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Photos for a furry cause

Posted: December 6, 2008 8:57 p.m.
Updated: December 7, 2008 4:59 a.m.

Santa and Bella meet each other before being photographed for the Pet Photos with Santa Saturday afternoon at the Pet Stop store in Canyon Country.

 
Kiwi the Parrot's talons clasped Santa's furry red hat, which was festively complemented by the bird's emerald feathers.

Kiwi didn't exactly flash a smile, but a straight-forward look at the camera with his bright yellow beak provided a perfect snapshot for the photographer.

The colorful parrot was one of many pets who had their pictures taken with Santa at the Canyon Country Pet Stop on Saturday to benefit the Pet Assistance Foundation.

Although pet owners Carole Mumford and John Hardin had their choice of pet-with-Santa photo venues,
they chose Pet Stop because of the Foundation's mission.

"I'm happy to know the money is going to Pet Assistance," Mumford said as she tamed Max, her Pekinese mix adorned with an elf outfit. It was Max's first Santa photo with Mickey and Belle, the brother-and-sister shelties Mumford and Hardin adopted in March. "The (Foundation) helps a most crucial (animal) problem and that's pet overpopulation," Mumford said. "That's what's causing animal homelessness. It's simple:
People should spay and neuter their pets, and if people did, there wouldn't be so much homelessness."

Pet Assistance aims to educate and assist people in getting cats and dogs spayed and neutered, said Charmaine Posten, chairperson of the Foundation's Santa Clarita branch. Since 1955, the Foundation has referred concerned pet owners to cooperating Southern California veterinarians who offer low-cost sterilization, according to the Foundation's Web site.

All money raised from the purchased pet photo packages went directly to the Foundation's Santa Clarita division. Packages ranged from $10 to $70.

Only a half hour into the event, boxers, a short-haired tabby, shelties, Boston terriers, Kiwi the Parrot and more pets stood in line with their humans. Most animals remained calm while nestled next to Santa or in his lap, but it did take a few minutes for Bailey the Boxer to warm up to Santa.

"He gets excited because he likes being around other dogs," Amanda Owens said. "He wanted to go out and play."

But once Bailey simmered down, his firm body-frame paired with a soft, innocent stare and one paw hanging over Santa's leg, provided an unforgettable pose.

Foundation volunteer Allan Cameron of Canyon Country spent the day holding and cuddling the animals in his Santa costume.

"Being an animal nut myself, it's great to see how much people love their animals and how much the animals love their families," he said.

The Pet Assistance Foundation will host a second "Pet Photos with Santa" opportunity from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday at Pet Supply, located at 26831 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus. Call (661) 260-3140.

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