My husband and I are lucky enough to share our home with two wonderful dogs; Smokey and the Bandit. We consider them part of the family and so it was an obvious choice yesterday to make a quick stop to pick them up some holiday treats before grabbing out Christmas Chicken from KFC. Since we were heading to Urasoe the obvious choice was to stop at Coo & Riku.
Coo & Riku is a shop, boarding facility, dog run and cafe located right along Route 58 in Urasoe. It is incredibly easy to find because of it’s huge signs featuring puppies and kittens. The shop itself features a selection of treats, dog and cat food, clothing, leashes and of course dogs and cats for sale.
Since the store opened just over a year ago I have been to the new location a few times. Each visit had included grabbing a few treats for the dogs, which they always love, so I figured it would be a great place to stop on this particular day. The fact that it was Christmas and Coo & Riku boasted about Christmas sales was also a plus. However, my experience was such that I may never visit this store again.
The first thing I noticed when walking into the store was the overwhelming stink of feces. The smell was borderline unbearable. On top of that all of the windows and doors were closed offering no ventilation whatsoever in the store. This in and of itself was pretty disgusting and the first thing that came to mind was whether or not the upstairs (a sit down cafe) reeked as well.
After looking through the aisles we made out way to the back of the store to look at what pets were available. What we saw was both disgusting and disappointing. Now I will be the first to say that although I do not prefer pet stores which have their puppies in the display boxes/cages I do not mind as much if the cages are well taken care of and good size. This was absolutely not the case here at Coo & Riku. Let me elaborate a bit more to ensure that I come across clear. There are three “sections” of the pet display area. The first are designed for small pets. They are medium sized compartments on either wall. Size wise these display boxes/compartments are not bad. The dogs are generally so small that they can walk around, have an area to relieve themselves and still a dry area to lay. Then there is a side area with medium sized dogs which are in cages, more specifically those large cages that you would have in your home. There is not a ton of wiggle room but there is enough for the dogs to stretch out, move around and so I suppose I can describe them very loosely as “acceptable”. Finally there are large dogs. This includes Saint Bernards and on this particular day a black lab. They are in the same size cage as the medium sized dogs which for these gentle giants meant that they could not even sit up straight without their head sagged down because the cages were so small. This was in no way acceptable, maybe for travel as it was large enough for them to turn around and lay down, but not as a place to keep them day to day until they found a home. Aside from size the cages were absolutely filthy. I am not sure what was going on here on this particular day that they could not get the cages clean (because there were only 2 people in the store at the time us and one other couple) but they were all completely covered in urine and feces. Some dogs were even stained by their own urine because their cages simply were not large enough.
NOTE: I want to be completely fair in my assessment of this location and therefore I need to note that there was in fact someone in the process of cleaning the cages. However, I also feel that it is important to note that having cleaned up after pets for most of my life there is no conceivable reason that the cages should have been in that shape. If it meant one staff member is designated to do nothing more then clean all day long, so be it. Not only is it an unpleasant experience for the pets to be in disgusting cages but from a business standpoint it’s not a good selling point to have the dogs that perspective buyers want to cuddle and hug covered in their own waste product.
Frankly, Coo& Riku boasted about a holiday sale and having pets for the holidays. If they couldn’t handle the product they were pushing they should have never taken in so much supply. Very irresponsible both from a consideration for animals and business standpoint.
As unpleasant and unhappy as we both were with the situation we moved on to get more treats for the boys, the reason that we were here in the first place. After putting a few things here and there in our basket we moved over to the check out counter. There was no one there so we rang the bell. After a few minutes we rang the bell again, and again and again. . . . . no one came to cash us out. The complete disregard for us was pretty upsetting especially considering that there was just a staff member helping an elderly couple a few short minutes before we had prepared to cash out. Where he went . . . no one knows. After waiting at the register for over 10 minutes and being unable to find someone to cash us out we left without making the purchase that we intended to make.
This experience was a huge letdown and was, as I described in the title, the first time I have been disgusted by a shop here in Japan. I have to say I will not likely return to Coo & Riku for any reason. I certainly wouldn’t even think of boarding my pet at this facility either. I mean if you can’t even clean up after the pets that you are trying to sell or cash our your customers who’s to say you will take good care of my pets while I am gone? I am very disappointed with this experience. . . . and that’s to say the least.