Who let the dogs out? Wagalag did!

If you’re a dog owner in Bahrain, you have no doubt decried the lack of good places to have fun and socialise your pet, safely. When Latifa Algosaibi moved to the island from Italy a year ago, she encountered just that problem and decided to take action. She invited fellow dog lovers to meet at her home and soon Wagalag – a doggy community dedicated to building relationships between our furry friends – was born.

She explains: “I moved to Bahrain from Italy with my Great Dane, Nux, exactly one year ago. I was worried that she would get depressed in Bahrain as she was used to European life; always going to dog parks and always by my side. So, I decided to invite people who have dogs over to my back yard to hang out. People started coming regularly and both Nux and I made friends in Bahrain! Our first Wagalag event was Nux’s birthday last June.”

Now, the group meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6pm to 8pm in Latifa’s garden in Janabiya (subject to Covid restrictions). Dogs and owners get together for some off-leash fun and exercise and Latifa also organises events such as markets, workshops and live music.

Wagawalks, where owners can bring along their pets for some social exercise, take place weekly at locations around the island, depending on the season and weather. Under normal circumstances, attendance can be up to 30 humans per meetup, though this has been reduced in line with Covid rules, and dogs of all different sizes and breeds are welcome.

Latifa says: “Back in Europe, dog parks allow all sizes and breeds. That is what Nux and I have been used to, so I decided to allow all dogs at Wagalag – no sizeism, no breedism!” The only requirement is that dogs must be vaccinated, which is checked at the initial registration.

Not surprisingly, the initiative has received a warm welcome among the doggy community. “It’s been a lot of fun!” says Latifa. “It’s beautiful seeing people from different walks of life getting to know each other through their dogs.” And, asked what the future holds for Wagalag? She cheerfully responds: “Hopefully more events and fun gatherings, as I would love to support the music and art scene in Bahrain.” ✤