Pet Houses in Eastern Province keeps your animal friends safe for you

Pet Houses in Eastern Province keeps your animal friends safe for you
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The unique thing about the cat hotel is that every cat is examined daily by a veterinarian on the premises. Each cat owner has to fill out a detailed form including information about contacts, preferences and health. (Supplied)
Pet Houses in Eastern Province keeps your animal friends safe for you
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The unique thing about the cat hotel is that every cat is examined daily by a veterinarian on the premises. Each cat owner has to fill out a detailed form including information about contacts, preferences and health. (Supplied)
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Updated 18 August 2022

Pet Houses in Eastern Province keeps your animal friends safe for you

Pet Houses in Eastern Province keeps your animal friends safe for you
  • Cat hotel can take over 50 animals to look after whilst owners are abroad

ALKHOBAR: When clinic manager Ruba Al-Mandeel goes into work at her family-owned pet clinic, Pet Houses, in the Eastern Province, she never knows what animal she will find. Sometimes, a customer brings in their screeching monkey or meerkat, or even flying squirrel. Dogs of all sizes come in, as well as vivacious birds and shy rabbits, but above all, there are always cats.

After passing the grooming station on one side and the veterinarian offices on the other, she walks up the narrow stairs to a secluded part of the building, where about 52 individual segments house the cats staying at the pet hotel. It is her daily dose of happiness.

“The idea of the pet hotel came to be in 2019 after realizing that the people demanded this. Many pet owners wanted to travel — especially when the airport opened up after the coronavirus pandemic — and they wanted a safe place to take their pets that was also comfortable,” she told Arab News. 




The unique thing about the cat hotel is that every cat is examined daily by a veterinarian on the premises. Each cat owner has to fill out a detailed form including information about contacts, preferences and health. (Supplied)

“Perhaps before, people used to leave their pets with relatives or friends, but this wasn’t always an available — or even wise option — because the culture of having a pet in homes is something that not every household in Saudi had. Also, contagious diseases might spread, so people wanted to keep their pet in a trusted space where medical facilities are available and give everyone peace of mind,” she said.

The business was started in 1985 by her late uncle, Rasheed Al-Mandeel, and is now managed by her brother. After each of the siblings graduated college, they joined the business in different capacities. Ruba grew up the only girl and the youngest of her family, surrounded by pets and a strong work ethic. As soon as she graduated from college in 2020, she joined the family business and immediately tried to find innovative and smart ways to connect with the customers. 




The unique thing about the cat hotel is that every cat is examined daily by a veterinarian on the premises. Each cat owner has to fill out a detailed form including information about contacts, preferences and health. (Supplied)

What is unique about this cat hotel is that every cat is examined daily by a veterinarian on the premises. Each cat owner has to fill out a detailed form including information about contacts, preferences and health.

This form must be signed by the pet owner and then by the veterinarian, and copy placed on the box in which the cat stays. 




Portrait of the founder of Pet Houses 35 years ago, Rasheed AlMandeel.

Each box is cleaned daily and the litter scooped, the water dish filled and the food replenished. Each box has ventilation, and as cats are territorial, they keep them in their boxes unless the pet owner requests they be let out to play in the designated play area.

A vet comes by daily to examine each cat, and the sanitation team wear gloves at all times, monitoring for any changes in food habits or moods.

The average stay is about a week or so, but some leave their cats for months. 




The unique thing about the cat hotel is that every cat is examined daily by a veterinarian on the premises. Each cat owner has to fill out a detailed form including information about contacts, preferences and health. (Supplied)

Owners are encouraged to bring an item from home to help the cat feel more at ease, like a blanket or favorite toy.

One such customer is Dammam resident Kamel Trabelsi from Tunisia. Since moving to the Kingdom eight years ago, Trabelsi has been a frequent Pet Houses customer, first with a previous pet and now with his one-year-old Ragdoll cat, Smocky. When he goes on trips, Trabelsi keeps Smocky at the hotel and enjoys the videos and photos the team sends him.

“We have come many, many times here to check on the pet for cleaning, nail cutting and also to follow-up on the vaccinations, and when we travel, we have to put him in the hotel. This pet hotel is really nice — very convenient for us,” Trabelsi told Arab News. 




The unique thing about the cat hotel is that every cat is examined daily by a veterinarian on the premises. Each cat owner has to fill out a detailed form including information about contacts, preferences and health. (Supplied)

In May, a fire broke out in the Mall of Dhahran, which housed a busy Pet Houses store. The plumes of smoke continued for hours and the family — as well as the majority of customers — phoned the Civil Defense team asking for updates on the animal situation. Viral footage was shown of animals, including kittens, fish and rabbits, being evacuated. The frightened animals were quickly transported to the clinic and examined by the vets before being released to other stores. 

