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

The Dog Lover's Guide to San Diego

Here are 52 ways to experience San Diego with your four-legged friend

17 Big Ideas for 2017

From blue technology to workforce housing to social innovation, San Diego surpasses major hubs around the country

San Diego Schools Get Creative about Physical Activity

How teachers and administrators are improving students' ability to focus by first getting the wiggles out
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. San Diego Magazine's Travel Awards
    Cast your vote now for your favorite hotels, travel companies and attractions
  2. Best of Baja 2016
    46 ways to relax, dine, drink, and play the Mexico way
  3. Vintage San Diego: How Our City Has Changed Since 1876
    Before bottleneck traffic and the modern housing crisis, San Diego was a swath of undeveloped land, horse-drawn carriages, and dairy farms
  4. FIRST LOOK: The Grass Skirt
    San Diego's tiki boom continues with this new spot in Pacific Beach
  5. Why Our Veterans Keep Quiet About Their Service
    From misconceptions about the military to reticent heroism, San Diego veterans share the many reasons they often keep mum about their service
  6. 67 San Diego Holiday Traditions You Don't Want to Miss
    'Tis the season for fa-la-la fun in San Diego
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.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Win Tickets to the Holiday Bowl

Plus VIP Tailgate Party passes

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Home to Age-In-Place

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments anyone can make, and it’s only natural to want to live in your own abode for as long as you can.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags