Snow is coming to town.
This Saturday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the backyard garden of in Pacifica will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland with 10 tons of snow blown in by a snowmaking company for dogs and their families to play in.
Admission is $35 and includes a photographer snapping posed or candid holiday shots of dogs and their owners playing in the snow.
“It's a fun alternative to the traditional pet photos with Santa,” said AnnaBee's and president and creative director Maureen Murray. “Not to be all bah-humbug and everything, but sometimes Santa is scary to dogs!”
Glamorous pet fashion, snowball throwing, peppermint hot chocolate for the parents, and gingerbread-men shaped treats for the dogs are all part of the festivities planned for the day, which is “mainly to just have fun and fundraise for the Annabelle Foundation at the same time,” said Murray.
The Annabelle Foundation is an organization dedicated to providing emergency funding to aid in the rescue of pit bull type dogs from natural disasters and cruelty cases.
“We provide funding to pre-approved 501(c) 3 rescues and non-profits that are well-established and practice a strict code-of-ethics," said Murray. "Funding will be allocated on a case-by-case basis to pit bull-type dogs with personalities that demonstrate the potential to become ambassadors for the breed. Our programs will assist with travel expenses, temporary housing/fostering, health care, food, enrichment and training.”
For the past two years since first opening, AnnaBee’s Doggie Boutique and Café carries the best in doggie couture and fashion accessories as well as doggie cuisine with baked treats and menu items like Chicken Pot Pie, Duck Pâte brisée and Braised Lamb patties. Most recently, Murray expanded the business with an upscale dog hotel and spa next door and launched the Annabelle Foundation.
“We’re the Bay Area’s first café for dogs,” said Murray, who named the establishment after her “cute, silly, fun, tenacious, and sassy white American Pit Bull Terrier named Annabelle. Annabelle's legacy continues with AnnaBee's, and she inspired me to open the Bay Area's most luxurious dog hotel and spa at Linda Mar Beach and establish the Annabelle Foundation's programs.”
Annabelle survived unbeatable odds in her young life, Murray explains. Abandoned alone in her house for 16 days during and after Hurricane Katrina, Annabelle was rescued by SPCA volunteers on Sept. 9, 2005. She was then sent to a Humane Society in the Southwest where she further endured horrific treatment and conditions while on "custody hold."
Annabelle was adopted by Murray on Jan. 6, 2006.
“Together, we lived the good life, part-time as Manhattanites and part-time as Pacifica beach bums,” said Murray.
Annabelle flourished in her new home and excelled in BAD RAP and Our Pack training classes but passed away peacefully from brain cancer on Dec. 28, 2008, said Murray. At the time of her death, Annabelle was preparing to take the Canine Good Citizen examination and was even used as a demo dog practicing certain tasks at Our Pack training classes
“Through the Annabelle Foundation's programs, more pit bulls like Annabelle will be given a second chance as well as bring awareness to privately and municipally run shelters that all pit bull-type dogs — adoptable, non-adoptable, custody hold or strays — deserve to be treated humanely and with respect,” said Murray.
By establishing the Annabelle Foundation and also recently launching a new dog hotel and daycare, Murray and AnnaBee’s manager and photographer Mary Ellen Wood, thought it would be great fun to bring in snow to celebrate this holiday season.
“Now that Annabelle is a pit bull fairy princess in heaven, she flew over to the North Pole and had a little talk with Santa,” said Murray. “What Annabelle wanted, Annabelle always got! In everything we do, Annabelle is our primary inspiration. Annabelle's favorite thing in New York City was playing in the snow, and her favorite thing about living in Pacifica was playing on the beach. So, we thought, how awesome would it be to combine the two?”
Wood, an experienced pet and band photographer, will be the photographer at the event. AnnaBee's has also partnered with Ellen Shershow Pena, the owner of J'adore le Chien Pet Photography. Examples of her work will be on display in AnnaBee’s main daycare playroom, The Lounge at Club AnnaBee's.
