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By Bill Market
1305 New Jersey Street
Unlike other cats, Puffy and Hairball actually like dogs. "Like 'em? Hell, we love 'em," claims Puffy, a six-toed tabby and co-owner of Doggie Depilators, Noe Valley's first pelt-care salon for canines.
Hairball, a Sylvester look-alike, agrees with his partner: "That's why we started our business. We wanted to do something good for our fellow companion animals, and also for their owners."
Doggie Depilators specializes in removing all of a dog's hair. "Obviously, this has huge benefits for dog owners," says Hairball. "No more dander, no more fur sticking to clothes or furniture, no money wasted on brushes and combs."
A visit to Doggie Depilators starts with a consultation between the cats and the dog's owner. Then, once the owner leaves, the dog is firmly muzzled and strapped tightly into a special harness that keeps him or her from escaping during the hair-removal process. Their soundproofed studio blocks out extraneous noise and helps to reduce their clients' anxiety, says Hairball. "It also gives them some 'me' time."
Doggie Depilators does not use cremes or other "quick fixes," according to its owners. "We use the old-fashioned meth-od," says Puffy. "Tweezers." Although this process can take up to 48 hours to complete, the owners point out that it avoids the use of chemicals that can irritate a dog's sensitive nose. "It's true," says Hairball, "pulling out a dog's hairs one by one may sound like a slow and inefficient method. But believe me, we love every minute of it."
Doggie Depilators makes appointments between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., Mondays. For information, call 555-YEOW.
67231-1/2 24th Street
Expensive Things knows it has a lot of competition. "Twenty-fourth Street is full of whimsical shops," notes proprietor Noblesse O'Blige. "There are already plenty of places to buy stuff you don't know that you don't need."
What's different about Expensive Things is that the store makes no pretense of selling anything of practical or artistic value. "The only advantage our items have are their high prices. We pride ourselves in offering the most expensive merchandise of any Noe Valley retailer."
"Here," O'Blige said, turning to a customer lighting his cigarette with a hundred-dollar bill, "buy this." She handed him a empty pork-and-bean can filled with pencil shavings. "It's one of a kind, only $500." The customer grabbed the rusty tin and bounded toward the cash register.
Expensive Things also provides a healing feng shui service. "Just give us a call, and we'll come out to your home, rearrange your furniture to achieve the best possible flow of chi, find new creative outlets for your lamps, raise your thermostat to simulate a sweat lodge, and then steal your television.
"Of course, everything we offer at the store can be done virtually, on our web site [www.uselesscrap.com]," O'Blige noted. "We also take consignments."