Guest blog by Mary Dell Harrington, co-founder of the parenting blog Grown and Flown .
Happy birthday, dear Moose! Our chocolate Labrador is turning eight, and we are planning a birthday party for him. With family, friends and neighbors’ special dates to remember, I must admit that our dogs’ birthdays have sometimes slipped through the cracks. But this year, Moose is getting the royal treatment. Here are three reasons why you should celebrate your pet on his birthday, or anniversary of adoption, too:
Fun for the whole family: What child is not gleeful at the thought of a birthday party? Let your kids create decorations, plan refreshments or shop for an edible gift for your pet. We once held a festive 100th birthday party for our first dog, Choco, estimating this milestone when he turned 13.5 years old. Typically, though, our “parties” have entailed singing “Happy Birthday,” giving our pup a chew stick gift and sharing a few extra hugs.
Special attention for your pet: In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes our pets don’t receive extra helpings of attention. Here is one day to shower him with the love you feel but might not always have the time to show.
Time to focus on your pet’s age: As your pets grow older, it is important to consider age-related pet care needs . Moose is now a senior dog and we have made slight changes in his wellness care. In spite of his gray muzzle, in my heart, he remains the puppy we brought home nearly eight years ago for our little girl who will soon be a college freshman.
This year, we will be giving Moose extra hugs and birthday attention at home. We are also celebrating at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he and I volunteer as a Pet Partners animal therapy team. 
Along with the 30 men and women we visit weekly, I will sing “Happy Birthday” and eat a cupcake in my pup’s honor. I’ll get to share the love I feel for him with others. For both Moose and me, it doesn’t get much better than this.