A real dog's dinner ...
I have been invited to a dog's birthday party and I am livid. I can barely muster the enthusiasm to get dressed up and celebrate a human friend's birthday these days '“ now I have to pretend to enjoy socialising with their pets.
The invite cites the dress code as ‘smart’ and includes a gift list.
Dog pillows, chew bones and something called a bungee ball.
Not only that, it refers to a ‘drinks reception’ and ‘sit down meal’. They were contemplating a buffet but it seems the dog, who regularly buries his own faeces, thought it wasn’t sophisticated enough.
Don’t get me wrong; I do love dogs. Had my ex-girlfriend not kept ours during the break-up, I’d be the proud owner of one to this day.
But never in a million years would I drag my friends through the indignity of attending a birthday party for an animal from which they receive an occasional sniffing and the odd lick.
I don’t care – the dog doesn’t care – what’s the point?
It turns out I am wrong. When I mention this on my radio show, I am met with an intense backlash.
Beyond a handful of people agreeing that it’s the height of ridiculousness, my text screen and phone lines are filled with support for pet birthday parties, gift ideas, holiday destinations and even a wedding.
Jay got in touch to say his wife throws a yearly themed party for their Labrador. This year, it was Mexican. How they knew their dog was partial to Latin American festivities is, and will remain, beyond me – but they kitted the garden out with the party accessory every canine craves; a piñata. They invited the local dogs to join in ripping the piñata to pieces. I can only imagine how long they spent getting their nails done in preparation.
I was also introduced to a dog-loving woman called Helen. I feel Helen may love her dog too much.
When he hit the milestone age of 10, Helen felt the need to mark the occasion with a bouncy castle and a clown. A clown. Take a moment to think that one through.
Even I’m a bit scared of clowns and I’m able to process the reassuring logic that it’s just a fat man with bad breath in make-up. Apparently, the pup wasn’t overly keen and after half an hour of solid barking, he ate the clown’s wig and punctured the bouncy castle.
Money well spent, claims Helen, without a hint of sarcasm.
Then there was Anne-Marie. Anne-Marie makes Helen sound completely reasonable.
For she was so convinced her Pug was in a loving relationship with the dog next door – based, I imagine, on how often she talked about him over dinner and texted him while they were apart – that she and the neighbour agreed to hold a dog wedding; two completely rational human beings, funding and hosting a wedding… for their dogs.
They even hired a DJ.
I can’t help feeling my invitation could have be a lot worse.
I’ve ironed a shirt and ordered a bungee ball.