First and foremost, Salman Dashti is an animal lover. When children stuck pictures of their favorite musical bands or football teams on the walls, he had pictures and descriptions of every dog breed on his, writes Rawan Qabazard.

While still continuing his MBA in London, Salman had to complete a project which entailed creating a unique business concept; he started working on the concept of “The Pet Lounge”, which was a one stop shop for pets and their owners; celebrating the affectionate relationship between humans and companion animals. Unfortunately, his team members did not share his passion and the idea was soon shelved to be replaced by another. When Salman finally returned to Kuwait, he worked mainly in the fields of Marketing and PR with various companies until he felt that he had gained enough insight, knowledge and confidence to venture out and pursue his dream of establishing his pet business.

Eve

What was the inspiration behind Luna & Beau? As a pet owner myself, I have always wanted to spend some quality time with my pets and pet loving friends at a safe and encouraging space. I found that most places in Kuwait were not particularly pet friendly. When the weather is not great, my day out with my dogs would usually involve a trip to the groomers and then a walk around the pet shops in the area, pretty uneventful. I had an idea for a pet business while doing my MBA and once I felt confident enough to leave the corporate world and pursue my dream I started working on Luna & Beau. I was determined to make this place the ultimate destination for pets and their owners, a beautiful space and relaxed environment where you can be around like-minded individuals.

Kuwaiti Veterinarian and animal rights advocate Tamara Qabazard with her cat Jackson and dog Lucy

Describe the concept you had in mind when starting this project. Luna & Beau will be the first of its kind in Kuwait. A boutique that offers the best pet products from around the world which were specially selected for their quality. We also have two separate grooming areas for cats and dogs. We cater to people as much as their pets so we offer relaxing waiting areas with snacks and beverages from our Café next door for both yourself and your pet! We also have a lifestyle area where pet owners can browse products for themselves. Luna & Beau Café is a vegan pet friendly café. Our Café offers the best of both worlds, great coffee, food and surroundings and an open space area for your dogs to let loose and play and our pet bakery offers fresh pet treats. Our delicious food is made by the amazing girls at Clean Eats. We also have a separate Cat Lounge loft area where you can enjoy a beverage while playing with our resident cats (which are all fostered and available for adoption).

Kuwaiti stand up comedian and animal rights advocate Sheikha Al Khaldi with her dog Puyol

What are your thoughts on how our community views pets and animals, in general? I think we have come a long way in terms of how we treat pets in Kuwait but I still think there is a lot of work to be done. I have had the pleasure of meeting amazing people who  are relentlessly working through their charities to help abandoned and abused animals in Kuwait, and, unfortunately, there is much work to be done and the resources available to them are limited, so I think each one of us should do their part to help and to raise awareness; Luna & Beau will definitely play it’s part in working alongside these charities.

Non-profit rescue organisation Adopt a Street Princess founder Nathalie with her dog Pumpkin

How can the concept behind Luna & Beau fix these issues? By creating a safe and friendly environment for pets and their owners to get some down time and enjoy themselves we are creating another much-needed pet friendly space in Kuwait and this will influence other spaces to do the same. Also, at Luna & Beau we want to help animal welfare organizations in Kuwait because all pets deserve to be treated with love and care. For starters, we will be offering a free full grooming package to a rescue dog for every 3 grooming sessions our customers purchase. We will also be donating treats from our bakery weekly to the various organizations and we will be working alongside these organizations continuously to improve how animals are treated in Kuwait whether through fundraisers, events, awareness campaigns or hosting adoption days at our Café.

Clean Eats founders and animal rights advocates Dalal and Haya with their dog Eve

Do you think the community beginning to get aware in these matters? If so, how? Yes, I definitely think they are becoming more aware mainly thanks to the power of social media. For instance, many people have witnessed the atrocities being committed at the Friday market and are getting frustrated with the lack of action from government officials. Awareness followed by action is what is needed. We live in a great country with great people, but as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its’ animals are treated.” And there is still a lot of work to be done indeed.

Partners Fay and Dana carry Cleo and Buddy, both are available for adoption from their non-profit animal rescue organization Rescue. Adopt. Foster. @raf.kw

Let’s talk a little about the store. What is the story behind the name? Luna was my first dog, she’s a sassy Pomeranian. Beau was my second, he’s a goofy Frenchie with a tremendous personality. I love my dogs, as everyone else I’m sure does, but they really are very important to me. I even decided to get their initials tattooed on me. Since this store and café are a labor of love and I’m putting myself into this business whole-heartedly, I thought the name should be personal as well, so I decided to name it after my two pups.

Felix available for adoption from Rescue. Adopt. Foster @raf.kw

Last, but not least, how many pets do you have and who is your favorite? I’ve got two dogs, Luna and Beau, and three cats, Alice, Oreo and Tigger. And everyone knows you can’t ask a pet-parent that question; they’ve each got a special place in my heart.