My dog turned one year old back in March. But I couldn’t just let his birthday pass without doing a little something to celebrate. Thankfully, I’ve done all the work in planning my dog’s perfect party, so if you want to throw one for your pup, here’s what you’ll need to do.
Step 1. Recognize that your dog’s birthday is coming up soon — if by “soon” you mean two months from now. Immediately begin plotting (or planning, whatever).
Step 2. Decide when to have the dog party. Consider the following: Should it be indoors or out? Who should the guest list include? Should other dogs be invited? (Note that your dog may not want the spotlight taken from him — or to have to bother interacting with another animal, because he believes he’s human.) When should it start? When should it end? What will the dog wear?
Step 3. With the date set, it’s time for invitations! No save-the-dates necessary; just the invitations, please. If you want to get fancy, feel free to personalize it and add a photo of the dog.
Step 4. Print invitations. Show to dog for approval — if he blinks, that means its good to go.
Step 5. Wait for the blink. Success!
Step 6. Mail the invitations.
Step 7. Eagerly await RSVPs, but only as a formality, because of course everyone will go.
Step 8. Although there are several weeks to go, it’s time to stock up! Go to your local dollar store and buy a ton of birthday party supplies. Go crazy. Each item is only $1, after all!
Step 9. End up with way too many decorations for a dog party. My favorites are birthday-themed cups, plates, napkins, and party hats. I also ended up with a bone-shaped cake tin, candle, and wrapping paper. But you do what you like.
Step 10. Decide on a gift — a Disney bandanna that says “Grumpy” and a dog squeak toy (because a dog chewing on a dog is funny!). Get restless, give the gift before his birthday, and get excited when he immediately takes to snuggling with his new friend.
Step 11. Plan the event, and decide on pizza for dinner, with bone-shaped cookies as treats for the humans and an animal-friendly cake just for the dog.
Step 12. Find recipe for an animal-friendly cake and frosting. Bookmark it.
Step 13. Buy ingredients for cake: mashed bananas, honey, egg, whole wheat flour, vanilla extract, baking powder.
Step 14. Take dog to groomers so he looks great for the big day!
Step 1. Borrow cookie cutters from your aunt. Bake according to instructions and end up with a delicious tray full of dog, bone, and paw-shaped peanut butter cookies.
Step 2. With the human snacks done, gather all ingredients to bake the cake.
Step 3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix wet ingredients (2 cups water, 1/8 teaspoon vanilla, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons honey) thoroughly. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (1/4 cup mashed bananas, 1 cup diced banana, 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 tablespoon baking powder). Add wet ingredients to dry and blend well. Pour into 8-inch nonstick cake pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry. (A full recipe can be found at Food Network.)
Step 4. Whip up the frosting: 1 banana, mashed, with 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Spread on top of cake.
Step 5. Sample. (It’s not half bad.)
Step 6. Wonder if this is overkill.
Step 7. Shrug, and properly store everything for tomorrow.
Step 1. Gather everything, including decorations, party supplies, and food.
Step 2. Head to site of the party (Grandma and Grandpa’s house!) — and make sure you have the guest of honor with you. (Very important to remember the dog.)
Step 3. Let guests gush over his cute haircut while you set up.
Step 4. Place ginormous cake, almost as big as your eight-pound dog, at center of table for everyone to admire.
Step 5. Give birthday dog his gifts. Laugh when he’s obsessed with a squeak toy in the shape of a mustache. Meanwhile, order food for the humans.
Step 6. While waiting for the food, give dog his cake — but not before placing a candle in it and singing “Happy Birthday,” as per the suggestions of your grandparents. (It’s not a birthday cake without the song, they say.)
Step 7. Let dog stuff his face in the cake! It’s his birthday, after all!
Step 8. Pull cake away. Wait, seriously? He can’t eat that much, no matter whose birthday it is.
Step 9. Once the human food arrives, sit down to dinner. Pretend not to see when Grandpa and Grandma both slip him some pizza toppings (sausage, pepperoni, meatballs).
Step 10. Give Grandma and Grandpa some time with the birthday boy. Listen as they gush over his gifts.
Step 11. Clean up, thank “everyone” (grandparents, aunt, cousin, and uncle) for coming, and let them know that yeah, you do realize this is all supremely funny and dramatic, and your dog has literally no idea it’s his birthday, nor that the party is for him, but you appreciate them all playing along.
Step 12. Be surprised when they say they actually had a good time, and thought it was cute.
Step 13. Head back home feeling happy that people enjoyed the party.
Step 12. Carry dog up to bed when he inevitably falls asleep during the drive.
Step 1. Dress your dog in the PJs he got for his birthday. Take too many photos of him. Fawn over how cute he is, wish him a happy birthday for the 20th time that day, and then head to bed.
Step 2. While lying in bed, realize how much work went into this dog party. Question if it was excessive and a little too silly.
Step 3. Remind yourself birthdays only come once a year.
Step 4. Think back to the laughter your grandparents shared as your dog dove into the cake, tried to steal a slice of pizza, and unwrapped the gifts. Smile to yourself at the thought, and feel grateful to have such a lovely family who’s willing to put up with anything for the sake of your fur baby.
Step 5. Regret nothing, and start imagining next year’s celebration.
Read more by Crystal Maldonado: