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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Pet party patter - Kandy Shepherd




Do you celebrate your dog or cat’s birthday with a party for them? I have to admit that I don’t—though my pets get their favorite treat meal, maybe a new toy, and extra cuddles and hugs on their “special day”.

Lots of people take pet parties to the next step, though. When I Googled “dog party” I was amazed to see more than 66 million results. That’s a heck of a lot of doggy party favors; doggy party treats; and doggy party venues.

What really surprised me were the more than 47 million results for “cat party”. Kitty parties? Not for the cats in our family! Miss Tabitha endured being dressed in doll’s clothes and wheeled around in the dolly stroller when both she and my daughter were little. But would she or our other two cats put up with the indignity of party hats and fancy dress? I don't think so.

Dogs are more obliging and also, perhaps, more sociable. The pictures I’ve posted on this page are from the day when my friend Kyle kindly had her dogs Cobber and Kaylee, with their friend Sampson, test the pup cakes from the recipe on my website. (The heroine of my first novel LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD is a chef and she creates baked goods for dogs. ) The doggy guests started off on their best behavior until greed took over and Samson snuffled more than his fair share. These cute photos really sold me on the idea of puppy parties.

So I had a lot of fun with a doggy birthday party in my July release novel from Berkley Sensation, HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. Heroine Serena Oakley runs an upscale doggy day-care where posh puppy parties are a regular event. PI hero, Nick Whalen, thinks dogs should be fed on table scraps and kept outside. Working undercover, he finds himself setting up a party for a pack of pampered pooches. Poor Nick—they say authors should torture the characters in their books and taking part in the puppy party is definitely torture for him.

Do we always know the actual date of our animals’ birthdays? If they’re rescues, we might have to hazard a guess or celebrate on the day we found them or brought them home from the shelter. It’s easier with horses. They have an official birthday: January 1st in the northern hemisphere and August 1st in the southern hemisphere.

Of course the very best thing about the birthdays of dogs, cats or horses is that they are very forgiving if their birthday happens to slip your mind!

Do you ha
ve a pet birthday story to share? I'd love to hear it. Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. Please include your email address.

http://www.kandyshepherd.com

Thanks to Sampson’s owner Chris for the photos.

35 comments:

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Love those birthday pics, Kandy!

I'm a terrible cat-mother--I always forget my cats' birthdays and I've never thrown them a party. They do get spoiled at Christmas time, though. Come to think of it, my little ones get spoiled every day!

Amazingrose said...

Do not have a pet birthday party to share, but my neighbour and i are planning to have one in two months time for our puppies and and few more neighbour.

amazingrose_millenium (at) hotmail (dot) com

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Vanessa,
Yes, aren't those pup party pictures precious? The dogs are rescues and very loved. They are so good natured and I love the way they wait patiently on their chairs waiting for the signal to dive into their cakes. (They are healthy pup cakes of course!)
I love that your cats get treats at Christmas--you are so not a terrible cat mother. Ours get those little stockings bought from the supermarket or pet store. My daughter started that custom when she was much younger and we continue with it.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi amazingrose--a neighborhood puppy party sounds like a great idea. I guess the dogs already know each other and will have fun playing together. I wonder how good they will be at sharing!
Thanks for your comment.

Cathleen Ross said...

We used to have a dog party for our dog. There was a prize for the best costume, the best jumper etc. The trouble was our dog didn't do anything - just sat there like a fat lump with her tongue out - so didn't win any prizes. My daughter is very competitive and sporty - note: the dog didn't take after her - and stopped having the parties because she couldn't bare not winning.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Cathleen, that is such a fun story. I had to laugh when you wrote that your dog didn't take after your daughter!
Sounds like your dog was more the observer while the other dogs entered into the spirit of the party.
Hmm, the whole scenario reminds me of some of the children's parties I've been to! (Of the human variety, I mean...)

Sharon Archer said...

Seriously cute pictures, Kandy!

Home Is Where The Bark Is is a gorgeous story. The hero, Nick, is such a "guy", all manly and horrified by the pampered pooches!

Aren't your friend's dogs good about wearing the party hats! Our Secondhand Sally would never have a bar of Xmas hats. Maybe her previous owners hadn't tried to dress her up. I remember our long-suffering pets when I was a child - very good-natured about being dressed up in clothes and wheeled around in prams!

No pet-party stories to share, but I always get a kick out of the zoo stories on the news when they're celebrating an animal birthday!

:)
Sharon

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Sharon, Thanks for the kind words about HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. I must say I had a lot of fun writing Nick's horror at Serena's world of pampered pooches in but then he proves himself to be a true dog lover.
My pets are like yours--not keen to dress up. But I have to say they've given us a lot of laughs when they twist and squirm to rid themselves of the reindeer antlers or whatever we think they would look cute wearing. (Never causing them distress, of course, I hasten to add.)
Yes baby animals at the zoo always make a heartrending photo, don't they. I particularly love the spindly legs on baby giraffes.

Mason Canyon said...

We don't do "parties" as such but we do bake a cake, put a number candle on it and write Happy Birthday on it for a dog Brisco (an English Shepherd). He just turned 8 this past month and we've done the cake-thing since his 1st birthday. He gets a couple of toys wrapped and he enjoys unwrapping them. We give him a couple bites of plain cake and we get to enjoy the rest so it a treat for all of us. Never did anything for the cats, not sure why.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Mason, Brisco sounds like a lucky boy--and great that you get to enjoy the cake too! I love that he enjoys unwrapping his birthday gifts.
I think dogs kind of get the sense of occasion whereas cats tend to treat the fuss with feline disdain!
BTW I love your tortoiseshell picture, my Tabitha is quite similar.
Thanks for your comment!

gigi said...

