By Christina Whiting
Through the blowing snow and over drifting mounds, Santa Paws made his way to the Homer Animal Shelter before Christmas. Here, he and his team of elves interacted with dogs and cats and their people, as photographs were taken amidst a chorus of barking, meowing, drooling and tail-wagging.
For a $10 suggested donation, pet owners posed with their four-legged friends or stood off to the side, calling, encouraging, snapping fingers and squeaking toys to get pets to look up toward the camera. Pooches of all sizes, ages, breeds and colors licked Santa’s face, slouched across his feet, sat on his lap and nestled up next to him.
One cat and 24 dogs came through the door at the animal shelter for this Homer Animal Friends fundraiser. Ruger, a basset hound, wore a festive red and green sweater and Rufus, a husky/German shepherd mix sported golden antlers.
Other dogs included Ella —a white husky, a mixed chihuahua named Frank, a family of jack russell terriers named Bella, Hailey and Stella, along with their Shih Tzu brother Casey. Rufus, a husky/German shepherd mix, and Zip, a Corgi, were followed by a parade of boxers, yellow Labs, rottweiler mixes and more. From dogs weighing five pounds to dogs weighing 50 pounds and more, Santa Paws posed with them all.
When the fur cleared and the drool was wiped from Santa’s suit, $288 was raised to support HAF’s community activities, including the spay/neuter program, education, Homer Dog Trainers and assisting the animal shelter.
“HAF fosters responsible pet ownership, educates families to ensure that pets and their companions live in harmony, supports homeless pets at the animal shelter and provide assistance with emergency veterinary expenses,” said Janet Higley. “HAF provides additional funds to the animal shelter for special food, blankets, toys and vet care; items that provide for the animal’s comfort, security and health and that cannot be provided through the city budget.”
The last time Santa Paws was in Homer was in 2005.
“HAF wanted to provide families with an opportunity to focus on the entire family unit, including their animal companion,” said board member Denise Hansen. .
Jaime Gable brought her four-year old German shepherd, husky, Rhodesian ridgeback mix to see Santa Paws. Rufus wore a set of golden antlers and alternately sat at Santa’s feet and lay across them.
“I adopted Rufus from the shelter when he was just six months old,” Gable said. “I saw him at the shelter, but passed him by because — although he was only six months old — he was full grown, and I was pretty set on adopting a puppy.”
Gable said when she returned to the shelter three weeks later, Rufus was still there.
“So I decided to take him for a walk, and once we got outside, I saw that he was extremely well-mannered,” Gable explained. “He sat for me, shook my hand and stole my heart right then and there. I came out to Santa Paws because I want to send a picture of him to my mom for Christmas. She has a dog of her own that she dresses up, takes holiday pictures with and makes into cards that she sends to me. I give her a hard time about it, and thought it would be funny to do the same with Rufus this year. We had a great time with Santa Paws.”
Contact Homer Animal Friends at www.HomerAnimals.com, HomerAnimals@gmail.com or 235-SPAY (7729). Memberships and donations can also be mailed to Box 2300 Homer, Alaska 99603.
Comments are closed