Monday, May 6, 2013

San Francisco: A Pet Friendly City

Last year, my husband and I went to San Francisco to celebrate our marriage after nearly 10 years of being happily together. Yes, it was a fabulous honeymoon and like I imagine many visitors do, I fell in love with the city. Not only is San Francisco beautiful and full of love, life and fantastic art, but San Francisco is extremely pet friendly! 

While we explored last year, I met about a dozen dogs and their owners. This year was no different - probably because I feel the need to meet every four-legged friend that comes my way!
As a fan of all wine, San Francisco and wine-country are absolute heaven for me. I could be happy sitting out on a pier watching the ocean or a restaurant patio with a glass of wine for the rest of my life in San Francisco.. of course, since I have a life that needs me, I will settle for a week of wine tasting every year. 

This year, we of course took a fantastic wine tour. My husband must have felt like he was on top of the world traveling through wine country with 7 gorgeous ladies (Ashley, Kim, Molly, Abby, Erica, Christina and myself) and only one other man, our tour guide, Greg. We of course had a blast throughout the day and spent time at some phenomenal vineyards. 

Sweet moment with my husband
in the Balletto Vineyard.
We stopped at Balletto Winery, a gorgeous vineyard with some of the best Red Wines that I have had the pleasure of tasting. We took home bottles of their fabulous unoaked aged Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer (spicy & sweet) and a bottle of their Zinfandel. My regret was not taking home more to enjoy because by the time we boarded to go home, several bottles had somehow gone missing! (I will stand by my claim that we did not drink them all!)

Our second winery was Taft Street Winery, which may now top the charts for my own personal vineyard. Not only was their wine fantastic - my list of purchased wines grew here as well - but they host 3 four-legged staff members! Finnegan, the resident cat showed up one morning, they assumed he was a neighbors cat, but decided to let him come in for a visit. That evening, they let him back out to make his way back home, but the next morning he was waiting for them to open. After a few days, it was clear that Finnegan wanted to stay, so he became a staple in the tasting room, greeting guests and clearly making a positive impression on everyone that stops in for a wine tasting. 

In addition to Finnegan, Taft Street hosts a lovely boxer named Twisted and an adorable Lab named Dooley who joined the ranks about a year ago. Both pups happily explore the vineyards and greet guests as they stop in to visit. Taft Street gets huge props from me for taking such great care of their four-legged family! 

However, wine country isn't the only pet-friendly area of the San Francisco area! The city is full of amazing dog hot-spots and wonderful parks where the four-legged can explore. We visited so many different areas of the city and met tons of pups. At Alamo Square Park, I was smothered in kissed by a trio of Pekingese pups and watched two of my favorite breeds (a Dalmatian and a Pit Bull) have a wonderful wrestling match with each other. We met several street performers who had their pups present and a few homeless that cared for their dogs more than life itself. I admit that my heart went out to those dogs, but in retrospect, their are far worse fates and both homeless families were fat and happy. The two pit bull type pups were both neutered even AND came across as some of the most social pups around - so obviously their families (even if homeless) are doing right by the pups. 

At Ghirardelli square, we took a break in the park and enjoyed the cool grass and sunshine and were able to watch the city pass us by. Dog after dog walked by with their owners and I could not help but feel at home. If there is a city to compare to Austin, San Francisco takes the highest rank. As we were driving around the city, I saw a car driving by boasting "Muttville Senior Dog Rescue" and could not help but smile. I have had the pleasure of donating to Muttville on several occasions. Seeing their car and the great work that they do right in front of me just made me feel at home. I love San Francisco and while I am so thrilled to be home in Austin with my own pets curled up at my feet tonight, I know that I will be heading back to SF as soon as possible!

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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