And All the Dogs Threw a Party for your Birthday!
February 12, 2019 10:04 PM   Subscribe

I volunteer at an animal shelter, along with three amazing friends. One of them has a birthday this weekend and we are looking for a way to make it special at the shelter.

The birthday girl has had a rough year and is also not a fan of big displays that would involve a lot of people. We are looking for ways to incorporate the dogs into celebrating with her.

So far, we have come up with the idea of decorating an empty kennel. Maybe have a cake to share with staff and volunteers on shift. Please help and share your ideas so we can make this an amazing birthday! Thank you!!!
posted by augustinetill to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Gifts from the dogs.
Pet toys, treats, stuff that they'd think would make terrific presents, which she could then use at the shelter. Individually wrapped, no matter how small, because dogs love gift wrap.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:25 PM on February 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Could she be the proud participant in a puppy pile, wherein she sits with her eyes closed until puppy after puppy comes to sit with her?

If it were me I would die of joy to be smothered in kisses from puppies for my birthday.
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:25 PM on February 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

If it was my birthday, I would love for pet adoption expenses to be covered for a deserving human. Maybe a senior citizen (in my case) or a family with kids. And cake. I never turn down cake.
posted by crw at 10:40 PM on February 12, 2019 [10 favorites]

As a volunteer at my local animal shelter, I can think of nothing more joyful than getting to see dogs enjoy enrichment. I would make “birthday Kongs” (or stuff empty toilet paper tubes if your shelter doesn’t have a collection of Kongs) with all sorts of yummy stuff. Let her share her birthday fun with the most bored and frustrated dogs! Or set up a doggie sniff course (nose work) and let her enjoy an hour letting her favorite dogs sniff around. Even making doggie biscuits (in addition to human treats to share between you all) and letting her pass them out to the dogs would be delightful.

Does your shelter allow any special outings, like taking an especially lonely dog out for a day or night? This requires more planning and a lot more care to keep the dog safe outside the shelter but I can’t think of anything more awesome than springing a long time resident dog to go get some people and doggy fro-yo together.

We don’t let anyone hang out or touch puppies to avoid risk of passing serious diseases to them except for staff who is careful with cleaning protocols before and after handling, but... Yeah, what’s more fun than a puppy pile? If you can work with staff to do so that would be memorable.

We also announce birthdays at the front desk for notable volunteers or staff and folks clap and know to wish that person happy birthday. I would personally be mortified with this attention but it could be lovely for the right person!

Seconding the idea of a donation of some kind in her honor as well.

Lastly, for celebrations between staff or volunteers, we often will have a nice looping presentation on a screen of shelter animals that were special to us or other pictures of events at the shelter to go along with the treats being passed out in the conference room.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 11:36 PM on February 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

Maybe take pictures of various dogs in birthday hats and make them into cards for the dogs to give to her. Maybe with little notes from some of them. Like:
Remember when I first came here and I was so sick and you sat with me and stroked my ears? I do. Happy birthday. Love, Rex.
You don't have to get fancy, just a printer photo on a sheet of paper folded in half and crayons or markers.
If she has a favorite dog you could make one of those dog print casts, I think they have them at pet shops. Put a message on the back. "We Love You" or "Best Dog Mom Ever"
posted by BoscosMom at 1:09 AM on February 13, 2019 [16 favorites]

Seconding boscosmom, little notes from dogs about what they appreciated is very touching
posted by Jacen at 7:59 AM on February 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

If it was my birthday, I would love for pet adoption expenses to be covered for a deserving human. Maybe a senior citizen (in my case) or a family with kids. And cake. I never turn down cake.

If it will help, MeMail me, and I'll donate an adoption fee in her name, or on behalf of one of her admirers (Give me a a dog's name to do it as)
posted by DigDoug at 12:48 PM on February 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

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