You know when a major motion picture has a Chihuahua as its main attraction (as in the summer release Beverly Hills Chihuahua) that dogs have reached the puppy popularity pinnacle. Who can resist the cuddly love of a lap dog? Or those huge come-on-you-love-me puppy dog eyes? Millions of Americans agree—dogs are beloved pets. Of course, this can only lead to one thing—parties that have gone to the dogs. Literally.
Today, celebrations are no longer reserved for just humans. Dogs take center stage when it’s time to put on a party hat and play. Any reason to celebrate will do—a birthday, adoption day, or even “finally housebroken” day makes for an occasion. So invite some four-legged friends and their owners over to the backyard for a frolicking good time.
1. Find a backyard that offers plenty of running space, shade breaks, and water time.
2. Keep the guest list small. Invite three to five canine friends who play well together.
3. Get creative. Attach a dog bone with a colorful ribbon to the invitation.
4. Provide suitable snacks. Dry dog food works best. Puppy treats also make a nice pooch “condiment.”
5. B.Y.O.T. (Bring Your Own Towel). Provide water play using a small kiddie pool or—
better yet—turn on the sprinklers!
Photo by Saniphoto.
Photo by Annette.
6. Take lots of pictures. Assign the friend who’s good with a camera the job of taking dog/owner portraits at the “photo station” in the yard, a perfect memento of a fun day together.
7. Provide a doggy dessert. Let pups cool off with ice cream just for them, available at the local grocery store.
8. Give human guests a party favor, too. Maybe a laminated list of “Fido’s To-Do List for Mom” including items like walk Fido at least three times a day, pet Fido every hour, reserve that pet spa Fido has been barking about, make the grooming appointment. Put a magnet on this tongue-in-cheek list and place it prominently on the refrigerator.
9. Provide people treats, too. Dog bone-shaped shortbread cookies and sparkling water (in a bottle, not a bowl!) are fun and festive for a dog’s best friend.
10. Best activity of all? Take the dogs on a quick walk around the neighborhood à la a puppy parade. Music optional. Water bottle, a must. The standard poodle will want to lead, the Labrador retriever will get distracted, and the bloodhound won’t care if he’s first or last in line, just as long as there’s a treat at the end of the walk.
11. Write a thank-you note to the host. A simple paw print will do.
12. Last party item on the list? Go home, take off your shoes, and make room for your best pup by your side for some serious napping.
• Styling by Vanessa Baxley of Polka Dot Package
• Dog treats, clothing, and collars by Cassie’s Closet
• Greenery by Ocala Landscape Management
• Cookies by Chef Cindy Dinges of Decadence A La Carte