“Her fashion-forward sense of style complements us perfectly as does her views on dogs, as fashion icons. She will be offering discounts to our customers for sessions booked at the event,” said Murray.
Dogs are encouraged to dress up, “after all, AnnaBee’s is a pet fashion boutique,” said Murray.
For dogs with short coats, Murray recommends holiday sweaters, hoodies, puffer jackets and stylish rain great or faux fur coats.
“We just got in a new shipment of winter gear made for large dogs from iDawg Clothing that is stunningly stylish and will fit larger dogs that easily get cold, like Boxers, Dobermans, rotties, pitties, and most Great Danes.”
For little dogs, Murray recommends her couture line from Louisdog.
“There simply isn't anything cuter on the market, and trust us, we are the experts in all things cute,” she said.
For dogs that don't mind the cold, like golden retrievers, Newfoundland’s, Saint Bernard’s or huskies, a Santa hat or festive collar will do.
“We don't think it's necessary to invest in a pair of snow boots, that sports stores like REI carries, because we won't be putting down any salt. Salt really stings dogs' paws. While snow boots would look adorably cute in the photos, it usually takes most dogs a bit of time to get used to wearing shoes, and it might take away from them having fun.”
Murray’s nine-week old powder puff Chinese Crested puppy named Sofia Bianca will be wearing a ruby red winter jacket featuring a shear ling crease design, decorated with a rhinestone teddy bear, from Louisdog.
Pony, her red-nosed American Pit Bull Terrier, will be wearing pink.
“She thoroughly enjoys her career as a doggie runway model, but finds it hard to keep her slim figure because of all of the goodies AnnaBee's carries,” said Murray. “She’s discovered how to slide the bakery case open with her nose.”
Pony will be modeling the Crystal Pink Revolver Bomber Jacket from iDawg Clothing, a hot pink number made of water-resistant nylon with a faux fur hoodie.
Tripoli, Murray’s boxer-mix, will also be modeling winter gear from iDawg, a Fader Bomber Jacket in New Navy.
“iDawg Clothing is not only perfect for trips to the snow, but also for coastal living,” said Murray. “The outer shell of their bomber jackets are made of a highly water-resistant nylon fabric, have a cozy fleece lining with a 3M Thinsulate 1/4" thick water-resistant filling in the middle for extra warmth. Definitely an AnnaBee's recommended must have item for bigger dogs,” said Murray.
AnnaBee's also carries a selection of doggie goodies like bagged treats from MaSnax, who bakes AnnaBee's signature “Cold Nose Kisses” double carob mint biscuits and every flavor of biscuits from Bocce's Bakery in New York City.
“Their Truffle Mac-n-Cheese and The Elvis are two of our favorites,” said Murray, “and their Chicken Cordon Bleu & Beef Bourguignon are our best sellers.”
Winter-themed doggie cupcakes from Barkn Belly Bakery and Bubba Rose Bakery will also be available for purchase.
Still, for Murray some of the most memorable moments with Annabelle were watching her play in the snow.
Now she’s offering that experience to Bay Area dogs and their owners with photos to capture their dog’s expression on film when their feet hit the snow for the first time.
“Snow is something every dog and dog owner should experience,” said Murray. “Will they lick it? Will they eat it? Some of our customers said that their dogs have never seen snow before. We can't wait for them to experience it!”
IF YOU GO
Call AnnaBee’s Doggie Boutique & Cafe to pre-book a photo time slot for $35 on Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 650-735-5566. AnnaBee’s is blocking out time from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. for “dogs that are leash-reactive or don't do well with other dogs,” said Murray. “We find that these dogs miss out on a lot of normal activities that other dog owners do with their dogs, so as we do with our dog cafe, we feel it's important to offer private reservations for these dogs.” AnnaBee’s Doggie Boutique & Cafe is located at 5410 Coast Hwy, Pacifica.