May is a time to celebrate the mothers, grandmothers, and extra special momma figures in our life. I’m the first to recognize dog moms on Mother’s Day, wholeheartedly understanding the time, patience, compassion, and infinite love that many of us pour into our four-legged children.
The modern dog has evolved far beyond the cliche backyard creature who hangs around a yard all day. Many dogs participate in sports and extra curricular activities, that require as much dedication as human kids’ hobbies. Some dogs even have jobs! Whether doing therapy, service, detection, protection or other valuable work… in 2021, countless dogs give back, serve society and even support themselves! My girls make a respectable living as dog actress / models that more than pay for their raw food, vet bills and expenses. How many parents of two-legged children can say the same?!
As the proud mom of Delilah Jane Sassafras, Penelope Supafly, and my soul angel of 17 years, Preston Casanova, I can honestly say my dogs are more family to me, than most of my human relatives ;) So I love any occasion to celebrate our bond, by doing something that is fun for us both!
Here are my top 10 ways to celebrate (Dog)Mother’s Day:
- Breakfast in Bed: What better way to wake up than by enjoying a breakfast in bed together? You can prep the night before so that, once you’re up and ready to eat, you can quickly return to bed and enjoy some deliciousness together. Dogs can enjoy meat and eggs (think steak, bacon, or sausage, in moderation!) so go savory and enjoy these together. In addition, dogs can eat quite a few fruits: bananas, blueberries and watermelon, among others, and simply made Waffles or French toast can also be on the menu, if you prefer sweets together. Finish off meal with matching Puppacinos! Whipped cream + coffee, for you, and Whipped cream + num nums for your pup are the perfect indulgence! Just be certain that, whatever you do make, avoid ingredients that are toxic for your pooch and offer any new food in tiny amount.
- Fun and Games in the Yard: What is your dog’s favorite activity? Playing fetch, flirt pole, “catch me” games (where your dog runs to catch you—great for fun come when called practice!), doing nose work searches and obstacle courses are all terrific ways to interact with your dog and have fun together. It’s also a perfect way to have the entire family join in on the training. Besides healthy play, it can help reinforce good behaviors and boost your dog’s confidence, in addition to building a stronger bond together.
- A Long SNIFFari: Taking your dog on a leisurely stroll, at your own paces together, can be a healthy way to clear your mind, refresh your soul, and feel at peace together. Whatever route you choose, you can allow your dog freedom to check out the environment, sniffing whatever inspires them. Olfactory enrichment is a very important part of your dog’s life. For you, it also gives the opportunity to just take time to be mindful and notice the beauty around you. Far too often we are in a rush in our lives, and making the time to just notice the sun shining through the trees, or the sound of a creek, or the new spring flowers emerging, can really be a wonderfully renewing experience you both can share together.
- Spaw Day: Being pampered and having a relaxing time together can be a great way to spend the entire day, or even to end a day after doing some of the above. You can easily massage your pooch and then get one for yourself, or even get an in-home masseuse. If your dog loves a good bath, that can be another aspect to consider, but for those who don’t, having a good massage with a doggy spritz spray can be a good alternative!
- Doggy Play Date with your BFFs: For those of you who have friends with dogs that your dog loves, why not have a play date together and even incorporate some of the above ideas? Besides playing together, dogs can enjoy exploring sniffs together on a long walk while you chat with your friend, or you can go on an adventure camping, or host a party together. The possibilities are endless!
- Trick Party: Train, treat, bond, repeat… a fun way to celebrate with the entire family, or your friends— invite them to a dog trick party! You can have num nums for people as well as dogs, and show off your skills with your dog’s tricks that you’ve already taught them. If you haven’t taught any tricks, that’s okay too— this is a great opportunity to start teaching tricks, and allow your guests to join in on the fun with your dog too. Tricks are the ideal way to nourish trust with your dog because they are so much fun to teach! One of my favorite ways to impress guests is by having Delilah Jane fetch everyone a drink from the refrigerator… you can see this and other fun training videos on our YouTube channel.
- Date Night: You can have a “traditional date night” with your dog! Check out your local spots for patio-friendly restaurants, breweries or wineries, or if you still have a drive-in theater, some welcome leashed, friendly dogs too. Sharing an ice cream at a local parlor can also be a great way to end the date. BringFido.com can be a great resource for places in your area, or you can ask your local visitor centers/tourism boards. In addition, you could opt to stay in a pet-friendly hotel overnight and relax watching DogTV’s “One Night Only” special together after a day of adventure! (link to where people can watch the special!)
- Adventure Outing: What sorts of adventure do you like that your dog can enjoy with you? A hike in a national forest? A frolic on a dog-friendly beach where your dog can dig their heart out? Or a local lake for paddle boarding, kayaking, or swimming together? You could make an overnight or weekend of it too—staying at a pet-friendly hotel or AirBnB, or camping! Or maybe, if you’re not as excited by the great outdoors, you could visit a new city or small town nearby to get a change in scenery and just explore together, taking walks throughout the streets or the parks this new place has to offer.
- Shop ‘Til You Drop: Spending a day together spending money—that’s what some ladies want—and dogs too! There are some national stores that welcome dogs (though you may want to call ahead to those in your area to verify in case of policy changes):
- Tractor Supply Company
- Home Depot
- Pottery Barn
- Bass Pro Shops
- The Apple Store
- The Apple Store
- LUSH Cosmetics
- Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack (my favorite!)
Besides these national stores, some local businesses as well as outlet malls are also dog-friendly, particularly if they sell pet items. Call ahead to verify!
- A Cool Road Trip: Most dogs enjoy a fun car ride. If you live in an area with scenic byways, this can be a fun way to enjoy a day with your dog and see some beautiful scenery, or discover some local history together. My girls and I live near the coast in Southern California, and we love adventures to explore the secret beaches of Malibu, and hidden dog-friendly hiking gems. My friend, Laura McGaughey of Way Cool Canines, had an unforgettable time with her dog, Jasper, taking Independence Pass by Aspen, Colorado. “Not only are there great hiking trails you can explore, but a ghost town and other historic sties we were able to explore. We had a really fun day riding and exploring!” You can always contact your local tourist centers and organizations for ideas, in addition to researching online, for great ride routes to take. Just be sure your dog is traveling in safety, as well as style!
This year, Penelope, Delilah and I are planning a glamping road trip in our Sprinter, Gidget, to the Kern River for Mother’s Day. We’ll spend the weekend hiking, barbecuing and paddle boarding on the lake. Mother’s Day is always bittersweet, as this will be my 2nd holiday without our heart, Preston, he would want our adventures to continue in his memory!
For all the dog moms grieving a recent loss, I’m sending you love… For everyone else, PLEASE take a day to celebrate the unconditional love we are so lucky to receive as dog mothers!
Laura Nativo, CPDT-KA KPA CTP