Thankfully, all of the animals were deemed healthy. While the mall has gradually opened up in the months since the fire, the Pet Houses store is yet to reopen, awaiting the green light from the mall’s management. Across the street, the branch at Amwaj Mall remains fully operational.

Pet Houses has 11 branches spread across the Eastern Province, with a single branch in Riyadh. The clinic in Al-Rakah has five in-house veterinarians, while their online store is open 24 hours and ships anywhere in the Kingdom.


Arab News celebrates International Coffee Day with deep dive into tastes and traditions of Saudi Coffee

Arab News celebrates International Coffee Day with deep dive into tastes and traditions of Saudi Coffee
Updated 6 min 29 sec ago

Arab News celebrates International Coffee Day with deep dive into tastes and traditions of Saudi Coffee

Arab News celebrates International Coffee Day with deep dive into tastes and traditions of Saudi Coffee

A Cup of Gahwa
The taste and traditions of Saudi coffee
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LONDON: Arab News launched its latest deep dive, “A cup of Gahwa: The taste and traditions of Saudi coffee,” celebrating the Year of Saudi Coffee ahead of International Coffee Day this Saturday.

The long-form, interactive feature delves into the culture and heritage of Saudi coffee as it explores the home of Jazan’s green gold — the Khawlani bean.

Arab News partnered with Jabaliyah, the first coffee brand to originate exclusively in the Kingdom, on the deep dive and a limited edition coffee box.

“As Arab News celebrates the Year of Saudi Coffee, it’s our pleasure to partner with Jabaliyah, a speciality Saudi coffee company. Always supporting talented local business, Jabaliyah has produced delightful smooth Saudi coffee, which we are proud to partner with,” Arab News Assistant Editor-in-Chief Noor Nugali said.

Reporters traveled to Jabaliyah’s headquarters in Jazan to speak to the company’s co-founder and learn how the Khawlani bean goes from the tree to the brew.

“Arab News has been a key supporter of local authentic innovation and local startups from the get-go. We have been privileged at Jabaliyah to have had this support from them since the early days of our launch three years ago, and they continue to celebrate our endeavor as a true local content venture,” Ali Al-Sheneamer, co-founder of Jabaliyah, said.

For centuries, coffee has played a central role in the social life of Saudis. It is nothing less than a national symbol of identity, hospitality and generosity, and the focus of gatherings formal and informal, from the tents of the Bedouin of old in the deserts of Najd, to the stylish new cafes in the Kingdom’s cities.

But what some might not appreciate, even as 2022 is celebrated in the Kingdom as the Year of Saudi Coffee, is that when it comes to the planet’s most popular drink, the whole world owes a debt of gratitude to Saudi Arabia — the Khawlani bean.

Today, coffee is most closely associated with countries such as Brazil and Colombia.

But the potential of the coffee tree, which grows wild only in Ethiopia, was first recognized and developed by Arabs, as far back as the 14th century.

As William Ukers, editor of the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal in New York, wrote in “All About Coffee,” his exhaustive 1922 study: “The Arabians must be given the credit for discovering and promoting the use of the beverage, and also for promoting the propagation of the plant, even if they found it in Abyssinia (Ethiopia).”

Hundreds of years ago, discovering that the plant Coffea arabica thrived in the climate of the lush mountains of the land that would become Saudi Arabia, they brought it across the Red Sea to the Arabian Peninsula.

There, they successfully cultivated it on terraces cut into the flanks of the Sarawat Mountains, perfecting the art of roasting and brewing the seeds of its fruit to make the drink the world would come to know and love.

Not for nothing is the Khawlani coffee bean known in Saudi Arabia as “the green gold of Jazan.”

The bean, and the knowledge and practices related to cultivating it, occupies such a central role in the heritage and traditional social rituals of Saudi Arabia that it is now being considered for inclusion on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

According to the document submitted to UNESCO by the Ministry of Culture, the Khawlani bean is named for Khawlan bin Amir, a common ancestor of the coffee-growing tribes that live in the mountains of Jazan province

“During the harvest season,” the document says, “farmers break the monotony of the work by singing poem verses. One person sings and the group repeats after to create a harmonic rhythm as they pick coffee beans.

“Men and women both roast then grind the beans used to prepare coffee.”

Importantly, the skills are handed down from generation to generation: “Families encourage youngsters to work in the lands, starting with minor tasks, until they develop the skills and know-how needed to cultivate coffee trees and the processing of the coffee beans.”

