“After having an accident with a car in Bandar Abbas city, I was brought to Tehran Pet Hospital in Tehran, the doctors of Tehran Pet Hospital did a surgery on my foot and eye. I was their guest for a few mounts [sic] and then I was completely cured. Thank you for being kind with us and your attention to animals.”
The note was written by Farhad Saeedinezhad, a dog owner in Iran who brought his beloved pet “Happy” to the Tehran Pet Hospital after he was injured in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas some 1200 kilometers away. Saeedinezhad wrote the thank you note on Happy’s behalf and posted it on the hospital website’s (English) “testimonial page,” which has a number of other messages of thanks from animals treated at the hospital.
Located on Kamraniyeh Street and opened in 2004 by 31-year-old veterinarian Payam Mohebi, the Tehran Pet Hospital claims to be Iran’s first private veterinary clinic and provides 24-hour service to its patients. According to the gallery page on the hospital website, “patients” include cats, dogs, turtles, rabbits, and a monkey. The BBC has also featured the hospital and its work in a photo essay on its site.
The Tehran Pet Hospital’s Facebook page has over 10,000 likes, and with the Iranian New Year quickly approaching, its Facebook timeline is filled with photos of Iranian pet owners posing their pets alongside the clinics New Year haft sin table (the seven ‘S’s), which is set up every year to celebrate the coming of spring.
But the Tehran Pet Hospital is not the only animal hospital in the capital. The Payetakht (Capital) Pet Hospital serves a similar clientele. An Iranian magazine for pet owners called “Pet” also has a thriving circulation. As these various institutions demonstrate, the country’s pet culture is flourishing. Cat ownership is probably the most pervasive in Iran. Despite prohibitions against dog ownership, many Iranians also continue to keep these animals in their homes. Iranians have become increasingly bold in their love of animals and, in recent years there have been reports of authorities cracking down on Iranians who walk their dogs in public.
For a peek into Iran’s pet hospitals, check out this series of photos of the Tehran Pet Hospital from the blog Shahre Farhang (Culture City), reportedly taken in 2009.