Everybody loves a good party. Why shouldn’t your pets get in on the action as well? Texas-based event planner and dog lover Steve Kemble, whose clients include the Dallas Cowboys and the Bush family, gave PEOPLE Pets five tips for throwing a soiree worthy of man’s best friend.
* Keep the beverages flowing! Everybody knows that the most important part of a party is making sure the drinks are plentiful, so keeping the water bowls full is a must. But it’s also an opportunity to add some pizzazz to the scene. For Kemble’s most recent fete, a Fourth of July bash, all the water bowls were red, white and blue in keeping with the spirit of the holiday.
* Tantalize your guests with plenty of treats. Guests must be fed, so Kemble whips up his Garlic Chicken Chewies or Frozen Peanut Butter Yogurt Treats (see recipes below) on a cool day. He says of his own pooches Jack and Ruby, “Even though they’re terriers, they love my Poodle Pasta.”
* Provide lots of entertainment. As for amusement, Steve recommends chew toys galore and certainly one shaped as a birthday cake if you’re celebrating a big day. And for warm temperatures, he suggests an inflatable pool. Steve worried how his dogs might react to the air-filled contraption, saying, “This might be one big squeaky toy!” – but the dogs proved to be more interested in splashing in the water than chewing on the pool itself. “I think they’re so enamored with the water that it distracts them.”
* Make sure there’s enough space to mingle. Making sure your guests get along is always an issue, so be prepared. “It’s important when people are having doggie parties to have enough space in case you have some dogs who aren’t so social,” explains Kemble, who recommends inexpensive collapsible fences in case some dogs would prefer to sit in a VIP section.
* Give them a parting party gift. As guests leave, it’s always fun to offer some favors, so Kemble sets up a goodie bar on his dining room table (out of reach of over-excited pups!). “I fill glass containers with doggie treats and use cellophane bags and twisty ties from a party store. Everybody loves it!”
RECIPES: Steve Kemble’s homemade party food
Frozen Peanut Butter Yogurt Treats
(1) 32-oz. container of vanilla yogurt
1 cup peanut butter
Put the peanut butter in a microwave-safe dish and cook in microwave until melted. Mix the yogurt and the melted peanut butter in a bowl. Pour mixture into cupcake papers and freeze.
Garlic Chicken Chewies
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup regular flour
1 cup white cornmeal
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 eggs (beaten)
cup juice from boiling chicken giblets
4-5 fresh garlic cloves
1 lb. chicken giblets and hearts (or chicken liver)
Place olive oil, fresh eggs, chicken stock, fresh peeled garlic cloves and boiled chicken gizzards in the blender. Blend until well mixed, a little chunky and not quite smooth. Then, in a bowl, mix the liquid concoction with the flours and cornmeal. Place spoonfuls on greased cookie sheets. Bake 20 minutes in a 450-degree oven. Store in the fridge for up to four days, or freeze for later (pets even like them straight out of the icebox!). Bonus: The garlic is good for their hearts and is a natural flea deterrent. The olive oil and eggs are good for a healthy coat.
3 cups whole wheat flour
8 oz. beef liver
3 whole eggs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 Tbsp. butter (optional)
Puree beef liver in blender until smooth. Add eggs and blend for about a minute. Put flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center of the flour. Pour liver and egg mixture into well along with olive oil. Mix until thoroughly combined. Turn dough out on floured board and knead for at least 5 minutes or until smooth and shiny. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour but no longer than 2 days. When ready to make pasta, divide dough into 8 equal portions, approximately 4 oz. each. Form into desired pasta shapes with hands or use pasta machine. Cook in rapidly boiling water until al dente: for thin noodles, approximately 10 minutes; for thicker noodles, a few minutes longer. Drain noodles and toss with 1 tablespoon butter per serving, if desired. Or, instead of butter, try tossing noodles with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, canola oil or other oil high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.