A puppy what?!
Jess have you completely lost your marbles?
Perhaps, but I threw a Puppy Shower anyway. When I first had the idea I was convinced that I wasn't the first person to think something like that up. I hopped on Google and was astonished at the number of websites dedicated entirely to puppy shower planning. I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised. We pet people will not stop for anything; even if your friends think you're nuts. Despite some strong opposition from a few people, I went ahead and began getting the Pawty ready.
I found a lot of suggestions that were really neat, but with funds being tight since we are saving to move to Scotland and being short on time-I had to get it in before Tenie went back to Scotland-I decided against some of the more in-depth ideas like actually sending out dog themed invitations. I just let everyone know a few days ahead of time and then made three stops; the Dollar Store, Pet store and Grocery store.
The night before the Pawty I put together Goodie bags for all of the dogs who would be in attendance. I decorated the bags with dog stickers and filled them with:
-1 Air Kong Tennis ball
-1 Granny's Potpie Sausage roll (grain and preservative free),
-20 Vanilla scented poop bags
-20 grain free, home made cookies bought from a local pet store (blueberry, bacon and pumpkin).
Originally I was going to write up a puppy fact sheet and put that in the bag as well, but my mom's printer was not cooperating.
After the bags were complete, Mr. K and I set to work making frozen treats that were also grain free. Beatrice, a rescue dog and now Doc's sister, is allergic to grain and so I wanted to make sure she could partake in the feasting. If you are going to have other dogs to your pawty, check in with their parents to ensure you are aware of any allergies. Mr. K put the treats together since he is much handier in a kitchen than I am and I scurried about getting the ingredients he needed. Here is the recipe we made up for these very easy, very healthy, very tasty treats.
Ingredients: 1 jar unsweetened apple sauce, cinnamon, peanut butter, 2 bananas , muffin cups
Step 1: mush bananas and unsweetened apple sauce into large bowl
Step 2: fill bottoms of paper cups with peanut butter. You are kind of making a base.
Step 3: pour mushed ingredients on top of peanut butter base- fill cups about half way full.
Step 4: add little amounts of cinnamon to top of each treat. Press cinnamon down into top of mixture if it is fluffing off and flying away.
Step 5: stick tray into freezer for about 12 hours.
Step 6: remove paper and serve to each dog.
(I suppose steps 2/3 can be combined. You can put the peanut butter in and then immediately put the mushy ingredients on top).
I am not entirely sure how many it made. Maybe 2 dozen or so? There were six dogs: they each got one at the pawty and each got to take one home at the end of the night. We also have leftovers waiting for a hot day in the freezer. I also don't have a name for them either-perhaps Doggie Deliciousness will work? LOL
The day of the Puppy Shower I decorated with balloons and streamers. A lot of the sites I read suggested using blue or pink just like you would for a human baby shower, but I used rainbow coloured decorations. I did however put out Whinny the Pooh napkins and blue plastic plates. I put bowls out with the human munchies and hung dog collars from the bowls' rims to make things seem a bit more doggie themed. One website I had looked at suggested using new dog bowls to serve the snacks in and I loved that idea, but dog bowls are stinking expensive. The next time I throw a Puppy Shower I'll definitely use the dog bowl as snack bowl idea.
I also read that in order to set the tone of the party as a pawty the host should hand out pink or blue bandanas at the door, but again since funds were being taken into consideration and I am not handy with scissors and sewing apparel, Mr. K cut out dog bone shapes and we made name tags out of them. He wielded the scissors because again, I'm not so talented in the scissor department.
When the guests started arriving, I handed out name tags and a card to put your guess on for the "guess how many dog treats are in the bag" game. I had put 26 cookies into a ziplock bag and covered it with dog stickers. I instructed the guests that they were not to pick up or feel the bag. Later in the night I circulated a pen, squares of paper and a box for people to write their dogs' names on. This was later used as the Door Prize box. Again, the websites had many suggestions on how to make this more dog themed, like using paw print shaped pieces of paper, gluing a milk bone to the slips of paper and a few others, but my lack of scissor abilities dictated squares.
