I love this time of year, when everything around us is festive, and people tend to be friendly and cheerful. I also enjoy all the special events taking place everywhere.
One such affair was the annual Pet Valu pet photos with Santa. It is my 9th year participating in their event. This year, all the proceeds, more than $600, are going to Operation Scugog, which administers the food bank for the needy.
The event, as always, was fantastic. Scott Riley and his Pet Valu team welcomed more than 35 pets, and Santa was his jolly old self. Everyone was respectful of social distancing protocols, and all were in good Christmas merriment.
We saw puppies and kitties, and at one point, the old guy had three Chihuahua’s on his lap. The challenge came when a 200+ lb. black Newfoundland dog wanted to sit on his lap. However, he soon realized the floor would be more comfortable for Santa.
The Golden Retrievers seemed to outnumber other breeds and were all well behaved. ‘Bear’, a cross between a Poodle and Newfoundland, was a unique breed, but all the pets were great and so much fun to have in the store.
As I men-tioned above, this is the 9th year Pet Valu has done this, and each year, we seem to have more pets and certainly more donations. Photographing these animals can be a challenge, but with help from their owners, it always goes smoothly. Maybe that is because the furry friends know they get a treat at the end. Santa wanted to bring his reindeer into the store next year for a group photo, but we will have to work on that.
Everyone was very generous with their donations, and, as Santa said, “The people of Scugog are extremely generous in helping the less fortunate.”
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube.