How often are you invited to a dog’s birthday party? Never? Rarely? All the time?
We attended our first celebration birthday party for Gypsy Sue, a part boxer and part bull mastiff who didn’t look a day over 25 in dog years, but was really turning a whopping six years old, which is 42 dog years. Gypsy Sue is so gentle that she visited all her guests, wearing a pink bow, of course, to differentiate the birthday girl from the other dogs and their people. The dogs were the invited guests after all, the rest of us just tagged along.
Gyspy Sue’s special birthday party was initiated several years ago by her people, Gail and Mike Cochran, and was held at the Island Gypsy Café and Bar on Isles of Capri, much to the delight of the Isles residents and friends who love an excuse for comradery and fun.
The Cochran’s goal was to solicit donations of dog food for local shelters to help care for abandoned or stray pets. In recent years, they’ve included cat food for the animals and plenty of dog snacks, toys and monetary donations came pouring in to their amazement. The first birthday party for Gypsy Sue gathered about 500 pounds of food, give or take a biscuit. This year’s party, drum roll please, gathered 4,000 pounds of food for the animal shelters!
A myriad of dogs brought their owners, each dog cuter than the next. And, wonder of wonders, there were no doggie squabbles, cussing, growls or other misbehavior, which differentiates them from some people in politics today. Turns out, many of the dogs that participated were local rescue dogs and one from as far away as Virginia.
The food and drink flowed to the pet owners while pooches were served Gypsy Sue’s special birthday cakes, created by Tammy Wilson, cut into small pieces and served on paper plates on the ground. You’ve undoubtedly seen how quickly a dog can gobble up a treat and the pet friendly cake was no exception, poof! Gone! Their owners savored coconut shrimp and pulled pork sliders along with delectable sauces. Some tables ordered the famous Island Gypsy onion rings to add to their plates.
Several things are clear. Dog lovers are a fun-loving group, they donate to pet-related organizations, they adore their dogs, their dogs are well-behaved, and they enjoy the sparkling conversation of other dog lovers. What a great place to spend the afternoon; we can hardly wait for Gypsy Sue’s seventh birthday party! Thanks to the Cochrans, the Isles of Capri families and friends and the Island Gypsy for their efforts to help the animal shelters in Collier County.
Jory Westberry has been a dedicated educator for over 40 years, the last 14 as Principal of Tommie Barfield Elementary, where she left her heart. Life is rich with things to learn, ponder and enjoy so let’s get on with the journey together!