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 that take place everywhere.
One such affair was the annual Pet Valu pet photos with Santa. It is my 9th year of participating in their event with all the proceeds (this year more than $600), going to Operation Scugog, which administers the food bank for the needy.
The event as always, was fantastic to say the least. 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 Santa had three Chihuahua’s on his lap. The challenge came when a 200+ lb. black, Newfoundland dog wanted to sit on Santa’s lap, however, he soon realized the floor would be more comfortable (for Santa as well).
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 mentioned 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 wants 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.