Pet Friendly in San Francisco

San Francisco is Going to the Dogs

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One great thing about my job and working from home is that I can get up at the crack of dawn (6am in this case), work until noon in a coffee-induced frenzy, then hop a train down to San Jose to meet Sarah for lunch. Not like I do that often or anything; I’ve been trying to plan a date with Sarah in her ‘hood since she and Jon added an English bulldog, the adorable Frankie, to their little family back at the beginning of the year. Yesterday, we finally made that happen. (He looks a lot different now than when they adopted him and has a good 40 pounds on his puppy self.)

Sarah wasn’t kidding when she told me she felt like a celebrity every time she went out in public with the Frankster; quite literally, every person that passed us on Santana Row stopped to say hello, pet Frankie or ask to take a picture with him. It was hilarious; ladies (or likewise, men) if ever you have trouble meeting a member of the opposite (or same, I don’t judge) sex, buy or borrow you an English bulldog; they work wonders. (Entrepreneurial idea of the day: Start a bulldog farm and rent them out to daters!)

Even the other dogs were enamored with the Frankster.

Pictured alongside him is my new favorite breed of dog, the Coton de Tulear, which looks like a larger Maltese and is the native dog of Madagascar. This beauty’s name is Schubert, and his lovely owner, Sarah’s and my new friend, is Kristina (hi, Kristina!). He and Frankie had quite the time chasing each other—or rather Schubert taunting him, then sprinting away, as Frankie lumbered behind, as the case may have been—and nuzzling one another fondly like they’d known each other all of their less-than-a-year-long lives.

After I left Sarah and Frankie behind, it was only fitting that I caught the train back up to San Francisco, where Scott picked me up and whisked me off to one of my favorite hotels, the Westin St. Francis, for—wait for it—a puppy extravaganza! The pet-friendly establishment had teamed up with the local SPCA chapter to host the “Dog Days of Summer,” in which 100+ canines walked the red carpet for the “pawparazzi” and were treated as VIDs inside the Westin’s Grand Ballroom.

This woman and her gaggle said it was by no means her dogs’ first time walking the carpet. (Somehow I don’t doubt it, though I do wonder where on Earth they’d done such a thing before?!)

Several of the dogs would stop and pose for the cameras like they were born to do so. Sassy! It was too funny, too cute.

Not to mention, many out-designered me. (This poodle matched his owner and wore a Louis Vuitton cape, one square foot of fabric that likely cost more than my whole ensemble!)

The people were treated to cocktails, wine and amazing nibbles (and one lavish dessert spread!), while the pooches had a treat table all of their own and bowls of “cookies” dispersed at the drinks tables so they weren’t neglected when their owners needed libations.

There was even a fashion show in their honor, put on by trendy pet boutique Cheeko B.

There was one celebrity in attendance: former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown (until Gav took over in 2004). Here I am five feet away from him trying to get up the nerve to strike up a conversation. I can have drinks with Ben Affleck and not be fazed (aside from being distracted by thinking the guy endorsed a terrorist), but talking to a politician whom I’d never heard of until a few months prior clearly sends me in a tizzy.

Here’s his couldn’t-be-cuter granddaughter and her matching chihuahua. (Watch out, Paris, she’ll give you a run for your money!)

This is Little Guy, owned by Berkeley-based dog trainer, Cerena Zutis. He’s a former trouble case she adopted from the SPCA at four months old, and since adoption and a lot of training, he’s been all over the media, including on Letterman, for his smarts. SVV and I were smitten by Little Guy, his scruffy demeanor and undeniable talent. (See him dance with Cerena and do tricks like “bad dog” and salute.)

All in all, the night was a great success. The tickets all sold out a week in advance, and a lot of money was raised for such a great organization. SVV and I couldn’t get over how genuinely nice and approachable every single person we met at the event was. Not that San Franciscans are generally a snooty breed, but dog-owners and animal-lovers tend to have such a friendlier aura, and many chatted us up even though we had no pooch in tow.

After all this canine commotion, not to mention my latest dogsledding adventures, who wants to go ahead and chime in that I needs me a dog STAT?! (Unfortunately, it’s not gonna happen until we buy a house and move, not to mention get hitched, but in the meantime, I’m really hoping to volunteer at the SPCA. That’s a great and noble way to spend all that excess “free time,” don’t you think? But seriously, looking into it, like, now.)


