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I will be the first to admit I dote on my dog. I know my peers may snort at the understatement. I really adore my dog. In my defense, I do not dress him up. . . except on his birthday. I just put him in a hat for a laugh every year. And yes, I do celebrate his birthday with a small theme party. Just once a year and no more! Yesterday was that day.

You see, my dog Buttons was a rescue. He was found seven years ago crossing the freeway in the desert. His fur was so matted, the rescuers were not sure what breed of dog he was. He was dragging a huge branch that had gotten tangled within his fur. When he was groomed they found he was covered in ticks. Almost 200. To top it off he was only 19 lbs. It was repulsive. Luckily, I never had to see him like that. I adopted him two weeks later and promptly named him Buttons. My poor dog was a mess! He was on seven medications, dehydrated, and had severe separation anxiety which has subsided the last few years. There is something not quite right about his brain and the veterinarian thinks it could be from the disease he picked up in the desert. Many people ask if Buttons is autistic. I hold him to my chest and say “No! He is a savant! While it appears he is putting himself in the corner and staring at light sockets, he is really figuring out the formula for cold fusion.” Buttons is not the smartest of canines, but he is a love muffin. “He’s good for nothing, but he’s GREAT!” He is now a very old dog and most his current ailments stem from age.

So every year I celebrate his adoption-day, or as we say, his birthday. Previous years the themes have been “tomato” (his favorite vegetable), “pineapple” (his favorite fruit), Baby (after his nick name), Buttons (after his real name), and Spanish (after the breed’s half origins). This year I am hosting an English Tea Party, for the cocker spaniel’s other half origin. For the first time, I invited other canines to help him celebrate his 12th birthday. This is how it went:

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