Who Let the Dogs Out in San Francisco?

This Postcard answers the question, “who let the dogs out?”

San Francisco has an official list of landmarks. They are listed in order of the date of receiving the designation. The list includes such places as number one, listed in 1968, Mission Dolores. Number 18, listed in 1969, the Palace Hotel Garden Court. And number 30, Ghirardelli Square, listed in 1970. Fast forward to 2006, number 254 was added to the list. It is the Doggie Diner sign/sculpture at Sloat Boulevard and 45th Avenue.

Doggie Diner was one of the first fast food restaurant chains in the Bay Area starting in 1948. The iconic logo was designed in 1965. A graphic artist named Harold Bachman created an image of a dachshund with a chef’s hat and a polka dot tie. That image was molded in fiberglass in 1966 to become a seven-foot tall symbol of Doggie Diner. Many natives remember the restaurant across Sloat Boulevard from the San Francisco Zoo. The sculpture remained, even as the restaurant name and owners changed.

Community members rallied when the sculpture was threatened to be removed. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in 2000 authorizing San Francisco Public Works to take possession of the Doggie Diner head “for preservation and relocation.” In April 2001, a 45-mph windstorm knocked it down. The famous dachshund nose was smashed.

Finally in 2014, the head was restored, and found a new home on top of a specially built pole on a public median close to its original location. Here is a short clip from San Francisco Public Works of the installation:

At one time, the Doggie Diner chain had 30 locations around the Bay Area. In 1986, the chain ceased operations. It could not successfully compete with the large fast food franchises. Doggie Diner heads from other locations were sold. Enter John Law, owner of Central Services, an electric sign maintenance, installation, repair and cleaning business. And oh yes, he also was one of the founders of the Burning Man festival. So he appreciates art when he sees it.

John could also be called the Godfather of Manny, Mo and Jack, three siblings with a remarkable resemblance to San Francisco’s Doggie Diner head. This clip explains what John is doing with the heads that could be coming to an event near you:

The Kickstarter campaign was successful. By February 8, 2014, a total of $51, 436 was raised, surpassing the goal of $48,000. So the real answer to who let the dogs out in San Francisco is definitely John Law.

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Best wishes,