It’s official: Dogs are the new children. It’s no longer enough to pamper your furry mates with gourmet food at ‘pets only’ cafes. Expensive birthday parties -- complete with cake any pooch will drool over -- are all the rage in Gurgaon.
Aakashdeep and Sonika, a couple from South City-1, recently booked a farmhouse to celebrate the first birthday of their dear Sasha – a golden Labrador retriever. Their resolve to make the day perfect for little Sasha had Sonika booking a flight to Mumbai – to get a dress stitched for Sasha.
“My wife took the measurements along with her to the designer. He sent a tailor to Delhi for the fitting sessions,” Aakashdeep said.
“We took two days to finalise the invites. We had decided to invite only 15 friends who had pets, but it turned to be a gathering of 50 and many of them were attending a pet birthday party for the first time,” he said.
The couple also fussed over the menu as Sasha is fond of chocolate fudge, chicken salami and ice cream.
“We had to keep in mind the taste of other pets too. The challenging part was that five of them were vegetarians. Flavored milk was served to all pets as welcome drink,” Akashdeep said.
“Aakashdeep wanted to give a goodies bag to each guest with items that are useful to both pet parents and animals. We travelled to different places in Delhi to get the goodies and each bag cost us around Rs 400,” Sonika said.
“Sasha was treated to a red carpet welcome and flower shower. I was glad my baby’s first birthday was a memorable one,” Sonika said.
The guest pooches were entertained with games of fetch, Frisbee and musical chairs.
The trend is catching on fast in Gurgaon. Others too are organising mega bashes for their pets. While parties are mostly for the joy of their human companions, pet parents avoid balloons and crackers that might make pets uneasy.
“Pets enjoy these parties. They are made to feel special,” said Eshita Katyal, founder of OFF the Leash, a dog park and café.
Event managers are roped in to plan games for the four-legged guests.
“We plan games in which the pet owners are also involved. Everyone loves pool games and obstacle races,” said Richa Maheshwari, owner of Café Canine.
Birthday cakes for pooches are made with a lot of care – with no sugar. Most cakes are made with eggs and meat. Other eatables such as biscuits and doggie biryani also feature on the menus.
Rashee Kuchroo, owner of Doggie Dabbas, said, “Pet owners want a nutritious and delicious menu for pet parties. They are very particular about their pets’ tastes.”
Many pet parents go to great lengths to prepare trendy and innovative email and WhatsApp invites, apart from the traditional invitation cards.
The day is also made special with a grooming and pampering session for the pet. They are often treated to massages with coconut or olive oil, followed by a manicure and pedicure.
Some pet parents also opt for hair colour and streaks for their ‘kids’. These are special hair products with a less strong essence than those used in products for humans.
The birthday moments are, of course, captured by a professional photographer hired for the occasion.
The evening ends with humans and animals feeling cherished. That, after all, is the purpose of all such celebrations.