People throwing birthday celebrations for their pets is commonplace. But what happens when your Jewish dog turns 13? Alex and Chad Locke decided that a regular birthday party wasn’t enough.
They had a Bark Mitzvah for their Chinese Crested, Charley. And they went all in.
“It really came about because my family is all dog people,” Alex said. “We’ve thrown parties and people have bought presents. But we turned it into a whole thing.”
Alex and Chad had personalized plates with Charley’s picture on them, and personalized cups. There was a banner. There were t-shirts for the guests. There was a cake for the dogs that were guests – belonging to Alex’s sister and aunt, as well as food for the humans.
“More than anything, they were really excited,” Alex said. “They saw our shirts and wanted them – which we had for everyone. We kept everything a secret, but they didn’t know about the personalization or the dog cake. We tried to keep it under wraps. We wanted it to be fun for the adults.
Charley’s Bark Mitzvah was May 13, two days after his 13th birthday. The party had seven humans and three dogs; so a minyan. Sort of. The Bark Mitzvah dog did have his own tallit and kippah to mark the occasion, as well as his own shirt, which Alex said he isn’t a fan of.
Despite the attention that they received from the idea, Alex doesn’t see them as trailblazers that will start a Bark Mitzvah trend.
“I had heard the phrase so I Googled to see if I could buy anything but there wasn’t anything,” he said, which led to the personalized plates, cups and banner. “I really thought we could stuff but we had to create everything on our own. But I think my sister wants to do one for her dog.”
Um, about that.
“I don’t think so,” said Alex’s sister, Missy Barenbaum. “I didn’t know it was going to be as big a deal as it was. I walked in and it was a little overwhelming. They had t-shirts and banners. They really went all out.”
None of the parties involved take themselves – or the idea – too seriously.
“Maybe we’re a little crazy because there’s no two-legged grandkids in the family,” Missy said. “She is our spoiled baby and I hope that doesn’t chance when we have two legged kids.”
Said Alex: “We weren’t thinking this was going to be a serious event. We did it for fun and put it on Facebook. It’s a really cute idea. It’s always fun to celebrate dogs.”