Sunday, August 9, 2015

San Francisco is a Special Breed...

Kayla is just as cute as can be!
"Their names are Kayla and Kodi, they are litter mates born in July, so that makes them both Leos." I had to laugh as Kayla and Kodi's mom introduced me to these two adorable pups while I was on vacation last week in San Francisco. I love SF and this is just one of the many reasons why - where else do you get the full life story, including zodiac sign when you stop to pet a puppy! 

Kodi is a therapy dog!
One of my favorite things to do while on vacation is to meet locals and love on puppies - not every city is as excited to meet a pet artist from Austin, but I have met dozens of pet parents on my many visits to San Francisco and it seems that every one of them wants to chat for hours about their pups. I met Kayla and Kodi, who happens to also be a therapy dog, at a local event called Off the Grid, which is an outdoor festival that sets up once a month during the summertime. Of course, I took a few minutes to hang out with these sweeties, having the pleasure of offering belly rubs and plenty of puppy kisses. 

Blue the Great Dane. 
A few minutes later, as I strolled around the event, I met another handsome boy, Blue. Of course, I am particularly drawn to Great Danes - a sweet friend of mine is the Vice President of Paws of Austin Dane Rescue and over the last few years, I have just completely fallen in love with these big pups (or miniature horses as some would say). Blue has his own Instagram account even - how cool is that!? (Although, I have to admit, I dropped the ball and lost his instagram account info, so if you have it, please send it my way!). Blue was a little camera shy, but had no problem whatsoever asking for plenty of rubs and scratches! 

Asta is a beautiful 6 year old Airedale Terrier.
If you have ever visited San Francisco, you have most definitely stopped by the Wharf and Pier 39. It's not exactly my scene, but it's a mandatory tourist stop, so of course, we took a few minutes to shop. I had to stop into Le Beastro - they recently carried a few of my items in their store (although, happily, they seemed to be running low on stock - stay tuned to see if we can get a few new items up there). At the Pier, I of course met a few more pet parents, including an adorable Airedale Terrier named Asta. Asta was named after a 1940's Hollywood movie-dog. I just love this sweet mug and Asta certainly was the center of attention on the pier! 

As the day wore on, my mom, sister and I had so much fun exploring the city. Once a year or so, we like to take a girl's weekend. As we walked around the city, we came upon the massive farmer's market at the Ferry Building. This market is just stunning, with colors like no other - the fresh fruits were delicious and the flowers were just intoxicating! The market sits on the pier just behind the Ferry Building and with the bay in the background, the fresh sea air, this market is just picture perfect! 

Kitty Artwork by Anne Dal Pozzo.
I am just a sucker for Farmer's Markets and local artwork and when we came across some adorable cat portraits, I was just thrilled! Generally, she isn't a fan of photos, but I just had to persuade artist Anne Dal Pozzo to let me snap a quick photo of her beautiful cat art. Each piece is hand-painted (these aren't prints people - how cool is that?) and priced perfectly! I had a few minutes to chat with Anne, who proudly told me stories of her sweet cat Lightening, who is 13 and obviously the love of Anne's life! I am always in awe of other artists and it was a joy to meet Anne and hear about her work! 

Aspen is just too cute! 
Of course, as I turned around, I ran into an adorable little pup who I was introduced to as Aspen. This little sweetie is obviously a super model - look at that perfect pose!

Just a few blocks from the Ferry Building market, we met Grace and Oski. Grace's mom said she had a crush on me, but I think she may have just smelled the puppy biscuits I keep in my camera bag at all times. Oski, an adorable Pekingese was named after the mascot for the University of California. I'm sure by now my mom and siste were either laughing or annoyed my excitement in meeting new dogs and their people, but hey, that's what you get when your daughter/sister is a pet artist! 

I ran into beautiful Bella while hanging out at Off the Grid.
One of my favorite pups from our girl's weekend was a pit bull named Bella. This sweet girl has the absolute best family and her moms were just thrilled to tell me all about her and have her show off her talents. This beautiful pit bull is full of personality and is a wonderful advocate for her breed. Bella gave me plenty of kisses and made me miss my own sweet pittie who was probably happily cuddled up on the couch with her dad all weekend! 

Another mandatory excursion while visiting San Francisco is a wine tour - you just have to take a trip out to Napa, or Sonoma or the Russian River Valley (my personal favorite). This time, we decided to take a tour out to Napa (stopping at the beautiful Muir Woods on the way). I love how so many of the wineries are big doggie fanatics - at the Mayo Family Winery, we met Nibbly and Gus - I just wanted to scoop Gus up and bring him back to Austin with me. This little Shih Tzu was just amazingly adorable! What could be better than drinking wine and loving on puppies?!

Cute Gus, one of the sweet winery
dogs at Mayo Family Winery!
Of course, my weekend in San Francisco was full of other wonderful fun adventures, but really, isn't it always about the puppies with me? I'm happy to be home in Austin (minus the 103+ degree weather, yuck!) with all of my pet loving friends and family, but will of course look forward to my next trip to California! San Francisco, your dogs (and their people) are just phenomenal and I love you all! Until next time...

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

Sweet little Kayla was definitely not shy in asking for belly rubs!
San Francisco has a huge homeless community, but one thing I have come
to love about this community is their dedication and love for their animals.
Maybe she had a crush on me - but I really think she just wanted the treats
from my camera bag! 
I just love how local shop owners have their pups hanging out in style at their
shops. This little guy was super comfortable and all tail wags when
someone finally stopped to pet him!
Nibbly is one of several pups that hangs out at the Mayo Family Winery.
My mom, sister and myself having a glass (well, I am anyway) of wine.
Spike belongs to a homeless man, who goes out of his way to ensure his
buddy always has tasty treats and snacks!
This little guy was waiting patiently as his owner ran into a shop to grab
a bite to eat on Haight street. He was so sweet and well behaved!
I was just in love with this handsome mug!
My very favorite spot in San Francisco - Alamo Square Park!
One of the many pups handing out at Alamo Square Park!
I just loved how he seems to be taking in the city...
Alamo Square Dog Park... so many puppies!!
More pups at Alamo Square Park!
Asta is just too cute! I met this sweetie on Pier 39.
Off the Grid festival in the Presidio.
Hanging out at Off the Grid Festival. 
Playing ball - he was just so stinking cute!
Bella, the sweetest little pittie mix. Her family is spectacular!
Bella is just full of personality! 
Another sweet pup I met at Off the Grid!
Haight street is full of adorable dogs hanging with their owners. 
So much color and life in this city!
This sweet little poodle mix takes a stroll in the Presidio. Her owner wasn't
far behind - don't worry!
Delicious fruit from the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building. 
I fell in love with this turtle fountain at Ghirardeli Square.
A pup hangs out with as his family plays in a band. 
San Francisco is full of hearts - Austin has painted Guitars.
View from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Visiting Muir Woods with my mom and sister! It was very chilly in the morning!
Sausalito is a beautiful little town near San Francisco. Well worth the trip!
The Golden Gate Bridge is just beautiful!