If your child has been lingering for a pet of the canine kind, birthday time could have the perfect time to teach responsible pet ownership and have a dog party! The best dog parties are ones with easily manageable sized guest lists. I would say two to three guests would be easily manageable. Be sure to check with parents to be certain the guests have no pet phobias or allergies, and get permission, before you plan your sleep over. Check with local animal shelters in your area, and plan a trip according to their policies.
Serve “puppy chow” PB & J sandwiches cut into bone shapes in doggie bowls, and show movies such as “Old Yeller” or “The Lady and the Tramp” and talk with the children about pet care and responsible pet ownership. The next morning, serve breakfast cereal in the ‘doggie bowls’ and round the crew up for a trip to the local animal shelter. Consider painting paw prints on chubby cheeks before you head out.
Take the children to the animal Shelter, and enlist the aid of one of the volunteers or employees as they show the children the pets in the shelter. Be certain the representative from the animal Shelter talks to the children about the pets, reinforcing responsible pet ownership to your child. Let the children look at the pets, taking care to maintain safety as your number one priority at all times. Finally, if your child has bonded with a particular pet, make arrangements with the Shelter to come back and pick up the pet later.
Finally, take the party to the local pet supply shop, and allow the birthday boy or girl to purchase pet supplies at the store. Take the guests home, and go and pick up your newest addition to the family. This way, there is no tug of war over who gets to hold the puppy, and decisions are more likely to be based on good personality fits between your child and the new pet and less on peer influence.
Responsible pet ownership is a good lesson for all children. Your dog party is sure to help make pet ownership and the responsibility inherent in that a perfect fit for everyone.