Pet Photos with the Man in Red


The photography bug. Some have it, some don’t. Some say it's generational; some say it's a gift. You may have your thumb on the shutter button of your smartphone camera at the merest whisper of a photo opp, while your BFF might only think of taking a picture on the way home from meeting Sasquatch himself. But we all must admit, the holiday season is an especially important time to commemorate family moments and make them a part of the historical record, whether that's by corralling friends and relatives in front of the lens, by snapping clandestine candids, or some other method.


But should the household pet be excluded from the festivities (or from the torture, depending on your feelings about picture time)? We think not. And, given that it can be a bit of a logistical nightmare to arrange a suitable red-clad, bushy-bearded, jelly-bellied cohort to occupy half of your iPhone frame as Santa, the Phoenix has tracked down a couple of area stops that His Jolliness is making this weekend. And he carries the full expectation of making friends with your dog or cat for a top-notch Yuletide visual.


For those to the south of Portland, if you’re between Old Orchard Beach and Portsmouth on or off I-95, your best bet is the Animal Welfare Society’s Jingle & Mingle, to take place on Saturday, December 9 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the AWS facility in West Kennebunk (46 Holland Rd). Be aware that Santa photos are not going to be the only thing going on. A vortex of raffles, holiday music, stocking stuffers, and seasonal treats will attempt to draw you in. We’re not saying that’s a bad thing, but be prepared to reciprocate. There is no charge for the Santa photos, but the AWS is in need of gifts from families that are able to give. And there is a specific wish list, which includes, just from the dog and cat food part: dry and canned Purina One dog food, dry Whiskas and canned Friskies cat food, dry Iams puppy food, and dry Royal Canin 34 kitten food. But hey, considering that your donation will help homeless domestic animals, that really isn’t too much of a catch, is it?


The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland has a slightly different take on the whole thing, with their Santa-and-Pet Photo event not involving too many other extras. This is at the Maine Mall Petco (220 Maine Mall Rd, SoPo) on the same day, Saturday, December 9, between 1 and 4 p.m. You’ll need to shell out $9.95 (and maybe an Oreo; Santa’s bound to get a little peckish), but all proceeds will happily go to the direct support of the ARLGP’s own wards-of-shelter, the little meowers and woofers that want nothing more than to find a forever home this holiday season. So do a little chipping away at your shopping list and concurrently score that family-card worthy jpeg with the Monarch of the Arctic.


And just think: If a yeti runs by, both of your hands will be free!


Jingle & Mingle:


Santa at Petco:

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