Throw a Party for Your Pet
Serve the guest of honor a bit of her regular food in a cupcake holder (we added a rawhide chew "candle"). If your pet is game and can handle excitement, let the crew serenade her with "Happy Birthday" while she dines. To set the scene, transform inflated balloons into cats and pups, adhering paper features with glue dots. Tape the balloons on a length of yarn.
These edibles will feed hungry beasts of the two-legged variety.
For the Dog Bites, insert cooked hot dogs into hamburger buns. Add eyes and ears cut from white American cheese (fresh slices from the deli counter work best) and black beans for pupils and noses. Secure the features with dabs of mustard.
For Kitty's Fave Pizzas, roll out a 13.8-ounce tube of pizza dough on a floured surface. Use 3-inch or 4-inch heart- and egg-shaped cookie cutters to cut the dough (we got six of each shape from one tube). Press a heart and an egg shape together to form each fish. Add pizza sauce, shredded cheese, a black olive slice for the eye, and half a black olive slice for the mouth. Bake the pizzas as directed on the dough's packaging.
Silly Human Tricks
Fill a clean pet bowl with folded slips of paper, each inscribed with a pet trick, such as "jump through a hoop," "shake," "roll over," or "wag your tail." Provide a hula hoop and any other props needed. The first player chooses a slip and performs that trick. The next chooses a slip, then performs that stunt, plus the first one. The game continues until the player who went first has to perform all of the tricks in the right order. Repeat the game until everyone has had a chance to be the first player.
Invite guests to create gifts for their own pets or for an animal shelter.
1. Fill a baby sock with catnip.
2. Knot two lengths of perle cotton thread tightly around the sock to shape the head and tail.
3. Trim any excess. With nontoxic fabric glue, attach eyes and a beak cut from felt.
4. To make your bird a teaser toy, secure a small screw eye to a 1/4-inch-thick dowel.
5. Tie one end of an 18-inch-long string to the neck of the bird and the other end to the screw eye.
Kid Craft: Cute Paper Animal Heads
1. Cut two 2-inch-wide strips from three different colors of 58- to 60-inch fleece fabric.
2. With a fleece scrap, tie the six strips together 20 inches from one end, pair them by color, and braid for 18 inches (A).
3. Bend the fleece into a loop, remove the tie, and group the strips by color (B).
4. Braid them into one fat rope. Tie a knot to secure the braiding, leaving some fringe at the end. Tip: When knotting the rope, have another guest grasp the loop end. Once the knot's tied, give the fringed end a firm tug to tighten it.
Kids will beg for this fool-the-eye treat. Cover a store-bought angel food cake with frosting, adding the name of the birthday dog or cat. Fill the center with scoops of ice cream and top the cake with cocoa-flavored cereal balls (leave about an inch of space all around for the bowl's rim).
Paw Print Table Topper
1. Bundle one fat and four thin carrots with rubber bands, then slice across the ends. (For extra pawthenticity, cut a small notch in the fat carrot, as shown here.)
2. With an ink pad, stamp the prints onto a length of wrapping paper.
Give your pooch a professional look with a simple felt collar. Download our template (below) and cut the pieces out of felt. Glue the tie's tabs underneath the collar's front edges as shown, and let dry. Drape the collar around your dog's neck and place adhesive-backed Velcro tape where the ends overlap. Then schedule an important meeting re: belly rubs.