We have always have family birthday party's for my dog Bridgette. She is 11 years old now. When the kids were little we used to go all out with party hats and horns. Now all Bridgette gets is angel food cake with strawberries and usually a new stuffed animal and bags of Beggin Strips in gift bags. She knows what a present is. At Christmas Bridgette has to have presents under the tree or she gets her feelings hurt on Christmas morning.
I do it because Bridgette always gets as excited as the kids did when they were young (they ae grown now)when it was their birthday. Bridg is my baby that never grew up.

runner10 said...

Sweet pics and story.
One of our dogs birthday is on our anniversary. So we always remember the day. It makes it extra special.

csdsksds[at]gmail[dot]com

Annie West said...

Kandy, I loved these photos! They reminded me of 'Where the Bark Is' which I enjoyed so much recently and also of 'Home Is Where the Bark Is' - including food and romance and dogs is such a great combination. I'm impressed with the dogs' behaviour in these pics!

In our house we don't have parties for our pooch but we never forget her birthday - she always gets a treat, and at Christmas too. The treats are usually culinary (she's a beagle - that's her prime interest!) or maybe a new toy or two.

Thanks for the fun post!

Mary said...

I've never had a party for a dog or cat but we did have a small party for our rats when they turned 2 years old. It was my daughters idea and it seemed like it would be a good idea to me so we used my daughters left over birthday supplies and I made a small vanilla cake for the humans and some corn flake, carrot and honey rolls in lettuce leaves for the rats. I tried to wrap the chew toys in wrapping paper and thought they would tear it off...but they just sniffed it until we tore it off and gave it to them. lol It was more fun for us I think.

Estella said...

I've never had a party for any of my animals. They probably wouldn't have appreciated being dressed up anyway.

kissinoak at verizon dot net

Kandy Shepherd said...

Gigi, I love your comment about your dog Bridgette.Seems to me she really enjoys taking part in your family celebrations. I can just see her waiting for her Christmas presents on Christmas morning!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey runner 10, how great that you have a double celebration on your anniversary. You're never likely to forget either anniversary or dog's birthday!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Annie, it's nice to hear how you celebrate your beagle's birthday. I know they don't understand that it's actually their birthday but it does give us a chance to show how much we value our special pets!
Thank you for your kind comments about HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. I must admit I had this series of photos in mind when I was writing the dog party scene...

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Mary, I think you've hit the nail on the head when you say pet parties are more about fun for the humans than for the animals! But when the pets are being given favorite foods and fussed over and loved I don't think they are complaining.
Your party for your rats sounds like such fun!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Estella, I haven't had a real dress up birthday party for my pets either, though it looks like such fun.
My animals have had to put up with being dressed up by kids though, and they are incredibly patient with the children. I think dogs and cats have one rule for what they'll put up with from children and another for adults!

traveler said...

My two dogs Bogie and Guido have a party everyday living with me. They are lucky to have such a wonderful life.

petite said...

My cats are always having a great time, either their freedom to come and go at will or being spoiled as they are but we do have a party in the summer for them. I go all out. Those photos are adorable.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Well said, traveler, I could say the same about my pets. Bogie and Guido are lucky dogs!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Petite, it sounds like your cats are loved all year round and have a wonderful life. Your summer party for them sounds like fun, though!

Anna Campbell said...

Better late than never! I've been away and only on very sporadic email access but nice to be back home and getting back to normal! Well, I've unpacked and done a load of laundry - at least I'm on the WAY to normal!

Kandy, what a cute post! I must say we never had parties for our pets although we did give them Christmas presents. Love the photos!

Michelle Douglas said...

Oh, Kandy, I love those photos... and I also love a good party :-) Though we are dog-less at the moment, am thinking that when we do add a pooch to the family it will be another great reason for birthday cake!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Anna, great to see you here. It's great to hear that your pets got Christmas presents, too.
Our pets always get something for Christmas--er, actually the horses don't join us inside the house for present unwrapping!--I mean the cat and dog variety of pet!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Michelle, so nice to see you here!
Yes, I agree, adding a new dog to the family would be definite cause for celebration. And any excuse for cake is always welcome!

Kandy Shepherd said...

The winner of the signed copy of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS is Mason Canyon. Mason, if you send me your snail mail address I'll get the book off to you ASAP.

kandy@kandyshepherd.com

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thank you everyone who left a comment, I loved hearing about the special pets in your life!

CC Coburn said...

66 millions results for dog party!!! That's both hilarious and heart warming, Kandy.
I'm not quite sure of the birthdates of any of our cats since they came from the Pound, but our beautiful Lab Freddie was born on New Year's Day. Unfortunately her foot-loose mummy is usually half-way aroudn the globe at the time, but I make up for it when I get home!
Love your animal stories!
CC

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi CC, you must miss Freddie so much while you are away. I bet you get a big welcome every time you get back home!

Daz said...

Kandy, the premises for your books sound adorable and being a doggy lover, I just can't pass this up. I've already put them in my wish list. :-)

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thanks, Daz, I hope you enjoy them!

kimmyl said...

My son has asthma so he has a pet box turtle. It is so unique. He named him George. He's about 6 inches long and he follows him around like a real pet, he also loves to eat grapes and believe it or not, chicken nuggets.