June 29, 2012 6:55 AM   Subscribe

I'm not exactly sure how to phrase this question, but I'm looking to have access to a room full of puppies for an hour or two in DC. Help me!

My girlfriend's birthday is in a few weeks, and she loves dogs, particularly puppies. For a lot of reasons neither of us can have a dog at this stage in our lives, so I'm looking to get her the next best thing - a bunch of puppies to play with for a little while.

I literally have no idea where to begin looking for such a thing. Can you help?
posted by downing street memo to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you go to a Petsmart adoption thing? They aren't puppies but it might be fun.
posted by discopolo at 6:59 AM on June 29, 2012

Any pet store / adoption center. Whether you want to be upfront about the fact that you're not planning on buying/adopting is completely up to you.
posted by pyro979 at 7:00 AM on June 29, 2012

Find a local shelter and give them a nice donation for their trouble.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:11 AM on June 29, 2012 [18 favorites]

I agree about going to an animal shelter. I remember quite a few people at my university who volunteered to play with the dogs there since you weren't allowed to have pets in the dormitory.
posted by tomwheeler at 7:18 AM on June 29, 2012

Find a local animal shelter and give them a ring. In a lot of them you can usually choose the dog you want and take them out to an area to play with, it's good for the dogs to be socialized and exercised so they shelters usually don't mind of you just come in to volunteer to play with the dogs. Make a nice donation in your friends name on your way out.
posted by wwax at 7:52 AM on June 29, 2012

It's going to be hit or miss whether you get a room full of puppies at a shelter--most likely miss--and you really don't want to patronize a store that sells puppies as they are almost certainly from a puppy mill. But if you find a good breeder with a litter on the ground, they'll probably be thrilled to have you come help socialize their puppies. One way to do this is to see what breeds your girlfriend is interested in, then look at the website for the national club for that breed, which will have a breeder referral section. Call the person nearest you and ask if they know anyone who can help you out.
posted by HotToddy at 8:04 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Our local dog park has a puppy/young/small dog section, away from the older/larger pooches. Maybe there's one like that near you? Dog people understand about other people wanting to meet their dogs, and they're usually pretty easy to talk to when they're at the dog park. It's a social thing.

Maybe go a day before the big day and find out who the regulars are and give them a heads up. Bring treats.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 8:14 AM on June 29, 2012

Google puppy party + your area and you'll find it. At least where I am (southern cal) this is a thing, and the vendors are the same people who bring portable petting zoos and pony rides to kids' birthday parties. Here's an example: (not endorsing them, however)
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:38 AM on June 29, 2012

Another idea might be to contact a Craigslist poster trying to find homes for a new litter and contact them and explain about the birthday person, maybe offer to bring a bag of puppy food or some toys in exchange for 30 minutes with the litter?
posted by Glinn at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Alternatively, maybe ask a shelter if they have any foster moms out there with a litter who might be willing to have you visit in exchange for bringing some supplies.
posted by Glinn at 9:05 AM on June 29, 2012

I love puppies too, but I would not want to spend my birthday in a pet store or an animal shelter. Those places can be a bit .... depressing. The "puppy party" thing mentioned above seems like your best bet - and if your girlfriend has a Kristen sloth moment make sure you film it! Dog parks are pretty fun, social places especially in the sun at this time of year. Maybe you could swing by one a few days ahead of time and ask some of the regulars if they will be there at Xpm on saturday and if so, explain what you want. If you approached me I would totally let you guys play with my dogs in the park for an hour! Another idea might be checking and seeing if there's anything in a park in your area, I go to beagle and golden retriever meetups. I like Glinn's idea too.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:20 AM on June 29, 2012

Dog Park ... especially if you scope it out in advance and talk to some people there ahead of time. The day I had to put down my dear old dane/coonhound mix, I went to the dogpark and hung out because I just had to be around dogs. I did this a few days a week until I adopted my current furry friend. Look out for the ball playing pups, playing fetch with a dog is so much fun (when the dog is trained to actually bring it back...).

Dog walkers often take their charges to a dog park to play also, and some would welcome a half hour of extra play-help.

As far as animal shelters, if your girlfriend really misses having pets, suggest volunteering once a week or so to her. It's a great idea, a way to help out animals, and most shelters are short-handed.
posted by batikrose at 9:31 AM on June 29, 2012

Find a local shelter and give them a nice donation for their trouble.

You can always "browse the merchandise" over at the WARL. It is not your (stereo)typical, depressing shelter.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:12 AM on June 29, 2012

Animal shelters are sort of depressing if you aren't actually able to get a dog. I also recommend dog parks -- the Dupont dog park (new hampshire& s) is very high traffic, and when I used to go there without a dog nobody seemed weirded out that I was just petting random dogs.
posted by aaanastasia at 3:04 PM on June 29, 2012

I don't have any leads on a puppy party, downing street memo, but perhaps you will enjoy this comic. (it's a two-parter.) And there's a t-shirt!
posted by zorseshoes at 7:19 AM on June 30, 2012

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