Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All The Way To The Bank....

"It's more than just a bone or collar, . .The master really cares."

I have no idea what that quote from the owner of the South End's newest "high-end" doggie boutique and spa means, but I am certain that such a phrase had a very different connotation in the South End of the 80's and 90's.

Espeso, described in the Boston Globe as a full-service destination for retail therapy (plus a grooming spa) for dogs, is located on Washington Street in the South End (where else?) across from the Peter's Park/Joe Wex dog recreation center. Espeso offers Ralph Lauren-inspired dog pillows ("chocolate bones" is a personal favorite of the Globe writer)(insert lame comment about mid-90's South End sexual preferences here). Also available are Swarovski crystal-studded collars (presumably for evening), all-natural dog treats (wheat and corn-free for those pooches with digestive difficulties). Finally, there's a spa area, offering such necessities as "calming aromatherapy spritzers." Which I needed for myself at about this point in the article.
As readers of this blog might already be aware, I am a huge proponent of supporting local businesses. Moreover, I know people who know two out of the three owners of Espeso and I have heard the nicest things about them. As they are genuinely nice people who have taken a risk in starting a local business, I want them to do well and I wish them the greatest success in their venture. Its just the nature of the products and the services they offer that I can't seem to wrap my head around.

Perhaps its because I am not a dog-lover. In fact, I'm not even a dog-liker. I would never have come out as "anti-dog" until I read another Globe article this week, entitled "I hate your dog," by the always dapper Wesley Morris. In his controversial article, Morris berates the current vogue dog "yuppification" whereby dogs are treated better than children, with "doggie spa days, mani-pedi's, pashminas, feathered french daybeds, tiaras and gourmet ice cream." Doggie massage and doggie yoga are also becoming popular amongst the yuppie crowd.
I guess when you have that much disposable income, you feel the need to dispose of it any way you can. And as long as there's a market for it, you might as well take advantage of the situation and profit from the penchant for over-indulgence displayed by some South End yuppies. In fact, I wish I had the foresight to have opened the first South End dog bakery or dog boutique/dog spa. Of course that would force me to mingle with a crowd that I have pretty much managed to avoid for the last decade and a half - the South End Dog Owner. That breed is not only known for its tendency to purchase ridiculous (and laughably-priced) dog services and accoutrements, but also by its ability to break into other people's important sidewalk conversations to make insipid comments and ask annoying questions about dog breeds/behavior/bathroom habits.
I cannot tell you how many important conversations I've had with normal dog owners on Tremont Street that have been interrupted by freakshow dog owners just at the point in the conversation where I am about to find out who slept with whom, how much someone paid for her new condo, what kind of granite they chose for their kitchen, what shade of taupe Dennis Duffy is using in their living room, or which realtor jumped ship and now works for (or no longer works for) the Hammond-Gibson-Keller-Sotheby's-Domain-Domain-Domain empire.
By way of example:

Normal Dog Owner: Anyways, she walks into her kitchen and there's the realtor doing it on her brand-new granite countertops with a client after the open house!

Me: Really? Who was the realtor? What office are they in? What kind of granite? Was it Smokey Taupe, Plymouth Rock or Gargoyle?

Normal Dog Owner: You're not going to believe this, but it was...

Freakshow Dog Owner: Oh my god!! That dog is SO cute!! What is it? My friend had a labradoodle/pit bull/greyhound/terrier mix and it looked just like this! What's his name? Ohhhh, cute dog. Can I pet it? That's a good boy. What does he like to eat? My dog gets diarrhea when he eats celery. Where'd you get his collar? I know I know you from the dog park. I'm Snowball's mommy....
Me: Step off, freak!! We're talkin' here!!
By the time the freakshow dogowner leaves, we have both forgotten what we were saying, and the conversation resumes like this:
Normal Dog Owner: Ok, what were we saying?*
Me: I have no idea. I like your shoes.
In any event, I'm a bit put off not only by this entitled behavior, but also by the whole dog bakery-spa-treatment thing. I find it hard to believe that South Enders can spend money on Swarovski crystal dog chews or whatever and that over $300,000 was donated for a dog park (ok, a dog recreational space) in the South End when other South Enders are having trouble putting food on their tables, buying clothes for their kids, or putting gas in their cars. Believe it or not, there are some South Enders for whom these issues take precedence over dog massages, yoga and imported pheasant dog treats. In fact, many of these people cannot even afford people massages, let alone doggie ones. And we wonder as the entries in the Police Beat section of the South End News grow longer and the chasm between the haves and the have-nots grows wider.
* In case you were wondering, the answers are: Someone who used to be at Gibson, highly polished midnight black (not good for fingerprints, incidentally), and Gargoyle.