By Stacey Becker, Contributing Writer
When my husband and I first got our puppy, Wally, we were welcomed into a whole new sub-culture of New York City. Neighbors that we had lived next to for five years suddenly started speaking to us. Total strangers on the street offered us dog related advice. But perhaps the most unique phenomenon of all, was our introduction to the doggy birthday party.
We received an invitation from a former work colleague to attend a birthday party for her 1 year old dog, Daisy. She rented out a private room at a Biscuits and Bath on the Upper West Side. About 25 people came with their dogs – both large and small. The whole thing lasted about 90 minutes, complete with a homemade birthday cake for the dogs which looked better than any professional cake I’ve seen at most children’s birthday parties. There was human cake as well. Each doggy guest left with a bag of treats and toys. Despite the looks of shock and judgment that came from family members or friends who knew we were attending such an event, the party was wonderful and a great way to spend a weekend afternoon with our puppy.
Numerous dog businesses throughout New York City offer to host a dog birthday party and often have designated rooms for such an event. There are even places that take it to a whole other level, offering birthday packages or specialty parties like “bark mitzvahs” for Jewish dogs or a Red Carpet themed extravaganza.
If you’re considering throwing a birthday party for your dog, here are some options around New York City:
New York Dog Spa (locations in Chelsea (32 West 25th St) and Upper East Side (415 East 91st St) offers a “Saturday Night Red Carpet Champagne Party” for you and your dog. The complete package is $700 for a 2 hour party for up to 20 people. You can add on a DJ, karaoke, wine/beer, etc. This may be taking it a bit far, but hey, it’s New York. http://www.dogspa.com/throw-a-saturday-night-red-carpet-champagne-party-for-your-dog
Some of the Biscuits and Bath locations offer a private room for your dog’s birthday party. The dog party I went to was located at the Upper West Side’s location (2330 Broadway) and the link is here: http://www.biscuitsandbath.com/locations/upper-west-side.aspx
In the East Village, Drop Off Service (211 Avenue A) is a popular spot for dog parties. Owners can sip beers while celebrating with their four legged friends.
If you have room in your home to throw a party, there are actually companies out there who will help you plan every detail. One of these companies is Petaholics. For $300 in party planning services, $35-45 per hour in party clean up and $30-40 per hour for hosting your home party day care, this company will do everything from mailing out your invitations, greeting guests, coming up with dog games and even add dog massages to the activities list. Supplies are shipped to your home in advance of the party. More info is available here: http://petaholics.com/nycdogpartyplanning.html
Now that the good weather has finally arrived, you might also consider, holding your party outdoors at a New York City dog park. You can find recipes online for dog friendly cakes and treats to make for the party. One idea is having a party at Madison Square Park with a human lunch at Shake Shack (East 23rd Street between Madison and Fifth Ave). Madison Square Park has dog runs for the pups to go off leash and a playground for any of the dog’s human siblings.
Don’t mind the looks of confusion you may get from non-New Yorkers when you tell them of your doggy birthday plans. As my friend who held Daisy’s party put it, “I think it is important to find every excuse on earth to celebrate, and my beloved puppy’s first birthday seemed like a great opportunity to bring together a lot of amazing people and their pups in one room.” Happy doggy party planning!