Pictures with Santa benefit pet adoption programs

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Patty Tustin of Mays Landing helps her greyhound Lana with her hat before posing with Santa. Patty Tustin of Mays Landing helps her greyhound Lana with her hat before posing with Santa.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Owners will have a final chance to have their pet’s picture taken with Santa Claus when PetSmart hosts its third and last Santa Paws event of the season 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16.

Portrait packages cost $9.95 to $10.95 with the store’s Pet Perks card and include a 5-by- 7 print in a holiday frame, along with a number of coupons.

The event is run through PetSmart Charities, and $5 from each photo package purchased goes to a sponsoring pet adoption program.

The sponsor Sunday, Dec. 9 was Alley Cat Allies, which shares an adoption center in PetSmart with the Humane Society of Atlantic County.

Amanda Casazza, program manager for Alley Cat Allies’ Atlantic City community programs and support, said the Santa Paws program has been well-received.

“People are coming in,” she said. “It was pretty well-attended last week too.”

Alley Cat Allies has about 30 volunteers in the area.

On Sunday, they filled the roles of Santa Claus and photographer. Other jobs included the clerical work, printing pictures, holding signs in PetSmart’s doorway, and making noises and faces to get the animals to look up for the pictures.

“Usually the pet is alone with Santa,” Casazza said, although sometimes the owner will want to get in the picture.”

It’s all allowed, she said.

“Usually if they bring kids, the kids will get into the picture,” Casazza said. “Sometimes they get a picture with just the kids. They avoid the long line at the mall. I think it’s cheaper too. And they get a free frame.”

Patty Tustin of Mays Landing had her dog, Lana, pose with Santa. The dog wore a stocking cap that Tustin brought along for the occasion.

“Lana is a retired racing greyhound,” Tustin said. “Now she’s a trained therapy dog. She goes into the nursing homes.”

The first two dogs to have their photo taken Sunday were a Yorkie and a Shorkie.

The 3 1/2-pound Yorkie, Namin, was brought in by Arnel and Norman Dennis of Pleasantville.

“He’s very into it,” Arnel Dennis said, showing the pooch his picture.

Scochi the Shorkie is a combination Shih tzu and Yorkie weighing 9 pounds. Rich Trantham of Mays Landing said he and his wife bought the dog from a home breeder in Lancaster, Pa.

Pamela Ward was photographer for a day.

“This year we’ve only had dogs,” she said. “Quite often cats have their pictures taken. I took one with a ferret last year. And one time Santa posed with a lizard.”

Santa holds Yorkie Namin, pet pooch of Arnel and Norman Dennis of Pleasantville. Santa holds Yorkie Namin, pet pooch of Arnel and Norman Dennis of Pleasantville.

Arnel and Norman Dennis of Pleasantville show Yorkie Namin his picture with Santa. Arnel and Norman Dennis of Pleasantville show Yorkie Namin his picture with Santa.

Shorkie Scochi sits with Santa after being brought in by “dad” Rich Trantham of Mays Landing. Shorkie Scochi sits with Santa after being brought in by “dad” Rich Trantham of Mays Landing.

PetSmart has a variety of Christmastime headgear for pets to wear for pictures with Santa. PetSmart has a variety of Christmastime headgear for pets to wear for pictures with Santa.

Pamela Ward of Little Egg Harbor takes a picture while Janet Romano of Egg Harbor Township, left, and Lorraine Hamid of Galloway use noisemakers to get the pet’s attention. Pamela Ward of Little Egg Harbor takes a picture while Janet Romano of Egg Harbor Township, left, and Lorraine Hamid of Galloway use noisemakers to get the pet’s attention.


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