Michelle Stark, writer, friend, and fellow pet parent, has shared some thoughts about the upcoming birthday of her eldest – Tank. Although I have heard of and even attended a few large parties to celebrate a birthday, they are not really my style. Frankly, I am not sure that the celebrant really had a good time. But what Michelle has planned is low-key. It marks that special day nicely and sweetly. How do you celebrate it? Do you have photos of your dog’s party that you would like to share?
Choosing A Toy
“As sweet, gentle Tank’s birthday approaches, I found myself reflecting on the birthday ritual for the dogs in our house. Yes, we celebrate their birthdays. Each year, we take the pups to their favorite pet-supply store. They get to pick out a toy, which consists of walking slowly up and down the toy aisles, sniffing and testing each mom-approved selection. Generally, they settle on one, but I have been known to make that final choice, especially when there is clearly indecision between two winners. And since I’m a softie, that decision usually comes down to getting both toys. It may sound silly, I know, but they understand when I say ‘it’s birthday time’ what that means and they have come to look forward to these little trips. It’s just not as special when we take them there other times.
They also get a cake to share – canned dog food covered in a peanut butter ganache. It is a dog-only cake. We also spoil them with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream – it’s just not birthday cake without the ice cream! For a few minutes, the only sound in our house will be the contented grunting and licking from happy bulldogs. Once in a while there is a pause, which I suspect is caused by quick consumption of the ice cream resulting in bullie brain-freeze. When the plates are licked clean, they meander to the family room and lay down on their designated pillows, bellies full and hearts happy. I don’t pretend that they really understand why we make all the fuss. To them, it’s probably just that random day when I go a little bit more off my rocker and they get puppy cake, ice cream and a special toy.
This year, the routine will change a little bit. We will take Tank to his favorite store while his brother and sister stay home. He needs some special bonding time just with us. He often takes a backseat to Missy and Coal when we take them all out together. On his birthday he deserves to be the center of attention. We will have the cake celebration at home and he’ll have to share his chosen toy with his siblings, but with age and maturity comes certain privileges. The first is the solo trip to his favorite place. Another recent change for him is that he is now allowed to sleep in our bedroom on his favorite pillow at night instead of his crate. When we have to run a quick errand, we let Tank remain on his pillow or wherever he happens to be napping, instead of crating him like Missy and Coal. So far, we’ve come home to find the house still intact and Tank asleep, usually right where we left him. Eventually I hope the younger two can demonstrate the ability to handle not being crated anymore, but for now, this is exclusively Tank’s privilege.
Yes, I might be a little crazy to make such a big deal out of their birthdays, but these aren’t just dogs to us. They are like our children, only without the teenage years and attitude. We don’t rent a bouncy house or a mini zoo, we just make the day a little more special. And for all the love and happiness they give, don’t they deserve that?”