Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Santa Maria Novella for Dogs (and Cats too)

My dad has loved Santa Maria Novella ever since he visited the pharmacy on the Villa della Scala in Florence, Italy more than twenty years ago. I guess that's why he was so thrilled when, a few weeks ago when we were visiting New York, he discovered that they are now making products for dogs (and cats). Twenty years ago dad was intoxicated by the scents of Fieno (Hay) and Vetiver produced by the Officina di Santa Maria Novella. Not that he is a cologne wearing guy. He isn't. He just liked to have the beautiful bottles sitting on his bathroom counter and occaisionally he would open one and savor the clean pure fragrance it contained. These days he is taken with their amazing potpourri and terra cotta pomegranate fragrance infuser. I mean the terracotta pomegrante is a work of art unto itself. He has one in his closet where the gentle essence of pomegranate scents his socks and undergutchies. The potpourri is a mixture of herbs and flowers macerated in terracotta jars from Impruneta. And, how could I forget, he is addicted to their pomegranate bath salts.

They also make these amazing Armenian burning papers (or something like that) which are thin slips of paper that clear and cleanse the air when lit. These were actually the first SMN items that dad purchased and he still always has some around the house. They smell great even before you burn them.

The Officina do Santa Maria Novella was founded in 1221 by Dominican friars. The monks cultivated medicinal herbs and used them to prepare ointments, balms, and medications for their convent's infirmary. All of their products have their unique histories. For example, the Acqua della Regina is a essence that was created especially for Catherine de' Medici. This noblewoman, crowned Queen of France, introduced her precious perfume and many other fine Florentine things to the French, who came to know and appreciate them.

So when dad discovered the SMN products for dogs (and cats) on the back shelf of a small shop on Madison Avenue, he couldn't but help but purchase the no-rinse detergent foam. It's rose scented and it refreshes the coat without harming the coat. It's perfect for my little pee-bear Angus between baths. And then, the other day, in Dallas we found a store that stocked the entire line of Santa Maria Novella for Dogs (and Cats). From delicate shampoo to ear lotion to paw and corn ointment (which softens corns on joints and protects fingertips and the nose from chapping) to mouthwash gel, deodorant, and lemongrass lotion (which with its mild formula, provides lengthy protection from mosquito bites). Dad showed unusual restraint and only purchased the whitening powder made with rice powder for Roxie's soon-to-be whiter than white muzzle. It's useful for removing spots (that often appear around the mouth or eyes) without damaging the skin or coat. It may be my imagination but I think it makes her smell a bit like an Italian courtesan. I mean in a good way. It's vaguely foreign and accommodating. Do you know what I mean?