With dog cafés being all the craze in recent years, it’s no surprise that these establishments have welcomed thousands of pet lovers to cuddle with the dogs in the café.
Even though it may seem like a fun and heartwarming activity to engage in, a patron recently brought an issue regarding some of the dogs to netizens’ attention.
In a video, TikTok user @simp4yunogrinberryall documented her visit to We The Furballs (WTF), a dog café that has been operating on the seventh floor of Bugis+ for the past decade or so.
However, she said that she had an “upsetting experience as a dog lover” at the café.
In the video, she shared various videos of different dogs who seemed like they were not being taken care of properly.
@jezzlez, who goes by Jessie, included a clip of a Pomeranian with long and untrimmed nails. The nails were apparently growing downwards towards the direction of the paw pads, which made it difficult for the dog to walk.
In her words, the poor dog could “hardly walk properly”.
She also shared footage of a French Bulldog that was walking around the premises with much difficulty as it had to drag its hind right leg around when walking.
“Please don’t waste your time going here like I did…” she wrote later on in the video.
Later on in the comments section, Jessie claimed that staff members made her leave the cafe after she tried to tell them about what she had witnessed.
A staff member also took the Pomeranian away and hid it after seeing Jessie take photos of it.
Apart from that, she also said that the dogs “lay around, don’t really interact much like a normal healthy dog would, some are limping, their nails are uncut, fur is falling out”.
She also observed that the dogs had to “share their bowls” for food and water.
Since posting her video a few days ago, Jessie’s video has attracted over 250,300 views and 14,200 likes on TikTok.
Many netizens, like Jessie, were enraged by the pitiful sight of the dogs.
A large handful of commenters urged Jessie to contact the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), while others heavily criticized WTF for its treatment of the dogs.
There were also netizens who shared similar experiences during their visits to WTF, saying that they also saw dogs that looked rather sick.
Over at Google reviews, many netizens also wrote of similar encounters.
Although most reviews said that the staff were friendly, most of the negative reviews brought up the fact that the dogs seemed to be in ill health and were largely antisocial when interacting with the customers.
“The main issue lies within the dogs and how they are cared for,” one reviewer noted.
Shortly after the TikTok video went viral, WTF released an announcement on its Facebook page on Thursday (27 May).
The post started off by addressing that the café is aware of the news spreading on social media that it is “ill-treating [its] animals, not feeding them, using them only for monetary purposes without a care for their welfare”.
“I guess because we’ve never directly addressed any of these on social media it made us seem like we didn’t care about how our animals are treated. But for those of you who asked us when you are there, we would have explained this to you.
“We take every feedback seriously, and even though we never really addressed them on reviews we would address them internally,” WTF wrote.
The post then began to describe three of the café’s elderly dogs in great detail, with two of the dogs being the ones that were featured in Jessie’s video.
Condition of the Three Dogs
According to the post, all three dogs are around 11 years old, which is approximately the equivalent of 60 years old for humans.
“We have not ignored any of their medical conditions and are doing whatever we can to manage their conditions based on the advice from our vet. They also go for their annual vet checkups every year to see if there are any underlying medical conditions that pop up and require urgent medical intervention before it gets worse,” WTF explained.
Yuki the Pomeranian
For Yuki, the Pomeranian, she apparently has a “very mild heart murmur” and the café found out about this “when she suddenly started coughing and wheezing last year”.
Even now, she will wheeze and cough “when she gets overly excited”.
“Her condition has stabilized and she is otherwise not very affected by it other than the occasional cough and wheeze. When she does have her occasional wheezing spell, we will put her in the counter with us because it helps calm her down and stop her wheezing.
It is not true that we would purposely stop anyone from taking pictures or videos of her when she starts to wheeze and hide her in the counter because we don’t want any evidence of this,” WTF explained.
As for her unkempt nails, WTF claimed that Yuki “gets very agitated and struggles” when staff members attempt to help her clip her nails.
“On good days we will manage to cut 10 nails (record number of nails we managed so far) and on bad days not a single one,” WTF explained.
Hence, they “try not to prolong the nail cutting session because [they] are afraid it will exacerbate her wheezing condition”.
Additionally, Yuki also suffers from a loose kneecap which impacts her walking. Given the small size of her bones, the vet discouraged WTF from letting her undergo surgery.
Bui Bui the French Bulldog
Apart from that, Bui Bui, the French Bulldog in Jessie’s video, has muscular atrophy, which is the degeneration of muscles.
Caused by her old age, she has been taking supplements “in hopes that it will slow down her condition” even though there is no cure.
“Her condition seems to have improved after taking her supplements that was prescribed to her, she seemed to be moving about more and would bounce over to greet us when she saw us,” WTF added.
The vet then recommended acupuncture to Bui Bui, and the WTF team mentioned that they are “in the midst of waiting for our appointment and trying this out to see if it would help improve her condition”.
Lulu the Toy Poodle
WTF also brought up Lulu, the Toy Poodle in its post.
According to WTF, Lulu has a “very sensitive stomach” and is “allergic to many kinds of food and certain chemicals”.
Given that it is “very difficult to determine exactly what she is allergic to” since dogs may “develop new allergies as they age”, the WTF team has been trying their best to ensure that she only comes into contact with items that she is definitely not allergic to.
Not long ago, Lulu “started coughing and would sometimes choke [which would] usually happen after she drinks water”, and WTF later found out that she had a collapsed trachea.
However, her condition is currently under control due to medication.
“Other than the occasional flareups, she’s doing fine,” WTF confirmed.
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Retiring the Dogs
WTF then announced that they will be gradually easing Yuki, Bui Bui and Lulu into retirement.
“For a start we will be limiting their interaction hours with guests, and we will monitor their condition to see if it is possible to retire them by the end of the year, so that people who might want to visit them can visit them for the last time.
However, this is also dependent on their individual conditions. If their condition deteriorates, then their full retirement will start earlier.”
With regard to us not feeding them, it is absolutely untrue.
With regards to them having only 3 water bowls to drink from, please be assured that they are refilled throughout the day when the water level goes low. They are also washed throughly at the end of the day or when necessary. Our dogs drink water at different intervals and it is highly unlikely that all our dogs would be thirsty at the same time and have to fight for the bowls to drink water from.
WTF also explained that they do give the dogs enough food and water.
“We’ve done a lot of research throughout the years and have put in a lot of effort and thought into preparing their meals everyday. They are fed human grade home cooked food twice a day consisting of veggies, meat, fruits together with supplements and vitamins,” WTF explained.
According to the post, WTF also provides dogs with the necessary vitamins and supplements.
As for the water bowls, WTF said that staff members refill the bowls whenever they are running out of water.
“Our dogs drink water at different intervals and it is highly unlikely that all our dogs would be thirsty at the same time and have to fight for the bowls to drink water from,” it added.
Lastly, WTF also urged those who have had unpleasant experiences with their staff members to offer them feedback.
“We have never stopped anyone from taking pictures of our dogs, neither have we thrown anyone out of our shop (at least not to our knowledge).
“If any of our team members have done it to you, please drop us a message letting us know when it was, and if possible describe to us who it was, and we will get to the bottom of the matter.”
Featured Image: TikTok (@simp4yunogrinberryall)