Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

November 26, 2013

Santa Paws takes holiday photos with local pets

OTTUMWA — Meeting Santa Claus isn’t exciting (or frightening) just for children. Even dogs, cats and other animals get to enjoy sitting on Santa’s lap in Ottumwa.

This year was approximately the 10th year that the Heartland Humane Society of Ottumwa gave pet owners and parents the opportunity to take pictures of their pets and children with Santa at their annual Santa Paws.

Every year so far the humane society has held this event at Earl May Nursery on the far north side of town. Workers at the nursery provide them with a wintery backdrop, and Santa sits on a bench with dog treats and candy canes at the ready.

Although most people bring their dogs or cats to get pictures taken, sometimes the humane society gets surprised and a not-so-normal pet comes to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

“We get a variety of pets,” said Serena Burton, vice president and treasurer of the Heartland Humane Society. “We used to have an iguana that came every year. Occasionally we get an exotic pet.”

The humane society is still seeing great success with Santa Paws, which is one of the many fundraisers they do throughout the year. Last year, more than 80 pictures were taken with Santa, which is about how many they normally get, according to Burton.

Each of the 5-inch by 7-inch photos cost $10, with all of the proceeds going toward the humane society. The pictures will be processed over the next few weeks and should be available for pickup at the photo shop in downtown Ottumwa around Dec. 22.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh

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