It’s tough to raise a city dog. Grass competes with cement, some apartments practice fur discrimination, and the common city dweller keeps a hectic lifestyle which efficiently leaves room for one beating heart-their own. Many first-time pet owners, like myself, resort to cats due to their self-sufficient bathroom habits and indoor independence. However, there is one Boston neighborhood that seems to truly understand what it takes to nurture the ultimate metropolitan mutt. Imagine, you’re a four-legged pup who wants nothing more than a toy to chew, a warm lap and belly rubs from your best human friend. The South End has dog parks, bakeries, spas, day care and boutiques inspired by humans who know what each type of dog and dog owner could ever need!
Tucked away in the South West Corridor of the South End is Carleton Court Dog Park. Clever is the hound-shaped wooden sign, practical are polk dot-painted hydrants lining one side of the play area and inviting are the colorful chew toys adorning the fence. There is adequate space to have a leashed canine social and waste bags are readily available for cleaning up after them. Another exciting dog park is Peters Park Dog Run which boasts over 13,000 sq/ft of unleashed fetch and frolic space. There are benches shaded by trees for you to sit on while your dog dashes around slabs of stone. If your pup is too tiny to run with the bigger dogs, there’s an enclosed section that is even scaled down to accommodate dogs 25 lbs and under. And after a long day of inexhaustible fun and hightailing, a water fountain quenches your dog’s thirst and provides a much needed cool down.
Aromatherapy shampoo and conditioning treatment? Lovely, where do I sign up? Massage therapy? Yes, please! A nail trim? If you insist. De-shedding treatment? We’re not talking about people here, are we?
The South End pampers people and their pets, and the spas designed for our four-legged friends are absolutely luxurious, two paws up! One of the spas, such as Bark Place, offers indulgent services (including the ones above) and, as they call it, “Play Care” during the week so you can go to work and bring home the Beggin’ Strips. They have a DIY doggy bathsection with individual tubs and provide you with shampoo, conditioner, an apron and towels. What a perfect way to give your dog a thorough wash without the hassle of cleaning up. The facilities are spotless and there isn’t a whiff of wet dog anywhere! While your pup is getting professionally groomed, take a look around Bark Place’s boutique. There are plush beds, toys and nutritious food brands carefully selected to give your dog a higher quality of life you know they deserve.
You’ve taken care of your pet’s social life and grooming needs, but now you should definitely give in and spoil them completely. Treats are a must! I am in awe of the Polka Dog Bakery. Not only is the space extremely tasteful and well-designed, the presentation and variety of treats is remarkable. The inner-locavore in you will be thrilled to know many of their “baked goods” are made right in South Boston. They have glass jars brimming with savory delicacies like Chicken Poppers, Tilapia Fish Jerky, and bone-shaped Peking Duck Krispies. Behind the glass display case are trays of cookies. I chuckle knowing anywhere and anytime in Boston, a pooch could be crunching on a Peanut Butter Cinnamon, Kung Pug, After Dinner Mint, Liver’s Lane or Tuna Yelper cookie.
The Polka Dog Bakery has two levels, an upstairs stocked with wet and dry, refrigerated and non-refrigerated food and a downstairs room full of toys, beds and accessories for both cats and dogs. On the way down, there’s a large chalkboard explaining nutritional information and benefits of the brands of food they carry. It provides a sense of security knowing how much deliberation Polka Dog Bakery puts into every item in their “treat boutique.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re a cat or dog lover, regardless of the type of animal companion a loving pet owner has the same earnest intentions as the next. The bond between you and your pet grows exponentially and that little furball becomes a full-fledged family member. Animals impact us so deeply they become an inspiration behind an idea as simple as a logo or grand as a charity. These dog-enthusiastic spots were made possible by animal lovers and every little detail shows it. Peters Park Dog Run has a gated area which safely contains your dog even before entering the play areas. On the walls of Polka Dog Bakery are black and white polaroids of canine customers from the past and present. Throughout the South End, you will see water bowls sitting outside of storefronts and possibly a pet lounging within waiting to greet everyone. This is a pets-welcomed neighborhood that you and your furry bestfriend will truly cherish together.