Passing Judgment on “Fenway Bark”

I’ve learned to accept the high cost of living. I’ve learned to live with the condo-ization, and with it the fact that I’ll probably never be able to afford to buy a house in Southie, at least not anytime soon. I can handle the Blackberrying yuppies, even when they walk in acting like they own the place, and I’m close to being able to contain my anger when someone asks me to say “park the car in Harvard Yard” in my own neighborhood and then laughs in my face. I don’t even mind that the parking situation seems to get more horrible every year, because Southie is still Southie, and God help us, so it will always be. But if Southie is really going to hang onto its culture, we have to draw the line somewhere. I’m drawing it here: Fenway Bark.

Fenway Bark is a planned upscale hotel for dogs. It offers “luxury boxes” that are equipped with television, webcams, sliding glass doors, and anti-microbial grass. Said boxes overlook an indoor yard and a pool. They offer massage therapy and “holistic food and treats.” The pitch on their website reads,

The parent will be offered a one stop solution for grooming, supplies, quality pet food, training, photography, and rehabilitation with access hours and location that are convenient for the urban professional.

Full disclosure: I am the only one among the SSS bloggers who has never owned a dog. As a result of knowing the Drizzle’s dog (the half-Haitian one), I have lost a fair amount of sympathy for the species. For that reason, and because it doesn’t exactly exist yet, I’m stopping just short of putting Fenway Bark on the Shit List. This isn’t really about dogs, anyway. This is about identity.

Everyone has their different preferences, and far be it from me to pass judgment, but seriously? You’re trying to build an upscale dog hotel around the corner from Murphy’s Law?

At what point does a luxury purchase cross the absurdity line? Some people buy imported ice made from Scottish spring water for their Scotch. Where’s the extra utility you’re getting from spending all that extra money? Those people do that kind of thing for status. Lavishing HDTV, massage therapy, and organic food on an animal that spends a lot of its time licking the empty sack where its testicles used to be is a status purchase. Of course there’s a demand for it – because some people would flush C-notes down the toilet if it made them look cool – but not here. Don’t do it here.

This Boston Herald article indicates that Southie – as well as the BRA (Boston Redevelopment Authority, for those of you who don’t know) – is pretty dead-set against this, which is good. That means that people still respect the values of reasonable skepticism, pragmatic thinking, and respect for your neighbors that we were all raised on, rather than the imported-Scotch-water way of thinking.

I sort of feel bad that the woman who is trying to start this business invested $80,000 of her own money in it instead of, say, taking out a small business loan – not sure about the situation there – but, like I said, sometimes the axe has to drop on things like this. What’s next? A new Ritz-Carlton on L Street? Hot stone therapy at the Bathhouse? Six hundred-dollar plates of whale sushi for sale on West Broadway? Southie isn’t Beverly Hills. Broadway isn’t 5th Avenue. This has got to stop.