NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
IN Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province, one dog survived a boiling water attack and a drop from a high-rise balcony onto concrete after he innocently chewed on his former owner's cell phone.
Tuffy, who survived months of treatment at Animal Asia's China sanctuary, now lives with his rescuer, 30-year-old designer Yan Yingying who found the dying puppy at the bottom of the apartment building.
“The sight must have been so horrific – and I’m sure many people would have walked past and pretended not to see. But she didn’t. She took Tuffy to a local vet in Chengdu and paid for all his veterinary care. That saved his life,” said Animals Asia vet Emily Drayton in an article about Tuffy featured in Animal Asia's website.
The violence and cruelty the puppy received would have killed most people. When the burns cover over 50 percent of the body, animals are not expected to survive. Sixty percent of Tuffy's body was scalded but his fighting spirit and the kindness of Yan and animal workers helped him cheat death.
Yan sought the help of Animals Asia after getting substandard care for Tuffy at the veterinary clinic. Aside from being under tremendous pain, Tuffy could not close his eyes to sleep as the burned skin around his eyes fused together. The same thing happened with his legs.
Animals Asia is best known for rescuing bears in the most unimaginable condition from the bear bile trade. But there's no way they could turn down “a tiny naked pup, with a red raw body that looked like a huge blister, looking out at the world with the misery of an animal who couldn’t understand why he had been punished with pain,” said Jill Robinson, founder of Animals Asia.
Drayton added: “As a vet you are exposed to cases of animal cruelty and neglect. It is never something you get ‘used to’ – but after a while you can become desensitized. You learn to put your emotions aside and focus on what you need to do to help. But when I saw Tuffy all of that was completely obliterated. I was shocked and sickened to my core. I could not stop the tears from rising, there was no point. Never had I seen an animal in so much pain.”
Seeing how Tuffy was bravely fighting for his life, animal experts decided the dog deserves a second chance and would not be put down. They also decided that he deserves a good name.
“A tough puppy needed a tough name, so then he became our beloved Tuffy.” said Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa, also a vet at Animals Asia.
Tuffy received free topnotch care from experts like Dr. Kieren Maddern, of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Pain Management Consultants who shared ideas on wound care and pain management for Tuffy. Dr Alane Cahalane, a specialist surgeon from the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Hong Kong, flew in for one day to operate and release Tuffy's fused legs and eyes.
Little by little, Tuffy got stronger although he was under pain medication and on bandages for months. Volunteers cleaned his wounds routinely and though it hurts him, Tuffy's healing soon helped him deal with pain and discomfort with the help of distracting snacks.
With his recovery full, Tuffy was released to his new owner, Ms. Yan, who stayed with the dog through it all.
“In the beginning of Tuffy’s time with us, his head was the only place you could touch him without causing pain. Ms Yan would cradle his small face in her hand and coo ‘guai guai’ (an affectionate term for good), and he would wag his bald little tail and close his eyes,” said Hunter-Ishikawa.
GOOD TRUMPS EVIL
Animals Asia people believe Tuffy's story, though it started as one about cruelty, is more about kindness and love.
“Time and time again we find that those who are cruel to animals are a tiny minority. Animals have the ability to bring out the best in people, and it’s true for Tuffy. His strength and bravery was incredible – but Ms Yan was equally determined he would live,” said Drayton.
Tuffy also showed everyone what a heart of a dog is made of: brave and full of love. Despite his ordeal, Tuffy still sees the good in people and is happy to be loved.
Meanwhile, Yan has found a way to hide Tuffy's large bald patches and scars by making special coats for him.
Animals Asia Cat and Dog Welfare Team hopes Tuffy's story can inspire a better future for millions of dogs. The group accepts donations to help them end animal cruelty.
Watch Tuffy's story video here.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THE cats have moved in to Katipunan! Uchi No Neko (The Cat House) has officially opened the doors to its cafe and 9-suite cat hotel on a generous 200-square-meter space right in the middle of the busy school and restaurant row.
The seventh cat cafe in Metro Manila, Uchi No Neko tries to top the usual amenities and offerings one would expect from a cat cafe by having a full-service kitchen, floor-to-ceiling cat suites, a cattery, a separate events and ala carte area, and a shifting schedule for its cats.
For P300, one can commune with cats, mostly rescued puspins, for two hours. The cover charge comes with a full cat-themed bento meal, drink and desert.
Uchi No Neko's cats came from the business partners or individual rescuers and organizations like the Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART). As resident cafe cats, they get to enjoy about 100 meters of catwalk above the cafe and play area. The cats can romp around the artificial turf or in the screened outdoor garden where they can watch cars and people pass by.
Unless still very young, the cats have been either neutered or spayed and are vaccinated against common health threats. Some have one of their ears clipped as an indication that they have been fixed.
As members of the Uchi No Neko family, the cats enjoy their own quiet, air-conditioned cattery away from the public's eye. They “work” in batches of 14 or more for at least two hours at the cafe before the staff dutifully take them back to the cattery and then reintroduce another batch of cats to play with customers.
Visitors to Uchi No Neko should get a kick out of the cat-inspired bento meals, pastries and coffees. The kitty onigiri, spam musubi and beef teriyaki are just some of the choices available daily. To make the cat-themed dining complete, Uchi No Neko has customized cat-shape tables and chairs.
The interiors, walls, décor and everyday objects all have something “catly” to tie them all up into a haven for cat lovers.
Uchi No Neko's architectural design and execution were done by Ms. Ali Dalisay. But the creative brain behind this new enterprise is Cha Lacsamana who designed the furniture and also hand painted some of the intricate murals with her friends. It is perhaps the artist in her that inspired her to offer Uchi No Neko's upper floor as a gallery for cat artwork from different artists. She currently hosts the limited works of Geneva David, the young lady who paints cats by the dots to help her raise her own clowder of puspins.
Next to the events and ala carte area is the 9-suite air-conditioned cat hotel which charges P450 a night per cat. Guests must provide food and litter for their own cats. People can check-in at least 3 cats in one suite. Uchi No Neko's staff will look after the guest cats 24 hours.
The view from the street doesn't give much justice to the beautiful interior and exciting experience that Uchi No Neko hold. One must step inside to see that this is a thoughtful cat cafe with elevated standards for the good of the cats and guests alike. If you are a cat lover, Uchi No Neko should be your next pitstop.
ANOTHER cat cafe will open in Quezon City. The Cat House targets to open by mid-August in Katipunan Ave., in a building just across the Ateneo de Manila University. The Cat House will serve not just coffee and cat-themed pastries but also cat-inspired bento box meals for P290, inclusive of two-hour stay with their cats.
In an interview with MetroPets, Lacsamana said they hope to open on the 8th or 15th of August. The Cat House will be anime-inspired and will also feature a cat hotel.
To give customers an idea of what they will be offering, The Cat House's team put up a pop-up cat cafe for the one-day Kawaii Cats cosplay at SM North EDSA last July 25. (see related story)
Their cats will range from rescued Puspins and purebreds. Lacsamana volunteers with the Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART) which has a four hectare NO KILL sanctuary for homeless animals in San Jose, Bulacan. She said they will also put up cats for adoption.
* Claws out! Cat lovers fight over this Starbucks mug