Coffee, adds the UNESCO document, “is a symbol of generosity in Saudi Arabia,” and the tribes of Khawlani personify this “through their dedication and their passion for this practice.”

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Saudi crown prince receives message from Bangladesh PM

Saudi crown prince receives message from Bangladesh PM
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi crown prince receives message from Bangladesh PM

Saudi crown prince receives message from Bangladesh PM
  • Message was received by Saudi deputy foreign minister when he met with Bangladesh’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a written message from Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed on ways to support and strengthen  bilateral relations between the two countries, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The message was received by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji when he met with Bangladeshi Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammed Javed Patwary on Thursday.

During the meeting, the two discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations in a variety of fields, as well as a number of issues of mutual interest.

 


Young and the restless: How the Kingdom’s youth are changing its cafe culture

Saudis say that cafes make it easier for people to meet-up without any fuss. (Supplied)
Saudis say that cafes make it easier for people to meet-up without any fuss. (Supplied)
Updated 29 sec ago

Young and the restless: How the Kingdom’s youth are changing its cafe culture

Saudis say that cafes make it easier for people to meet-up without any fuss. (Supplied)
  • From serving coffee in dallahs at home to specialty drinks in cafes, the new generation is bringing about a shift in coffee culture

JEDDAH: Coffee has always been an integral part of Saudi society; no gathering is complete without a dallah, a traditional coffee pot, sitting on the table ready to fill  guests’ cups.

In the past decade, however, growing numbers of Saudis, especially among the young, have been venturing outside the house to savor a cup of joe. Cafe culture has been on the rise in the Kingdom, with people turning to coffee shops for everything from a catch-up with friends to a quiet work session.

Saudi-based content writer Mirah Mohammad often finds herself heading to a nearby cafe to get work done. Growing up, however, coffee shops were far from common, she said.

“In the beginning, people would go there for a social gathering, but then friends began  making plans to group study, and the next thing I know I am seeing all of my friends and even family at cafes.”

Coffee is more than a beverage; it is a catalyst of change and conversation. So it is no surprise that cafe culture was born in Makkah, according to Mohammad Bakhrieba, co-owner of Noug cafe, with people gathering to socialize and discuss religious topics.

“The cafe culture was initially rooted in Islam. It was always the place where the fabric of society strengthened,” he said.

As cafe culture evolved, so did coffee production and presentation, giving rise to “specialty coffee.”

FASTFACTS

* Saudi Arabia’s target is 1 million coffee plants in the Kingdom by 2030.

* As part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, there will be one coffee shop for every 1,000 people.

According to Bakhrieba, it is a “movement that takes care of coffee at each step, from the plantation to the roasting and the distribution.”

Bakhrieba said that coffee is “all about the details.” Owning a cafe is no small feat. “It’s not just about providing the beverage but also the experience, and that was my passion. I liked combining it together under the umbrella of culture.”

Mariam Hakami, a 22-year-old barista at Noug, attributes the popularity of cafes to the youth. “If you notice, it is mostly the youth that is surrounding this culture, from the staff to the customers,” she said.

Her decision to become a barista was informed by the saying: “Do what you love.”

“Coffee is something I love, and I pour love into each cup,” she said.

That is true for most young adults in the Kingdom and around the world. “These are the people who have the same ideas and the same goals. So, I think I will give the credit for popularizing cafes in the country to the youth,” Hakami said.

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Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launches SR142B Savvy Games Group strategy

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launches SR142B Savvy Games Group strategy
Updated 26 min 12 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launches SR142B Savvy Games Group strategy

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launches SR142B Savvy Games Group strategy
  • It will also establish 250 games companies in the Kingdom, which will create 39,000 jobs
  • It will also raise the sector’s GDP contribution to SR50 billion by 2030

