How Should We Celebrate Our 1st Birthday?

Happy upcoming birthday to the Peninsula Humane Society's Center for Compassion in Burlingame! Our PHS columnist Scott Delucchi needs ideas on how the center should celebrate the milestone birthday.


Birthdays. Some of us look forward to them. Some of us dread them or let them slip by unnoticed. Others are too young to realize they’re being celebrated.

I didn’t do much with my last one – the day I officially became closer to 50 than 40, as a good friend reminded me a minute after I turned 45. My mom has a big one coming up with a five at the end of it and I’m sure she’ll want to do the same.

My daughter talked about her 4th birthday for about 11 ½ months leading up to the celebration, and is already fired up for five, even though it’s still months away.

And, my son? He turns two in a few weeks and we’re conflicted. I’m pulling for a low-key deal while my wife wants to go big with all his friends, maybe a piñata. Friends? He doesn’t really have any yet, and won’t even know the party is for him. Still, I’m I pretty sure I’ll lose this disagreement.

So, how does an organization celebrate a birthday? Our Center for Compassion in Burlingame turns 1 next week. In dog years, that’s either 7, or 15 if you use the “new school” dog/person age conversion.

We’d love a huge party with traditional party games, but somehow letting people take turns whacking a stuffed donkey with a stick seems like bad form for a humane society.

Cake for hundreds of visitors might get messy. And cake for our shelter animals would definitely lead to upset stomachs, which won’t be fun for animal care staff cleaning rooms the next morning.

We could sing happy birthday to ourselves. Our president can tickle the ivories and three members of our Customer Service/Adoptions staff are in bands. That’ll be good for a minute, then what?

We still have a bit of time to plan this shindig. That said, we received one gift a few weeks early. One of our dear supporters, Vanessa Getty, visited our Center for Compassion and was so impressed with our new place and the work going on inside, that she made a generous gift which will help us launch a new program. Vanessa’s present was just a smidge bigger than the b-day card from grandma with a 20-spot.

The best part is that we’ll use her gift to give lots of little gifts - free spay or neuter surgeries plus 20 smackeroos for local Chihuahua owners.

The $20 incentive or, “ball bounty” ($10 per!) is for real. Chihuahuas are producing accidental and some not-so-accidental litters at alarming rates. As a result of this, Hollywood’s glamorization of the little dogs – from commercials and Disney movies to paparazzi shots of divas with diminutive dogs in handbags – and families who assume the tiny breed is a perfect plaything for the tiny child, have made them the most likely breed to be dumped at shelters. And, we’re going to the root of the issue. Details to follow.

Now that we have that figured out, back to the party. We really want to celebrate the first year in our new home by doing more than castrating Chihuahuas, as festive as that will be. We could tie the new program (the un-birthdays) into our birthday. Ok, that could use polish.

How do you think we should celebrate? Drop me a quick message, a card, or a $20 bill from grandma for our animals.

Freak Lazaro September 04, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Freak Lazaro September 04, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Mr Delucchi, why do sugar-coat the abundance of chihuahuas? Beverly Hills Chihuahua is old news and Paris who? Why don't you say it like it is. Backyard breeding is the problem! I see it in my neighborhood in Redwood City all the time. These people breed these animals for profit, plain and simple. The won't fix the dogs because they make money. I don't know if you are trying to be politically correct. But the bottom line is there needs to more enforcement and consequences. My sister's kids really wanted a chihuahua. Luckily, at the time there was a class at the Peninsula Humane Society. They ended up getting a 2-year old chihuahua who is the best little dog. It's easy to blame Hollywood for so many chihuahuas. But the real problem needs to be dealt with. More education, outreach and enforcement. And more low-cost spay/neuter mobile clinics. Maybe I should call the police when I see people selling puppies. Thanks to Ms
Freak Lazaro September 04, 2012 at 01:32 AM
PS: My name is Frank.
Freak Lazaro September 04, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Sorry for the choppy posts. Not too good at this stuff. Thanks to Ms Getty forger generous donation
Scott Delucchi September 05, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Thanks, Frank. I don't mean to sugarcoat the Chihuahua problem at all. This latest column was intentionally light because the subject was "birthday parties." We have written anzd spoken about Chihuahuas many times. And backyard breeding is a significant factor. Still, we have a difficult time seeing how dollars spent on additional enforcement will be more impactful than the incentives we have planned. Consider this: in the six years we've offered free spay/neuter surgeries to targeted communities, we've averaged almost 1,000 surgeries per year. If we had devoted the same dollars and resources to enforcement or legislation, I don't think our efforts would have come close to matching this and would likely have been difficult to measure. That said, we routinely look at many approaches to this serious issue. Again, thank for taking the time to write. -- Scott


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