"Dog Days of Summer" Invades the Westin St. Francis


Those passing through Union Square on their walks home from work last night may have been a bit perplexed--and simultaneously, delighted--to see more than 100 canines donning their Sunday best and prancing down a red carpet that led into the Westin St. Francis' Grand Ballroom.

No, they weren't celebrities. No, Paris Hilton's 17 pooches (really, 17) weren't in town for the evening, expecting their usual royal treatment. Rather, the SPCA and Westin teamed up for a special night, the Dog Days of Summer, that targeted man's best friend and their owners (or vice verse, depending on how you want to look at it), to great success with the 150 tickets selling well in advance and all the proceeds going to a great cause.

Paris and her posse may have been absent, but one notable personality was in attendance: former Mayor Willie Brown, accompanied by his daughter, Sydney, who was dressed to the nines to match her three-month-old chihuahua. She opened the fashion show presented by Andrew Freeman and Kattya Breitenbach, one of the owners of event sponsor Cheeko B Pet Boutique.

And an actual canine celebrity, Little Guy, was showing his stuff, as he twirled around the dance floor with his owner, Berkeley-based dog trainer Cerena Zutis, and performed some of his favorite tricks like "bad dog," in which he covers both eyes with his paws, and his most respective salute. Zutis adopted Little Guy as a four-month-old trouble case from the SPCA; three years and a lot of work later, he's made national appearances on TV shows like Late Show with David Letterman. "He's a special case," Zutis said. "I could always tell he had an old soul."

Cocktails and gourmet nibbles were served up for the people; the dogs enjoyed their own spread of canine treats like Beggin' Strips in the pet-friendly hotel, which goes as far as offering its patrons the signature Westin Heavenly Dog Beds for their dogs to sleep in comfort and style. All attendees were sent home with "doggy bags" of goodies galore.

It's safe to say San Francisco's going to the dogs. Or perhaps it's long gone.

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