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Pets meet Santa at photo shoot

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OGDENSBURG — Cats and dogs had a chance to sit on Santa’s lap Saturday at the St. Lawrence County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Ogdensburg, during the St. Lawrence Valley Dog Club’s second “Santa Paws” event of the year.

The club started offering an opportunity to have pets’ photos taken with Santa several years ago when members realized many people want their animals to have a place in their annual family Christmas albums.

“Pets are now considered members of the family,” club President Nichole R. Rickett said. “We saw a need for people who want to get their furry family members to have a photo with Santa.”

But most photography studios are hesitant to let four-legged friends into photo shoots. “It’s hard to get your pet into Walmart to get a photo taken,” Ms. Rickett said.

That’s where the St. Lawrence Valley Dog Club comes in.

The club held two “Santa Paws” events this year; the first was Dec. 8 at the Canton Animal Clinic. Pets could have their pictures taken alone with Santa or have family members join in.

Photos were $5 apiece or $10 for a CD containing all of the photos taken during the shoot.

The club raises several hundred dollars a year with this event. The funds support the club’s programs and other events such as obedience classes and agility competitions.

Thomas R. Questel has played Santa since the club started the event five years ago, and has no trouble convincing kids — or pooches — that he’s the real deal. “We fooled our own grandson,” said Judi M. Questel, Mr. Questel’s wife and secretary of the dog club.

Pictures of pets can be tricky, as cats and dogs may not wish to sit still.

Of course, the same can often be said of children. Just ask Santa.

“Sometimes the dogs are better behaved than the children,” Mr. Questel said.

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