Besides the door prize and the "guess how many" game, we played a few other games. The first was an obedience game where I made Glacier and Roscoe sit out. I didn't think it was fair for the two guide dogs to play an obedience game. The key to the game was to get your dog to do the cue that was called out the fastest. We had one four month old puppy named Jasper and I made sure to mention that we didn't expect him to be able to do these things. He had only been in his new home for two weeks and was still learning his name. We only did "sit," "down" and "come when called" because a lot of the dogs were new to their people. Balloo has gone to my friend Lindsay and didn't do too badly with "sit" and his recall, but "down" is still elusive. Doc sat and eventually came, but again he's only been with his new family for a few weeks and still learning that he must listen. Beatrice, who has been with her family for the longest and is older-four years old-won that game since she was able to perform all three cues quickly. She took home a collapsable bowl for her efforts.
Our next game was a doggie trivia game where Mr. K and I called out a question and the guests were expected to answer it. Whoever got it right was awarded a point and whoever had the most points by the end of the game took home a prize. I was impressed by Lindsay's knowledge and she ended up winning. It may be because she's been around me the most the last couple of months and I am always rattling off little dog factoids. Baloo brought home a package of tennis balls, which I know will make him a very happy little Dachshund. :)
After the games we all dug into some people grub and I dispensed the frozen treats. Jasper didn't quite know how to eat his and Baloo ended up scoring it after Jasper abandoned his efforts. That Baloo still can eat. I told all of the humans to look on the bottom of their plates and whoever had the puppy sticker won a prize. Tenie was our lucky winner and Jasper took home a package of poop bags and another collapsable bowl. The door prize was drawn and Baloo took home a giant stuffed duck that kind of squawks. The toy is bigger than him, but he loves it and even insists on bringing it to bed. Doc was given a Bottle buddy-a plush toy with a stuffed head, this was a penguin, and its body is a water bottle that can be replaced when it has been squished-for his efforts. Since Glacier and Roscoe were the host dogs they just got an extra frozen treat after everyone went home.
Some websites will tell you not to bring any four legged friends except for the puppy that the shower is being thrown for, but I think it depends on the situation. If all of your dogs are well behaved and socialised, then bringing them is probably the best thing for a new puppy. Our pawty was in Baloo, Doc and Jaspar's honours as they were all in new homes and Jasper was really the only brand new puppy straight from the breeder. I knew that all of the other dogs would enjoy the playing and everyone would be gentle with Jasper, so I encouraged everyone to bring their dogs. If the puppy was absolutely brand new, didn't have its shots and wasn't well socialised at the breeder's, then perhaps leaving the four legged guests at home is a better idea. If you decide to throw a puppy shower, take into consideration your crowd of dogs and the needs of each individual dog before deciding against or for pups being present.
By the time everyone went home, the pups and humans were worn out. My parents' house was a bit furrier than it had been a few hours before, but that is what a vaccuum is for. If you have the option to have your pawty out in a fenced in backyard, that might be a great idea, but my parents' yard is not fenced in. So we all stayed inside and each dog was ran out for bathroom breaks.
I think the Puppy Shower was a success. We had a lot of fun and it didn't cost any more than 45 dollars for the whole thing. Next time I'd love it if the new puppy parent was able to make a wish list and people could get the new puppy things it needs, but we had three puppies of honour and that would have been a bit much to ask everyone to buy three puppy gifts. I've also decided that if Mr. K and I ever get a new dog-rescued adult or puppy-we are having a shower. It's an excellent socialisation tool in a structured environment and it's just a lot of fun. The best part is that everything I have read says that it is not tacky to throw your own Puppy Shower. Unlike human baby showers, it is perfectly acceptable for a new owner to throw his/her own Puppy Shower. So, for all of you out there considering getting a new dog, or maybe you just got a new dog, throw yourself a Puppy Shower and remember the sky's the limit. Everything I have listed here is just the beginning. One woman asks her friends to come all dressed up, kind of like a Black Tie event, to her Puppy showers and some people glue milk bones to the rims of the guests' plates for effect. Just have fun wit it: I sure did. :)