By Polly Keary, Editor
Santa is not just for kids anymore.
At Sams’ Cats and Dogs, Naturally in Monroe, pets get a chance to get a picture with the big guy, too.
For the ninth year in a row, owner Sam Wirsching will play “Samta Claws” at the store Dec. 7 and 8, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pet owners can bring their four-legged friends to Sam’s for a photo with Samta, where a professional photographer will take a photo of the pet and Samta, or Samta and the whole family. For $20, you can get a CD with all the images from the photo shoot, or you can get a picture printed right there for $20. For $35, you can get a package of both.
Wirsching actually has experience playing Jolly Saint Nick since before he owned the store. He has been a Santa at Frank Wagner Elementary, and before that, he even did turn as a mall Santa.
“I was Santa 15 years ago at Northgate Mall,” he said. “That was the best experience. People from an adult home came in, and I got to wish a Merry Christmas to a lady who was in a bed that moved around because she couldn’t be in a wheelchair.”
In fact, he said, he doesn’t limit visits with Samta to people with pets. He’s happy to get visits from people without pets, too. One person he really enjoys seeing is a young disabled man who visits with his family every year.
“They had a traumatic experience with a Santa somewhere else, but they’ve made this a part of their family’s photos the last four years,” he said. “He sleeps with the picture by his bed. So the pictures are for everybody.”
There’s also a mini horse and a donkey to visit.
To participate, Wirsching asks a donation of canned food for the food bank. Pet food donations are very welcome, as well.
And everyone who comes in for a photo will also get a goodie bag of pet items that is worth about $30, said Wirsching.
Each year, Sam’s gets visits from about 50 groups with pets. Because of demand, it’s best to make an appointment, although they will try to fit in walk-ins.
To make an appointment, call Sam’s Cats and Dogs, Naturally at (360) 805-5060.