Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) hosted dozens of furry friends and pet owners at its local shelter Saturday, for the annual Santa pet photos fundraiser.
The big man in red posed with dogs and cats of all kinds and distributed free treats throughout the day.
More than 70 owners signed up to get their pet photos taken at the fundraiser, but the most challenging part was to get the animals to look at the camera. However, Helene Robillard, an experienced dog walker and LAPS volunteer for more than eight years, knew the tricks.
She brought whistles, squeaky toys, treats with a strong odour, bells, clickers, and many other props to get the animals’ attention for taking a picture. Each item was strategically chosen to be used in different situations, shared Robillard.
“When you have a dog who has special needs… for example hearing or vision problems… you have to think out of the box,” explained the photographer’s assistant.
These props were either used separately or together with other props to make noise or grab attention by flashing them. Sometimes, just holding treats high up in the air so animals can smell it would do the trick, added Robillard.
“Usually it is the squeaky noises that gets their attention because [pets] think it is prey.”
For those who go crazy about treats, Robillard had a couple of options.
“We have different kinds of food… munchy treats, human food, and more, each with distinct smell and characteristics,” she added.
Some pet owners brought more than one animal for a photo with Santa.
“Four dogs and all at once trying to get a picture with Santa… that is when things get challenging,” Robillard chuckled. “But I love it… it is fun time… cuddle time with lots of fun.”
In addition to the presence of St. Nick, there were four local vendors who sold holiday crafts and donated a portion of their sales to LAPS. The society also offered free hot chocolate and s’mores and took the event as an opportunity to encourage people to adopt the dogs and cats living in the shelter.
Jennifer Schroeder, director of communications, thanked those who attended the event and donated to support the shelter.
“Thank you for everything you do and for supporting us, as well as the community,” she concluded.
Those interested in adopting a LAPS animal can do so by visiting lapsbc.ca.
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