Rashid’s Lexus had just left Dubai’s alley of skyscrapers and while the silently running air conditioning was keeping an ambient temperature inside the car, we were driving through the desert with the blue water of the Persian Gulf on our right side.
About 100 km South of us in Abu Dhabi I was planning to visit someone I had secretly followed for many years and we had finally arranged to meet….
After about an hours drive the car was coming to a hold infront of a sizable building in the suburb of Khalifa City and from the stifling heat outside, I am stepping into the airconditioned waiting room of the German Veterinary Clinic both established and managed by Katrin Jahn.
About 15 years ago this petite blond women, who like me had a mixed British/German professional background, had turned her back on Europe and after a short period of working as an assistant in the region, had decided to open her own clinic in the outskirts of this desert city.
I remembered reading an article about Katrin and her clinic in a veterinary journal some years ago and I immediately thought that one day I would have to visiting this adventurous colleague and her team. The conference in Dubai finally gave me the opportunity….
While I was stitching up injured pads on a rainy afternoon in Virginia Water, Katrin was neutering cats in sunny Abu Dhabi. While I was concerned about the heating of my clinic in the winter, Katrin was concerned about her airconditioning. While I was advising families which were moving to the Middle East about the dangers of heat stroke and dehydration, Katrin was advising families that were moving to the UK about import requirements and the importance of pet insurance cover.
At the entrance door of the clinic I had noticed an “Investor in People” plaque, a “Cat Friendly Gold Standard” Award and a “Fear Free Practitioner” sign and this is immediately backed up by the welcoming and at the same time very clean and professional looking interior that indicates a strong commitment to customer care and a dedicated and organised team.
Despite being very busy, Katrin – with an inviting smile – takes herself a lot of time showing her foreign (for her actually not so foreign…) visitor around:
The clinic has well lit but functional consulting rooms. A comfortable mat on the floor indicates that a lot of examinations and treatments are performed on the ground to reduce patients’ anxiety. Treats are readily available in all rooms to make the visit to the clinic especially for stressed dogs as enjoyable as possible.
For cats there is a dedicated waiting area and the cat boarding room has been fitted with self designed, noise reducing cages with both climbing and hiding opportunities.
The clinic has its own laboratory and to the rear a dedicated animal behaviour and training unit.
The whole setup including the shining, beautifully tiled flooring gives the impression as if standing in an elegant German small animal clinic somewhere in Munich or Stuttgart on a nice summer’s day.
Despite being a foreigner, Katrin has managed to established and to grow her business from scratch. Unsurprisingly the clinic has proven to be very popular especially with Abu Dhabi’s expat community and not less than 60% of the patients are cats. Consultations are frequently performed – with the support of the whole team – in multiple languages.
Like her own personal history, Katrin’s team has a very international background and it is not difficult to appreciate that working here certainly has a strong appeal.
To stay up to date with recent professional developments and with new treatment ideas, Katrin is a frequent visitor of international veterinary conferences and of online courses.
Being very impressed with that what I have seen, I leave Katrin with her patients and we are heading back to Dubai.
While looking through the car window, leaving the well attended houses of Khalifa City behind us, I summarized that despite the geographical distance and the cultural differences of the places where we worked, there were so many similarities between Katrin’s clinic in Abu Dhabi and my small place in Surrey, with just one difference: whatever I had done in Virginia Water, Katrin had done just one level better in the Middle East….