My daughter has yet to meet a dog without some redeemable quality. Every dog regardless of pedigree, grooming, or personality is either the cutest, sweetest, or smartest dog on earth. And if they’re not, well, it’s not their fault and they deserve an extra dose of love and affection.
Case in point, when choosing a pet to be photographed with during Humane Society day camp, my daughter lovingly chose a large, gray pit bull with one eye. As I looked at the photo of her with an arm draped around it’s neck and her face glowing, I both cringed at and admired her for her choice. While I don’t share her passion for canines, every dog must have its day, and her 7th birthday had to be a day for dogs.
One of my kids’ favorite things to do when dreaming up birthday plans is to choose a color palette and this birthday girl was super specific about the shades she wanted. A trip to the paint aisle to get color chips was helpful and carrying those cards in my purse allowed me to color match to her specific palette whenever I was out shopping. I love how color can unify a theme and make even a few, simple decorations pop.
In order to create a more feminine dog party, I brought in dog show elements using paper medallions and frilly prize ribbons (both vintage and diy ones) in the décor.
The table settings featured miniature dog house candy boxes, and the birthday girl ate from her own fancy dog dish.
No dog party would be complete without the guests of honor (which in our case are stuffed) decked out in party hats. As a surprise for the big day, I designed fancy new kennels for them out of empty Amazon boxes.
Another thing my kids are really specific about is their cake. This year my daughter insisted on a 4-layer vanilla cake, with creamsicle frosting between the layers and I loved how the citrus-y flavor complemented the bright orange colors of her party. To make the creamsicle frosting I used our family’s favorite buttercream recipe and added vanilla bean paste, a few tablespoons of orange juice concentrate and a few teaspoons of orange zest, adjusting the flavors until she gave her final approval.
After sweets, we passed out dog noses and the kids had a blast playing a version of Simon says (dog trainer says) and competing in relay races by pushing balls around with their snouts and balancing tennis balls on Frisbees. The noses were such a hit that some wore them for the rest of the party, sometimes resting them on the tops of their heads when they were concentrating like during the draw-a-dog art lesson. It was totally hilarious.
The favorite activity might very well have been when we gave them all a chance to eat like dogs. Bowls of cocoa puffs were devoured by kids on hands and knees as they were given permission to forgo all mealtime manners and lap up their food and slurp up their drink.
In order to truly celebrate my daughter’s love of dogs, we made special doggie bags for each party guest to give to their favorite friend, family or neighborhood pet. They braided tug toys and filled their bags with peanut butter & pumpkin dog treats, tennis balls, and mini bones.
After a round of dog Mad Libs, we watched the 1950s version of Shaggy Dog and, as each guest left, they were given a dog pop and a hand selected dog of their own to take home.
The dog day was over but fortunately for us, the library hosted a reading event with therapy dogs the very next day, so we could keep the love going. My daughter’s passion for dogs was totally affirmed and she didn’t ask for a dog all weekend which made this celebration a total success, in my opinion. Now if only I could find a way to stop my husband from sending me dog listings on craigslist!