Normally, you wouldn’t want dogs on a runway.

But when it happened in Santa Rosa on Saturday afternoon, the outcome was quite endearing.

Dogs available for adoption strutted their stuff alongside fashionistas bedecked in back-to-school apparel for the eighth annual Mutts & Models, a dual-purpose stage show at Santa Rosa Plaza.

Plaza merchants were pleased to have about three dozen modeling students from Santa Rosa’s Julie Nation Academy show off some of the season’s most appealing styles and accessories.

A crowd of shoppers gathered as the models, aged between about 5 and 35, took turns walking a runway on the downtown mall’s center court.

A few of the Julie Nation Academy students also refined their public speaking and acting skills by performing monologues or commercials.

Then there were the dogs.

Employees of Sonoma County Animal Services brought along some of the puppies and adult dogs that await adoption from the county shelter.

Prospective pets melted hearts as they escorted the fashion models and accepted some lovin’ from spectators.

At the conclusion of Mutts & Models, shoppers were invited to look more deeply into something that’s beautiful and never goes out of style: lasting friendship with a dog.