Our sweet senior spotty is 14! Happy birthday, Oli! Thank you for all of the social media love and happy birthday wishes you’ve given to Oli over the past few days. We are very lucky to be celebrating another milestone together this year. Although we have a temporary pause here on the blog due to our current COVID-19 lockdown, a birthday is always something to celebrate. Even if it’s a Oli’s 14th birthday was celebrated with a small bubble birthday party with long distance well wishes. Welcome to our virtual lockdown barkday pawty!
Celebrating the Big 1-4
It’s party time again for the blog dogs of Dalmatian DIY. We’re very happy to be celebrating another milestone together. Our regular readers and social media furfriends will know that Oli is a very happy old lad, but that the years inevitably take their toll. We’re beyond fortunate to be celebrating a 14th birthday with our gorgeous, geriatric, big, male, dog. And his naughty little sidekick Humphrey, too, of course!
Unfortunately, Oli’s senior slowdown has started to show signs of acceleration into mobility decline and probable loss. My heart breaks at the thought. Especially with the current uncertainties about lockdown, access, and care. Although the body is starting to fail him, for now, Oli is still happy and enjoying his life every day. We and his trusted vets are keeping a close eye on his health and happiness. Every day he reminds me to slow down and enjoy the time we have together. Thanks for all the well wishes and good thoughts you’ve sent his way!
And on that note, I’ll stop before I make you (or myself) far too sad for a celebration post. It’s time to PAWTY! This year’s lockdown birthday felt a little unusual. But it was also a really great birthday all the same. Enjoying the day, celebrating Oli’s 14th birthday, spoiling the boys a little (of course) and making more of those extra special memories together.
It's Not a Real Party Without Cake!
Lockdown life and dark rainy autumn weather didn’t dampen our spirits. This year, Oli’s birthday cake was a cheeseburger cake. Hold the bun, sauce, and salad, just the way he likes his burgers. Haha! It was a super indulgent cake for a super special birthday.
The cake patties were made using our go-to meatloaf style dog birthday cake recipe, as shared in our layered lamb cake recipe. It was made with lean ground beef instead of lamb and I omitted the flax. I only had enough flax left to make the treats. One of the perils of lockdown pantry supply. In lieu of my usual mashed potato frosting, I used very thinly sliced cheese. The cheese was just for looks (and scent) around the edges of the bottom layer and on top. It was layered on while the cake was still slightly warm to melt into place.
Cheeseburger cake ready! Slices were small, though – don’t worry. Naughty Momma was maintaining portion control. After birthday nibbles, the rest of the cake slices were refrigerated for storage and enjoyed as treats for days.
Barkday Celebration Treats
To go with the burgers, a batch of homemade sardine and broth dog treats, stamped with the number 14. One was used as a cake topper, and the rest were general treats. Keeping our treat box in the freezer stocked through lockdown is an essential service by Momma!
The freshly baked stinky treats were very tempting. Look at those huge grins and hopeful hungry eyes. Cheeky rascals. The dogs could barely contain their drool for a photo. I was going to break this treat in half as their reward after posing, but they had other ideas.
The sardine treat recipe is one I’ve experimented with a few times during recipe development. It isn’t posted on the blog, but you can try our sardine and cheese recipe without the cheese and other add-ins for something similar if you’re feeling the need for “delicious fishes”.
On the side, we had bone broth gummies. There are always homemade gummy dog treats of some variety in our fridge and our boys love them. I was getting really worried about running out when my online gelatin supplier had to close for lockdown. Cue panic. Especially since they’re also where we buy a lot of our health supplements (for the dogs and for ourselves). Fortunately, they’ve since been cleared to ship limited health and grocery supplies, so we’ll be able to keep the boys on their usual supplements as well as keep making gummies.
Lockdown Quarantini Dog Mocktail Drinks
Yes, you read that right. We even made special birthday bevvies! Since this was a party, I couldn’t resist making a couple of special dog-friendly quarantinis. After all, the big 1-4 is well worth raising (or lowering, as the case may be) a glass in celebration.
As birthday luck would have it, I had just finished simmering a crockpot of chicken for making homemade dog breakfasts. The poaching liquid that we save for unsalted and unseasoned chicken broth/stock was chilling for skimming and storage. Perfect for making little birthday mocktails. Since garnish makes the mocktail, I added some of the boy’s favourites. Note Humphrey going straight for the carrot in the photo below. Crazy little dude. Wise old Oli had his priorities straight. Barkday celebration cheers to all of you long distance!
Celebrations and Smiles
Regular readers may also know how doggone tricky it is to get these rascals to both smile in a photo. Oli likes to grin, although he sometimes grumbles about posing with Humphrey since that means sharing the modelling treat payments. Humphrey is often a serious blue steel little lad when posing. But look at the grins in this photo. I think they could smell cheeseburger cake. Hehehe.
I hope that you enjoyed Oli’s 14th birthday party and that it brought you a smile. We could all use an extra reason to smile these days! We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. Take care and don’t forget to look for some happiness, big or small, in your day.