Puppy party planning: throwing a gala for your dog

Dog lovers love to throw parties for their pooches. Some are really elaborate.

- The event had all the makings of a successful party: a killer rooftop view, a professional photographer and signature cocktail. The birthday girl herself couldn't be cuter and she had an impressive looking gaggle of guests to match. Minnie's "Barkday" party may have been for the dogs, but there was nothing shabby about it.

"I don't have a baby, this is like my child," said Nikki Cole, Minnie's owner, who enlisted the help of a professional puppy party planner for the big event.

"A lot of people if you look around at this party are young people, millennials that have dogs instead of babies right away this is like a practice run," Cole said.

Minnie's Barkday featured dog-friendly gourmet treats from Doggy Chef (http://www.doggychef.com) and Pet Plate (www.petplate.com) and a costumed photo booth by the Dog Styler (www.thedogstyler.com), and raised money for the nonprofit shelter Animal Haven.

It was far from the first doggy party guests at Minnie's Barkday had attended.

"It's more common than you think," said Paige Chernick, who threw a party for her dog last year. "Nowadays, everyone we know is having a dog party for their pet."

"We've gone to quite a few this year, we had our own," said Cara Foldes, who threw a "Woofstock" themed bash for her golden doodle. "They're kind of like almost planning a wedding to be honest with you. They're a lot of stress, a lot of planning, a lot of money, but we have such a great time celebrating our dogs."

Hayley Rammuno is the founder of Puppy Parties NYC (http://www.puppypartiesnyc.com/) and was hired to plan Minnie's Barkday.

"This is our second year now we've been in business, since last year we've doubled the number of parties we do," Rammuno said.

She worked in event planning (for people) for years, but that changed after she threw a party for her own dog Bailey.

"After the event people just could not stop talking about the party," she said. "We'd see our friends a year later and they would tell us how great the party was, so I knew it would be something."

For fees ranging from $300 to $1,500, Rammuno offers full-service event planning for Barkdays, holiday puppy parties, even "Bark Mitzvahs" -- though she hasn't had any takers for that... yet.

"We've done stuff for Christmas, an ugly sweater party, a secret Santa paws, a Thanksgiving big feast for all the dogs," Rammuno said.

Brands are also getting in on the "pawty" business.

Earlier this year, the wedding of King Charles spaniel Toast to dachshund-Chihuahua mix Finn was an affair so grand it was officiated by Cindy Adams and made Town and Country.

The wedding raised money for puppy mill survivors and the publicity for the sponsor, registry website Zola, was priceless.

"These are Instagram influencer dogs," Cole said. "So if they post a picture at this party and the product is in the background, people want to be tagged they want to be part of it."

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