Edit ModuleShow Tags

Pampering Our Pets


Published:

(page 1 of 2)

Who’s my good buddy, huh? Who’s my little cutie pal? You! Yesss, you!”

Ever hear yourself utter words like those to your special furry, feathered or scaly friend? You’re not alone. You’re probably not even especially neurotic. The intense emotional relationships we have with our pets bypass the ports of sense and logic; transcend race, gender, age, socioeconomic status or any conceivable set of politics.

After 19 years of owning Pet-Tenders, a San Diego pet-sitting service, Sheryl Dagostaro has pretty much seen it all in terms of human-to-animal devotion. “It’s beyond love,” she says. “It’s obsession, at some point.

“Many years ago, when I went to one house in Serra Mesa that had six or eight cats, the husband answered the door with a cat on his head. Not on his shoulders—on his head. The entire house, every room, was set up for the cats. There was no furniture in the living room for humans. There were cat chairs, cat posts, cat furniture from floor to ceiling. The house was not that large. I was surprised the owners lived there.”

Whether or not prospective clients use cats as headwear, Dagostaro conducts 45-minute to hour-long interviews with them regarding pet care, house care and veterinarian information. “Then somebody, usually a woman, will hand us 18 typed pages of instructions,” she says. “We have one client who is a psychiatric nurse. She has several cats, and she wrote a psychological profile on each of them.”

Dagostaro has had many years to contemplate pet owners’ large-scale loving care. “When I first opened my business, I used to think [having pets] was a child substitute, because a lot of people don’t have kids, and these are their babies,” she says. “And that does definitely fit a percentage of the population that we take care of. But then, there are a lot of people who do have children.

“I think animals teach us more than humans,” she says, “because who will love you unconditionally seven days and nights a week, no matter what?” Upon returning home from work, Dagostaro adds, people often greet and hug their pets before their families.

“No matter how your day was, no matter if you’re in a bad mood or a good mood, your dog or cat or bird is happy to see you,” she says. “And they’re just by nature compassionate and sympathetic; they just have those qualities inherently. It doesn’t matter what you look like. They’re color-blind; they’re race-blind. They truly listen and feel telepathically through different senses.”

Those senses are thoroughly pampered at The Golden Paw—an 11,000-square-foot, climate-controlled luxury pet-boarding resort and spa that just opened in the Morena Boulevard business district. Owner Angie Macaluso understands the desire to know that pets are comfortable and happy in one’s absence. “The Golden Paw provides services that were once available only to humans,” she says.

For example, each climate-controlled luxury dog suite boasts individually themed décor, filtered water and classical music. Cats enjoy plush custom-made beds and hiding space for privacy in their 71¼2-foot-tall suites, which are separately ventilated so they don’t share air and become ill. Those so inclined may also watch an aquarium and bird feeders outside their windows.

For canines and felines alike, television sets show such animal-film favorites such as Milo and Otis and Homeward Bound as well as the Animal Planet channel. And each suite is equipped with a Web cam so clients can check in on their pets 24 hours a day (between the thrice-daily playing of recorded owner-to-pet messages). Don’t forget the play and cuddle sessions—or the massage, hydro-surge bathing and aromatherapy services.

Once home again, many people still want to give their nonhuman companions only the best, and Dexter’s Deli in Del Mar aims to meet that demand. The store carries expensive leather collars, clothing, jewelry, fancy feeding dishes, packets of prime catnip—and sells more than 3,000 pounds of fresh food a month. Another popular item: gourmet cakes (sans white flour or sugar) for pet birthdays and—yep—pet weddings complete with pet attendees. The requisite pet greeting cards (“For the Birthday Cat”) are only an aisle or two away.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

27 Reasons to Love San Diego

Our annual list of all things San Diego and rad—from kiteboarding to urban farming to a city-wide book club

Get Fit & Have Fun in San Diego

From doggie bootcamps to intense bodybuilding programs, it’s an exciting time to get in shape. What are you waiting for?

Juice!

Meet the local juicers, fasters, entrepreneurs, newbies, and lifers helping the cold-pressed craze become a permanent way of life
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. 10 Best New Restaurants in San Diego
    Our food critic picks the top 10 new restaurants of 2014. Time to add these hotspots to your must-try list.
  2. FIRST LOOK: Stella Public House & Halcyon
    Stella Public House and Halcyon open in East Village near Downtown San Diego. Part coffeehouse, part Neapolitan pizza joint, park cocktails and craft beer, part tableside s'mores.
  3. San Diego New Year’s Eve Guide
    Ring in 2015 at these parties, concerts, dining, and family-friendly events
  4. 25 BIG Ideas
    Fascinating San Diego people inspire us with big, bold ideas on everything from genomics to urban planning, art to architecture, food and more
  5. About that story we "stole"...
    8 things to ask yourself before you accuse a publication of stealing your stuff and barf all over their beautiful Facebook page
  6. Food Self-Righteousness Is For Assholes
    Gawker calls foie gras eaters lots of bad names. A response.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Valentine's Day Giveaway

Win Tickets to the Rotterdam Philharmonic and dinner at Mr. A's
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags