Dog Day Afternoon

It's always hard to share the holidays with someone of different politics — even the politics of dog training. Put Cesar Millan and the SF SPCA in a room together and watch out! Here's the story: A few years ago, Millan, who has built a media juggernaut around getting dogs to pay attention to his whispering, came under fire from Jean Donaldson of the now-defunct SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers. She wrote that some of his methods were aggressive and outdated (the American Humane Association thinks the same thing, incidentally). For his part, Millan is one of Oprah's favorite things. To his credit, he has kind eyes. Back to arguing around the holiday table: Today, the two camps appear under the same roof, though admittedly it's giant roof — it's a department store roof — to do their respective dog-loving things. At 1 p.m. in the Cellar, the dog whisperer signs copies of his new book, Cesar’s Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog, released just in time to be a Christmas bestseller. And one floor up the SPCA holds court at Macy's Holiday Windows, the adoption event that absolves the store each year from so many consumer-culture wrongs, like the Wolfgang Puck outpost in the basement, by placing doggies and kitties in the holiday-themed window displays. (For those who need an instant fix, view three live streaming cams on the SPCA site.) We're certain any chance meetings between the two parties would be amicable — nobody wants to see a puppy cry.
Dec. 2-Jan. 2, 2010

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