by Kimberly Wade
How many of you celebrate your pets’ birthdays? Whether by posting a simple photo on social media or going the distance with pup-cakes, presents, balloons and then some? If you’re like me, you do both! Next week, on April 18, my little Siamese, Saia, turns one. She’s a chunky, goofy, vibrant little girl with lots of sass in her personality. I wasn’t always one to make a big deal out of pet birthdays, but after losing my first three cats, and experiencing pet loss for the first time, I decided I needed to celebrate life. Now even my husband laughs at me for the birthday “pawties” I throw!
You may recall a year ago, I was in Las Vegas for an animal conference. After it ended, I met with a nearby animal welfare group to bring 15 cats and kittens back to Reno. My little Saia was one of them. As we were moving the kittens into our adoption vehicle, she refused to go into the cage with her four siblings. She literally leapt into my arms (mind you, she was about four weeks old) and clung to me. When I tried to put her with her siblings she wanted nothing to do with them. She wouldn’t eat. She wouldn’t sleep. So while my husband drove (he always gets roped into helping me with these things), I held her in my lap for ten hours. Once back in Reno, she came home with us, to our house, as a foster kitten. She still wouldn’t eat; I couldn’t leave her alone overnight! Her siblings were fine and doing everything right, but apparently she wanted nothing to do with them.
As you can guess, Saia never left my house. She eventually began eating, and I think her constant desire to eat today is because she’s making up for lost calories during her childhood. She’s my special little girl, who took a road trip with me, making her way into our hearts and home. For those of you thinking that my husband is very tolerant and that I’m lucky to have him (given my obsession with animals), you’re right.
So next week, we celebrate Saia’s birthday. Most of our brood (we have three dogs and three cats) have birthdays early in the year, so as you can imagine it’s been busy. Saia, just like the others, will receive toys, a fancy bed, treats and more. I even go as far as to get one of those big helium number one balloons, you know, like most people do with their human kids? For me, my pets are family, so why not celebrate their precious little lives? I’ll be sharing it all over social media too.
I know I’m not the only one that does this. The veterinarian my husband and I go to had a birthday “pawty” for her 14-year-old lab and invited lots of her doggie friends to come over and celebrate. Another friend decorates with balloons, beautiful chalkboard signs, and cake for her kitties. Then there are all of the pets’ who have social media accounts! I too have an Instagram for my cats (@little_maisey_moo) and our Nevada Humane Society office cats (@nhsbosscats) and the number of birthday celebrations we see are incredible!
Speaking of birthdays, I do have one special shout out, an early Happy Birthday to Maddie, the namesake to Maddie’s Fund. She would have been 30 on April 26, and her legacy lives on thanks to Maddie’s Fund, and also thanks to so many lives we’ve saved here at Nevada Humane Society.
So, whether you laugh at me or support me, the point is that our animals are family. They love us unconditionally, and if you’ve ever adopted from Nevada Humane Society you know this well. We take our pets’ on vacation, to the beach, shopping, out to dinner and then some—so why shouldn’t we celebrate their birthdays? Every day and every year that we have our animals with us is another one to be acknowledged. Whether you go big with a “pawty” like I do, or just post a photo online and have all of your friends wish your four-legged BFF Happy Birthday, it’s a joy for all of us. Hopefully Saia’s birthday celebration will be inspiration for your furkids, too.
By the way, if you want to share photos and stories of your “pet pawties” I’d love to see them! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send them in to 2825-B Longley Lane, Reno, 89502.
Kimberly Wade is the Communications Director for Nevada Humane Society. She has been with the organization for 7 years but her passion for animals began as a child. Kimberly lives with her husband, 3 cats (one pictured) and 3 dogs.