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday unveiled the Savvy Games Group’s strategy, which is set to invest SR142 billion ($37.7 billion) across four programs, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
“Savvy Games Group is one part of our ambitious strategy aiming to make Saudi Arabia the ultimate global hub for the games and esports sector by 2030,” the crown prince said.
“We are harnessing the untapped potential across the esports and games sector to diversify our economy, drive innovation in the sector and further scale the entertainment and esports competition offerings across the Kingdom,” he added.
Fully owned by the Public Investment Fund, Savvy’s strategy is to drive growth by investing in the videogames industry and esports with a unique long-term investment horizon and long-dated capital, creating more opportunities for participation and strengthening partnerships in the games industry, as well as improving the user experience.
The launch of the Savvy Games Group’s strategy will enable and support the recently announced national gaming and esports strategy, as Savvy will invest in several local and international programs and infrastructure in order to provide training, education and entrepreneurship opportunities.
It is also expected to attract international companies to Saudi Arabia through investments and partnerships that will contribute to providing skills, knowledge transfer and building capabilities in the whole ecosystem.
It will also establish 250 games companies in the Kingdom, which will create 39,000 jobs, and raise the sector’s GDP contribution to SR50 billion by 2030.
Savvy’s investments will be based around four key pillars, including enhancing returns, local impact, leaving a global footprint and expanding, leading to international games investing, generating sustainable returns and enabling creators across the entire value chain.
Savvy will accelerate talent in the Kingdom and catalyze Saudi Arabia’s unique geographical location to build the dominant global hub for games and esports.
As a part of the group’s investment strategy, it is set to invest SR142 billion across four programs each with specific objectives. Some SR50 billion has been earmarked for the acquisition and development of a leading game publisher to become a strategic development partner. Another SR70 billion will see Savvy make a series of minority stake investments in key companies that support its game development agenda, SR2 billion in diversified investments in industry disruptors to grow early-stage games and esports companies, and SR20 billion invested into mature industry partners who add value and expertise to Savvy’s portfolio.
This strategy will be delivered by Savvy’s five independent subsidiaries specifically devoted to different sectors and ecosystem development.
These five companies comprise Savvy’s esports arm, EFG, which was created following Savvy’s earlier acquisition of ESL and FACEIT groups. Together, EFG already comprises a significant part of the world’s competitive gaming ecosystem, and it combines ESL’s strength in building, broadcasting, and commercializing premium content with FACEIT’s capabilities as a best-in-class online platform.
Nine66 is building an ecosystem for game developers and studios to thrive through providing a suitable infrastructure, offering talent and participation opportunities, and providing financing and consultancy support. The company is also offering publishing services in the Middle East markets, which allows international developers to enter regional markets.
VOV company, specialized in building gaming and competition venues, aims to develop skills and provide a healthy environment for players by building a series of quality venues that consider the health and care of all players, in a step that is the first of its kind globally, by providing healthy food, a supportive social environment and motivating players to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
VOV opened the first of its venues in May, one of three planned venues that will open in the short-term, as it seeks to expand regionally and globally.
The company will also provide programs designed to train and guide young gamers who aspire to break into the competitive esports industry.
The group also will establish the first global games studio to be launched in Saudi Arabia, which will offer a range of games to global audiences. Specialized teams will be formed focusing on mid-core games — which are more complex and require more time investment from the player than hyper-casual products — and will seek to take advantage of acquisition opportunities available in the Kingdom and international markets to attract games and studios under the Savvy Group’s umbrella.
The strategy also includes establishing the Savvy Games Fund, which will invest in leading publishers and developers and facilitate establishing their bases in the Kingdom.
Collectively these companies will create synergies across every part of the games and esports industry, growing the sector through targeted investments in developers and publishers, investing in technology innovation, content creator funding, and developing world-class event and venue concepts.
Savvy Games Group, whose CEO is Brian Ward, former head of worldwide studios at Activision Blizzard, is a games and esports company founded to drive the long-term growth and development of esports and the wider games industry worldwide. As a global champion of this buoyant sector, Savvy aims to become a global leader in games and esports through deploying significant capital over long-term horizons.
Its investments will create opportunities for participation and progression in the sector, across gender, geography, means and ability. Savvy’s investments are intended to drive the growth of the sector globally, making it a more supportive, exciting, and rewarding place for fans, players, developers, and technology innovators. This will facilitate broader, more equitable access to this fast-growing, dynamic sector.

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The taste and traditions of Saudi coffee
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Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attack on Kurdish region in Iraq

Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attack on Kurdish region in Iraq
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attack on Kurdish region in Iraq

Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attack on Kurdish region in Iraq

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia on Thursday has strongly condemned the Iranian attacks on the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they had fired missiles and drones at militant targets in several Kurdish sites, killing over a dozen people.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s strong condemnation of the Iranian attacks on Kurdistan Region of the Republic of Iraq, killing and wounding a number of innocent people,” the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated its total rejection of all attacks that threaten the security and stability of Iraq, stressing the importance of the international community standing up against all Iranian violations that contradict international laws, charters and norms,” the statement read.


The Kingdom also expressed its deepest sympathy and condolences to the government and people of Iraq.
Thirteen people were killed and 58 wounded in the attacks near Irbil and Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq’s state news agency said, citing its counter-terrorism service in Kurdistan.
Iran’s elite military and security force said they would continue targeting what it called terrorists in the region.