Hello again, dear Readers!
Hopefully by now I’ve established the link between this blog and my instagram, @elizainthetrees. If so, you’ve been seeing some of my favorite quotes and get to know me facts! One of them was that I have a dog and a cat (how cute are they?)
In our house, we have two cats, and two dogs. One dog and cat are mine, the other set belongs to my roommate. The cats don’t get along, and the dogs are sisters! Their names are Keyleth and Mollymauk, which is awesome because they are named after two characters from Critical Role (please look it up if you’re not familiar, it’s nerd heaven) but the names shorten to Kiki and Molly, which are just the perfect white girl names for these two small floofs.
"After waiting for a few years, I was ready to be a dog mom again."
They came to us via facebook; my previous dog ownership venture ended in heartbreak, just two months before I lost my childhood lovebug Gryffindor. After waiting for a few years, I was ready again. We had to be particular though- I preach adopt don’t shop as much as any animal lover, but the practicality of that is not in my favor, because my best friend and roommate, and the owner of miss Molly, is allergic to dogs. This means we have to be more selective. We didn’t go to a breeder, but we responded to someone who’s two dogs, (both were breeds that had hair not fur) had puppies. We went to the first meeting, and instantly fell in love. Molly chilled out in Courtney’s arms, and Kiki wiggled up to me to lick my face and nuzzle my neck. From that moment on, she was my little girl, and I loved her more than I thought I could or should love a dog ever again. She’s now almost 14 pounds of pure love and devotion, and I swear I see some of Gryffindor’s mannerisms in her sometimes. Combining all this love with my therapist’s advice to allow myself to enjoy things, I committed to throwing my dogs a birthday party. There were streamers. There was a happy birthday sign. It’s still up as I write this, but like. Don’t tell people, okay? There were party hats. The puppies even WORE the party hats, because they are good girls and can indulge me for at least long enough to get a photo.
"Not all dogs enjoy the party atmosphere."
All that being said, not all dogs enjoy the party atmosphere, and not all dogs are gonna get lucky enough that their birthday coincides with the premier of an animated show based on the DnD campaign they were named after. With that in mind, I decided to pull together a little list of guidelines for throwing your pups a birthday party. I hope they help, and if you have any questions, my inbox is always open!
1. No Other Dogs!
Unless you know they like the dogs, don’t include other canines on the guest list! The reason for this is two-fold; if their favorite people will be there, they will want to circulate. Or at least, Kiki and Molly want to circulate. The other reason is, if the party takes place during their regular meal time, or you plan on surprising the dogs with a special treat, be prepared to have one for all the dogs in the room (baked goods for dogs can get expensive, beware!) and some dogs may have you wouldn’t necessarily know about. It’s also important to remember that especially when there’s an exciting new treat involved, providing one for every dog may not be enough to curb potential problems. Food aggression is real, and territorial instincts increase when there’s food happening!
2. No New Foods!
If you’re feeding them a special “birthday dinner”, don’t go too far out of their wheelhouse. Our dogs get a mix of Whole Hearted brand dry food and a homemade mix of bone broth, meat, and veggies. Their favorite treat is cheese, so we gave them their regular dinner with a little more meat than normal and we topped it with cheese. Disrupting a dog’s diet too much is not a good idea, and while I feel compelled to say that I’m not a veterinarian, I am sharing with you the advice every vet has given me on this topic! If you are going to give them a baked good, make sure it’s pet-grade, not too high in sugar, and not too hard for their little teeth (Molly had some trouble with hers).
3. Smaller is better!
Back to the guest list; depending on the size of your home/the venue, I’d go with 5 to 10 familiar people at most, and no one they haven’t met. Large groups can be overwhelming for dogs, especially smaller sized pups. Our girls were just fine with a few close family members and one or two favorite friends.
4. Make sure everyone knows the rules!
If dogs are not allowed on the couch while people are eating, keep that standard up. They don’t know it’s their birthday, but they will remember all the times they got away with stealing a bite of human food, or begging, just because they made that one specific cute face at the right person. This also creates an environment where no one gets yelled at. My number one motto is “Create opportunities for your dog to be good!”
5. Simplicity is all!
Just like with tips for any large party, my advice is to keep it simple. A few decorations here and there (nothing anyone would be scared by or tempted to chew on) and simple but delicious treats. We ordered a variety of pizza and I made cookies, the recipe for which will be on my pinterest in my recipe of the month section by the end of March. I was especially proud of the keto royal icing!
Simplicity with these events is doubly important. The more simple you keep it, the better time your pups will have. Dogs, especially emotional support dogs like ours, are attuned to their owners. Your stress is a guaranteed way for them to have absolutely no fun at all.
I hope this list has been helpful, and that you wander over to my instagram to check out our party setup! You can also follow our pups @mollymooandkikibean. We update it regularly and they love making new friends! Happy Puppy Partying to you all!