Take a walk on the wild side
Go off the beaten track with your four-legged friend
Next month’s Human and K9 Ultimate Challenge offers people and their four-legged friends a fantastic chance to escape the city and go off the beaten track.
The fifth edition of the event takes place on Friday, November 11 in Ras Al Khaimah. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore a scenic and unseen part of the UAE in good company.
Numbers have steadily increased since the inaugural challenge, which took place in January 2015, with creatures great and small – from great Danes to Chihuahuas – taking on the tough terrain.
Dogs and humans will get a lot out of the event as organiser Hussain Darwish explains: “You totally forget about everything that has been on your mind back home or in the office, because at that moment you have to think about where you are stepping and where you are climbing and what is next for you and the dog, and the people with you.
“For the dogs there are new smells and new things to look at. It’s different to any other walk they go on.”
Five different groups will set off at different times on a course, which has five different checkpoints and experts on hand to ensure the safety and health of both animal and human participants.
Each stage will bring tougher challenges, but walkers and pets can turn back at any time. It’s not exactly your every day walk in the park, but the safety aspect is hugely important to the organisers, who have already staged three events in the mountains and one in the desert. Hussain explains: “This is a different kind of event, because we go to a place where cars and bikes can’t go. Only legwork and hard work will get you there. So we have to think about the safety aspect, not only for the people taking the challenge but for the dogs as well. We have someone assess the dogs without people knowing, to see if they are friendly or not. Aggressive dogs are not allowed.” With so many apartments in Dubai, not everyone can live with man’s best friend. Organisers are encouraging keen walkers to adopt a dog for the day either from K9 Friends (k9friends.com) or Ras Al Khaimah animal welfare (rakawc.com) Previous challenges have found new homes for 28 dogs. Hussain says: “We want to encourage people to take the dogs out and exercise more. “There are people and dogs who are not fit enough but hopefully this will push people to go out more and enjoy the outdoors.” email@example.com