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Photos with Santa a year-round gift for pets

Out of My Head

Posted: December 5, 2008 9:23 p.m.
Updated: December 6, 2008 4:55 a.m.
Each year around this time I devote a column to the Santa Clarita Chapter of Pet Assistance Foundation. I do it because I love dogs (and other pets), and I wholly support the good work that Pet Assistance does, including its seasonal tradition of more than 15 years, Pet Photos with Santa. I hope that you'll embrace that cause as well.

If you would like to help support a nonprofit group comprised of caring humans who love animals and strive to curb pet overpopulation (and "euthanasia" deaths), here's how: This weekend or next, take your dog, cat, bunny, gerbil, iguana, snake or other portable, non-venomous creature to local participating pet shops where they can be photographed with the jolly Mr. Claus (AKA Pet Assistance volunteer Allan Cameron).

For a small fee, you'll receive outstanding custom photos of your family pets. (Humans allowed, too).

What Pet Assistance gets from this is the ability to help capture those special moments while raising funds for its pet-helping charity.

"The very highest quality, state-of-the-art digital photos of your animals, family members, or any imaginable combination will be available, starting at only $10," Cameron said, noting that multiple digital photo shots will be taken, and patrons can instantly look at the photos and make their choices.

As well, they will pay for only the ones they want.

A local development consultant who has devoted years of time and energy to Pet Assistance, Cameron adds that photo sets of all sizes and quantities will be available, including Christmas cards, coffee mugs and more.

He also stated that "100 percent of photo proceeds go to animal welfare right here in this community as Santa Clarita Pet Assistance is run completely by local volunteers with no paid staff whatsoever."

Indeed, this photographic pre-holiday event benefits local animal welfare by enabling Pet Assistance to offer what it's been highly effective at since 1955: helping Southern Californians by providing low-cost pet sterilization, humane pet care education, and other services.

It's truly critical work they do - trying to halt a pet Holocaust.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that six million to eight million dogs and cats wind up in shelters each year across the country.

About half of that number are adopted out or reclaimed by their owners. But the other half - many of them perfectly healthy and sweet animals - do not fare as well.

They're killed off as "surplus" pets. (Note: "euthanized" translates to "good death," but to me there's nothing good or sensible about beautiful and loving animals being destroyed because humans were careless about animal birth control matters, or were neglectful or abusive toward their pets.)

This subject is an especially sensitive topic to me now. A lifelong Chihuahua lover and "Chi mother," I have learned that a glut of discarded and neglected Chihuahuas is currently available through animal shelters and rescue organizations.

The wee pooches, made "chicly desirable" by starlets Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and the recent movie "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," are no longer wanted.

Seems the dogs' fashion-accessory-conscious (but uncommitted) owners found out once the initial fun wore off the pets, like babies, need attention, training, and (ew .... ) hygiene assistance.

Well, DUH!!

These Chihuahuas comprise a small number of those cast aside, however.

Each year in Southern California alone, some 300,000 dogs and cats are "dying to find a home."

Let's help put an end to this heartbreaking and inhumane madness.

Allan Cameron rightly reminds us that the Pet Assistance's annual event is an excellent chance to remember one's own precious animals and at the same time provide for animal welfare right here in our community.

So what do you say? Are you willing to start "altering" the future?

If so, and you'd like to help stop pet overpopulation while saving little lives AND creating precious photographic memories with your own critters, then please consider supporting Pet Photos with Santa.

It's a holiday treat that keeps on giving in many vital ways.
Diana Sevanian is a Santa Clarita resident and freelance writer. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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