  • August 27, 2009

    VID festival complete with red carpet treatment. Only in America. Cute post.

  • August 27, 2009

    Everyone should have a dog! And if you get a small enough one, he/she could travel with you! I LOVE this post! 🙂

  • August 27, 2009

    Schubert is cute! Looks a lot like my Marley (Maltese)…who’s a bit on the larger size for a Maltese.

  • August 27, 2009

    What a fun event! You’re right about dog people, they are generally friendly, especially if their favorite breed is the same as yours. The St. Francis is one of my favorite hotels too, I got to stay there when my mom and I visited to San Francisco (and it was such a treat!).

  • August 27, 2009

    What a dog day!
    Frankie is wonderful, Shubert a delight.
    And Wow, all those dogs walking the red carpet. Did you notice if the owners and their pets looked a bit alike?
    Can’t see how you could not steal one away. But I understand. Being petless since the first of the year, and wanting one, yet waiting so I can travel more of the world. Once your married, and settled (haha), at least you’ll have SVV to help take care of a dog.

    Great post.

  • August 27, 2009

    What a great day for the dogs! Did you hear about this new idea in New York called “Rent a Pet?” I swear, this thing exists.

  • August 27, 2009

    I’ve recently started to warm up to dogs (I’m allergic, so I’ve never been a huge fan). But what I’ve heard from all my dog-owning friends is that they really tie you down. You have to find someone to watch them when you travel and always have to think about how long it has been since you last let them out to do their business, or taken them for a walk and stuff. Maybe when I have kids, I think about getting a dog – but until then I think I’ll stick with my free-wheeling lifestyle and just visiting my friends with dogs!

  • August 27, 2009

    Omg, talk about an overdose of cuteness!!! I would have been in heaven @ that event. I’ve been debating getting a dog myself for ages, but seriously with the amount of traveling you and I do…is it the wisest idea, haha? Cute dress you were wearing @ the event! 🙂

  • August 27, 2009

    Maybe you can finally meet Sadie and Chuy when you come down next weekend? It looks like Frankie is a mellow version of Sadie – for a bulldog she is high-energy.

    I’m surprised you didn’t call this post “Paw-parazzi” – haha.

  • August 27, 2009

    Dear god I want a puppy so bad. This post is not helping!

  • August 27, 2009

    We just got an English Bulldog and I can say that you are absolutely right. He’s met lots of people and gotten his picture taken. My 4 year old said, “Everyone wants to pet our puppy.”

    I have to show my husband this post. So fun! I’m sure he would have loved that and we always stay at the Westin when in town!

  • August 27, 2009

    You do need a doggie! I don’t know how I ever got along without my own neurotic Chihuahua.

    Also, what an awesome event!

  • August 27, 2009

    we had such a good time too! I am looking forward to next time!

  • August 28, 2009

    looks like a circus to me. and what in the world is a pet boutique? redonkulous.

  • August 28, 2009

    Pants should totally have been there. I still like the idea of dressing her up like either Chewbacca or a dancing bear from the circus. Unfortunately, her mean and paranoid mother had her shaved again yesterday, so all her pretty curls are gone. But she’s all soft and velvety now.
    You totally need a dog.

  • August 28, 2009

    I so want a coton de tulear.

  • August 28, 2009

    Dude, as if I didn’t want a dog badly enough already!!

  • August 28, 2009

    I don’t know how I feel about dogs walking the red carpet.
    or chihuahuas.
    they kind of give me the heebiejeebies.

  • August 29, 2009

    Since I’ve got a pug I’m partial to any dog with a wrinkly face, bulldogs included.

  • August 29, 2009
    joan van velsor

    I want Little guy! What a cutie. I can’t wait til you guys pick yourselves up a canine companion and start training him/her to do these uber cute tricks. My unsolicted recommendation? A pound puppy like Little guy.

    Love ya

  • September 22, 2009

    Как-то всё сложно становится… Не понимаю, зачем усложнять жизнь, если нужно делать её проще.. 🙂

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