Tala Haqqi, said.
Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, and Golden Retrievers are the most popular breeds in the country.
On the weekly Amman walk however all breeds - big and small - are welcome.