Owners fete dogs with lavish birthday parties

Not a dogs life

Lexi, a year-old black and white dachshund, celebrated her birthday in a Manhattan apartment with multi-coloured balloons. She munched on dog-friendly cakes made of peanut butter, yogurt and carob, sipped Prosecco and nibbled on miniature cocktail hot dogs with her 15 canine guests. “I have met so many people in the neighbourhood, thanks to her,” said actress Robin Brenner, who said she wanted to do something special to celebrate the occasion. “She’s kind of brought us all together.”

But not all dog owners are ready to meet the challenges of holding a party for their pooch at home.

New York-based media buyer Jessica Winston, has held two birthday parties for her three-year-old Bichon Frise, Ernie. “In dog years,” she explained, “Ernie turned 13.” She recently celebrated her pet’s third birthday at a dog-friendly watering hole, “Drop Off Service”, in Manhattan’s East Village.

The birthday dog, along with eight guests, spent a snowy, Sunday afternoon lapping up homemade “pup cakes” made of oats, carrots and cream cheese, while beer and hors d’oeuvres were served to their owners.

As Ernie and his dog pals donned birthday hats and received gift bags and doggie Snuggies, or blankets, their human companions sang “Happy Birthday”.

Brenner and Winston are not alone in their quest to honour their dogs with a canine cotillion.

Betty Wong, owner of Pawtisserie, a dog bakery in Brooklyn specialising in natural dog treats, has seen a sharp increase in the number of people throwing birthday parties for their dogs.

“Originally, we opened the bakery because I wanted to give my finicky-eating dog, Buttercup, some healthy menu choices,” Wong explained. “We have seen a rise in the number of birthday cake orders during the past few years, and the numbers are steadily growing.”

If organising a pet birthday bash seems daunting, Dorothy Moore can help. In 2005, Moore opened “The Dining Dog Cafe in Edmonds”, Washington, featuring a pet-friendly restaurant for dogs and their owners. Complete with white tablecloths, soft music and chandeliers, doggie birthday parties are popular at the restaurant.

Moore is also a party planner for canines. She organised about 100 dog parties last year, ranging in price from $100 to $500.

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