Pet Pals Party
Leslie in Westerville, Ohio, USA
My daughter is crazy about animals! She has visited a local animal shelter several times and wanted to have her party there. When I explained that it wasn't possible (for obvious reasons!), I decided to create one at home. It's a tradition in our family that instead of receiving birthday presents we ask people who attend the birthday party to make a donation to charity. This year we asked guests to bring items to donate to the local animal shelter (we included their wish list with the invitation). Here's how I did it (with grateful thanks to those who have already posted here for their ideas!): INVITATIONS: I purchased card/envelope packs from Michael's (they're the color of brown paper bags) and fuzzy stickers (Joann's) that looked like dog/cat ID tags and had words like woof, meow etc. on them. I stuck the stickers down the center of the card and on the inside used a stamp with you're invited time place etc" to write the information for the Pet Pals Party. For the envelope I traced a bone (cookie cutter) onto white paper upon which I wrote the child's name cut it out and then glued that to the front of the envelope. They looked really cute! DECORATIONS: I pre-made signs with names logos etc. on large pieces of cardboard - get as creative as you want! I created the "Furry Friends Animal Shelter" in our home office by removing books from shelves and replacing them with stuffed animals (dogs and cats which I purchased at various stores you can get really nice ones on sale if you have the time to shop around). I divided shelves by placing a piece of cardboard lengthwise and creating separate areas for each animal. In each area was a stuffed animal a card with their name breed etc. and a bowl of "dog/cat food" (Kooky Chew which is actually cookies and a candy bone in a cute little dog dish). I created Petsburgh (the pets' little town) in our basement by dividing the area into 4 different areas: "Paws 'n Claws Pet Parlor PetMaxx Pet Store Pet Pals Animal Clinic" and "Bone Jour Pet Cafe." The Pet Parlor had pet washing (large storage tubs filled with colored balls) and grooming stations. At each grooming station there was a brush comb mirror set a spray bottle and other bottles of "shampoo" etc. (all empty and purchased from the dollar store) as well as bandanas and ribbons (colored ribbon tied onto a girls hair elastic and tied into a bow squares of fabric edged with anti-fray available at any craft store) for the kids to "dress" their pet. I also purchased nail polish lip gloss and body glitter for the girls to adorn themselves! The Pet Store had various items they could "purchase" with coupons I made (www.dltk-cards.com/coupon/) and the kids used the bags they decorated earlier for their loot. Each child received a dog or cat toy (dollar store) collar (oriental trading) dog bowl and food (Kooky Chew purchased at a local grocery store also available online) crate (plastic CD crate from the Dollar store) and a pillow for the crate (I made these - basically just a rectangle that you stuff! Size depends on size of crate. Very easy as you only have to sew straight lines!) For the Animal clinic I set up an old baby changing table and socked it with doctor kits (I got a 60 piece lot on eBay for $10!) I also put out some dolls cribs for the sick pets! The restaurant consisted of the toy kitchen (pots plates "food" etc.) and a couple of kids tables set with tablecloths and my daughter's plates utensils etc. The PARTY TABLE was set with a red table cloth dog/cat bowls ($1 section at Target) blue cups with a white bone (see invitation) with the child's name on it as well as party blowouts with pictures of dogs on them. I also covered the walls around the table with pictures of dogs and cats (48 to be exact!) from calendars I purchased at Michael's and Joann's for $1. THE PARTY: When guests arrived we had them decorate bags (brown bags with handles - Michael's) which were labeled using the same white bone cutouts as the invitations. I had stickers stamps and markers out for them to use. While we waited for everyone to arrive they worked on the bags and a craft (dog collars). For the collars I cut out strips of blue and pink foam (about and inch wide) and dog tags (I traced the bone cookie cutter again and added a rectangle at the top vertically into which I cut two slits so they could be threaded onto the foam strips). After the kids had decorated their collars and written their names on the dog tag I measured the collar around their necks and used stick-on Velcro squares to complete them (this makes putting on and removing them a breeze!). Once they were done it was time for our special guest...I called the local animal shelter and they sent one of their volunteers over to talk to the kids about the shelter and what it's like to own a pet. Best of all she brought one of her dogs that she fosters. The kids LOVED this and sat in rapt attention listening to her. Afterwards they got to pet the dog and she gave out pictures to color. After she left it was time for the kids to adopt their own dogs or cats from our "Furry Friends Animal Shelter". I had them come in pairs to avoid craziness. They picked out an animal and then I filled out an adoption certificate (which I pre-made including child's name pet's name date Furry Friends Animal Shelter logo) and got a book of coupons to use at the "Pet Store" When everyone had chosen a pet we headed down to "Petsburgh" The kids were blown away and had tons of fun visiting the restaurant salon clinic and store! FOOD: I made cupcakes and decorated them with cute stick-in dog figures that I purchased on eBay - they were displayed on a Wilton cupcake stand and served as the centerpiece. I also made rice-krispie treats and used cookie cutters to make cut outs of a fish and bone in keeping with the whole dog/cat theme. I then took frosting and piped around the edge of each cut out (white for bones orange for fish). When the frosting had hardened a bit I put one of each cut out in a cellophane bag - these were also put on the table as decorations. We served red and blue punch to drink. I also had coffee and hot apple cider for parents that wanted to stay. All too soon it was over! The kids had a fabulous time at the party and are still talking about it months later. They are still playing with their pets and putting them to bed each nigh in their crates! "