I quickly closed the door before the animals could barge their way in. My five-turning-six-year-old daughter, however, felt sorry for the abandoned critters and let them all in when I wasn't looking.
It took the strays--my daughter now among them--exactly 2 minutes to complete the craft that was supposed to take 20. Much to my dismay, no one was interested in rolling out the clay dog tags that they had just made and making them again.
"Let's take your pretend pets to the vet!" I suggested, pointing to a table covered with an assortment of toy stethoscopes and medical supplies donated by my OB-GYN.
"Is that a pap smear swab?" asked the mother of one of the strays.
I assured the woman that the object that her daughter had just removed from a plastic wrapper and was shoving down the windpipe of a faux golden retriever was just an extra large Q-tip.
As the mom breathed a sigh of relief, I started to perspire. My husband was late returning with the pizza and some of the animals were beginning to claw at the refrigerator.
I needn't have worried so much because half of the pack turned out to be vegans who didn't eat meat or cheese products; the other half didn't like pizza.
"Do you have any chicken fingers?" asked a friendly Dashound.
I was informed that Captain Gorton's fish sticks would also be acceptable.
"This is a pet party," I reminded her. "All we have is dog food." I pointed to two plastic dog bowls on the counter that were filled respectively with bone-shaped graham crackers and Cocoa Puffs.
After throwing 8 slices of pizza into the trash, I led the party guests into the basement, where my neighbor was waiting with her competition show dog and the dog's agility course.
"Do you want..." Before my neighbor could finish her sentence, the pack dove headfirst into the dog tunnel.
My neighbor and I cheered the pets on. "Faster! Faster!" we screamed.
The mom who stayed to supervise her pet was thrilled when her daughter emerged from the tunnel covered in leaves and dog hair.
After all of the animals were exercised, I took them back upstairs for some cupcake tops and rainbow sherbet. One pet (who shall remain nameless) had a difficult time determining where the frosting ended and the birthday candles began.
"That's totally gross," I hissed when I ordered her to spit the candle stubs into a napkin.
Thankfully, all of the animal rescue groups came to retrieve their lost pets at the designated time. The mom who stayed for the party thanked me profusely for the plastic dog bowl that we handed out as party favors. She especially appreciated me suggesting to her daughter that the dish would make a nice cereal bowl.
After all the animals left, I was left with just my pet, who wanted to know why all of her friends couldn't spend the night after the party.
For once, the answer came easy. "I don't have enough crates, silly!"