"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Puppy Party: a DIY birthday party for animal lovers

If you know me or have followed this blog for some time, it will come as no surprise when I say that I LOVE a good party. Well, not just any party. Grown-up parties with Talking to Adults and Wearing Fancy Clothes actually really stress me out. I'll be going to one in a few weeks and I'm already having social anxiety-induced stress dreams about it. 

But if it's for one of my kids and it's a birthday, then sign me up, because Kid's Birthday Parties are the best. 

We tend to have small, simple parties at home, built around a theme of the Special Birthday Kid's choosing. The Special Birthday Kid of the Day was Molly and Molly Loves Puppies, so... 

It was a Puppy Party! And it was perfect.

As soon as the guests arrived, they each chose their very own puppy from the Puppy Adoption Center. These were theirs to play with during the party and, because they were theirs to keep, doubled as their party favor.

I ordered a set of 12 puppies from Oriental Trading. There were 2 each of six different breeds. I was pretty impressed with the appearance and quality of the puppies given the price. 

A Certificate of Adoption made the new pet official and gave the child a chance to choose a name for his or her new puppy.

Once the puppy had a name, I made a personalized name tag and a "collar" (just a paper crafting tag on a piece of string) for the puppy while the proud owner decorated a Dog House made from a treat box.

It was a rather tight fit, but the kids were happy with them.

For the rest of the party, the kids just played with and took care of their new puppies!

Grooming Station

I filled a metal tub with blue balls from our ball pit for the Bubble Bath and included an empty shampoo bottle, an empty spray bottle, a brush, a comb, and a towel.

Max took his job as Professional Groomer very seriously. He offered three different levels of grooming: The Standard Wash, The Messy Puppy Wash, and the Princess Pup Treatment. I'm not actually sure what each entailed, but the owners and puppies were all satisfied customers.

Of course, Max wasn't the only one who got in on the Grooming Action.

Vet Clinic

A ready-made station if you have a doctor's kit in your playroom, this station was a busy place for most of the party. 

The Dog Park

We struck weather gold for a February birthday! 60+ degrees and sunny meant that our dog park was out on the patio. Max helped me make ramps and tunnels for the puppies to play on and in out of cardboard and the fence is our Beast Control System for our own puppy. 

(As an aside...Jake the Weim was banished to Doggie Day Care at his obedience school for the afternoon. We couldn't have him intimidating the party guests with his ferocious bark or slobbery kisses. He came home happy to be reunited with his kids and exhausted. I think Doggie Day Care should be a regular part of his routine...you know, because it made HIM so happy! I'm thinking only of the beast's feelings here.)

Back inside, we had a quiet area for overstimulated pups needing a bit of a break:

The Dog House
Reading Tent

We filled it with dog books from our own collection and a couple of nonfiction gems picked up from the library. I'm always surprised at how well-loved the Quiet Station is during any party. Kids actually do choose to look at books if you offer them the opportunity to!

Sensory Dog Park

Another party station staple is the sensory bin. Usually I make a playdough station to fit the theme, but a Puppy Party called for our Toob Puppies

I filled the tub with green and red lentils, then added a few small stones for interest. Paper towel rolls made great slides and ramps for the pups and small dishes added some sensory play opportunities.

Finally, we had our doll house set up for our Calico Critters Yellow Labrador family.

We only had one real party game, which was just as well. The kids really just wanted to play with their puppies!

They agreed to take a break to Feed the Hungry Pup, though.

It was a variation on the classic Pin the Tail on the Donkey game because sometimes the Classics have survived the test of time for a reason.

After the game, it was time to eat.

We always have our parties before or after lunch. Kids don't want to eat a meal at a birthday party. We don't even offer more than just a few snacks. Let's be honest, they came for the cake. Besides a Purple Rain swirl cake by Duff (at the request of the Birthday Girl), we had fruit and Scooby Snacks. The kids were legitimately confused about whether or not these were for them or their new furry friend. A brave soul tried one and assured the rest of the table that Molly's Mommy wasn't playing a trick on them. :)

When it came time to sing and make a wish, this girl knew just what to do.

May your wishes come true, my love, today and always.

Lesson Learned:
I love a good party. As long as it's at my house, for one of my kids, and small and sweet, I'm your party gal. As for the Party I've committed to attending in a few weeks, well, I'll be over here mentally preparing and biting my fingernails.


  1. It's our pink boy's ninth on 1st May. Fancy visiting us and arranging his party?

    Looks awesome. I never thought of the quiet zone. Will use that in future.

    1. I'll plan it for you virtually in a heartbeat!! And yes, the Quiet Station comes from my years as a kindergarten teacher (and lifetime as an introvert). Parties (and classrooms) can be overwhelming...it's an out of the way option for when things get too loud/busy. :)

    2. We had half the church over for a barbecue a couple of years ago. At one point, my wife found me sitting under the dining room table. I had endured a house and garden filled with people for three hours, and I deserved a break. I just never thought we were allowed to take one. Social pressure is funny like that.