It's all the rage, dog parties and yappie hours. So why not host your own? If you've got a yard and the room, your place might be the perfect place to release the hounds. You can set up a bar, snacks, music and a place for dogs to play.
Going to the Dogs? Why Not?
Most of us dog lovers spend all day in the office and although we really want to mix and mingle with the human kind, we just hate leaving our pooches at home. So why not give all your friends the opportunity to bring their best four-legged friend to the party? Plus you get to meet the "better half" of all your human buddies.
Having dogs along for the party is also a great way to get people who don't know one another to interact. If you are worried about whether people from the office will get along with the friends you grew up with or if your shy best friend will have trouble mingling, put them on the other end of a leash an there won't be any problem. Dogs are an easy conversation starter and a smiling extension of even the most serious wall flower. The dogs are sure to be the life of party!
Rules for Conduct
Be sure to put on the invitation that all guests should have the appropriate shots to attend. Make a joke of it and say that it includes people too. No measles/mumps/rubella shot. No entry. You don't have to ask for papers for the dogs at the door, but everyone will feel more comfortable if they see that dogs are required to have had their vaccinations. After all, you wouldn't be able to drop your dog at doggie day care with having all the appropriate vaccinations.
It is important that dogs play well together and don't have problems with other dogs if they are going to interact. You might want to have a place reserved for dogs that don't manage the party situation well just in case. This way your guest with the unruly pooch doesn't have to feel embarrassed and leave the party.
Mutt-tenders and Pet-Sitters
Consider hiring some help as well. Maybe that great teenager who cares for your dogs when you're on vacation would be interested in manning the pooches for a small fee. Or if you would like, hire a dog walker or a local dog trainer, to supervise dog interactions. If you have a cordoned off play area and a dog attendant, human party guests can leave their dog in the play area for a while and focus on a little human interaction.
Dog Themed People Treats
There are plenty of adult people beverages themed specifically for dog lovers that you can investigate. How much fun would that be, doing the research for your Yappy Hour? Check out wineries like Mutt Lynch Winery with such wines as, "Merlot Over and Play Dead." (www.muttlynchwinery.com) Bad Dog Wine has adorable dog labels and you can find these if you are in Canada. The Humane Society also has a wine club with great dog labels. (www.hsus.org) If you are looking for something more personalized, there are many wineries that do personalized wine bottles. Why not get some bottles with labels that feature a photo of your favorite pooch?
Don't forget cookies shaped like bones, a dog-shaped cake and of course hot dogs! Use your imagination and create dog themed food or hire a caterer to do it for you. And be sure to set out some dog treats! (Mark them as such too so that they don't accidentally become snacks for people).
Raise Awareness and Open Pocketbooks
If you are thinking of having a Yappy Hour, why not take it one step further and do it for charity? Pick a favorite animal charity or local animal shelter and put out a donation box. Be sure to put on the invitation that Yappy Hour will be raising funds for a dog charity, so skip the hostess gift and bring a couple of bucks for dogs in need. Have a raffle of fun dog products. Maybe have an informal doggie fashion show. Use your imagination and get Yappy!