Pet photos with Santa raise money for mission trip
Ralph Anderton loves dogs. But playing the role of Santa Claus at Wagg’n Tails Day Spa requires an additional level of love and patience.
On Saturday, he donned a pair swimming trunks with the classic Santa coat, beard and hat to play the role of Surfin’ Santa during the first of two days set aside to raise money for the Basehor United Methodist Youth Group.
Pet owners and families came to Wagg’n Tails, 15630 Pinehurst Drive, on Saturday to take pictures with him for the fundraiser. Pictures were $6, or $5 with a canned food donation for Basehor-Linwood Assistance Services.
The money raised will help fund the Basehor United Methodist Youth Group’s mission trip to Joplin in July 2014. The youth will spend a week helping the city devastated by a tornado in 2011 and still in the beginning stages of recovery.
“We will go down there and stay a week, work on construction projects and do several ministries,” said Elissa Freemire, the photographer at the Santa event and member of the youth group.
Freemire, a junior at Basehor-Linwood High School, snapped away with her camera, trying to get each dog’s attention, as they either sat on Santa’s lap or on a beach towel next to him. The Beach Boys blared on a radio behind the Christmas tree.
“Since we have sort of a Caribbean theme, we thought we’d try something new this year,” said Amber Anderton, Ralph’s daughter and owner of Wagg’n Tails. “We were nervous but the response has been great.”
For the past several years, Wagg’n Tails has offered photo opportunities with Santa and has collected canned goods for BLAS. But when Amber Anderton found out about this year’s youth group mission, she offered to help raise money for them.
“Joplin has our hearts,” said Amber Anderton. “So when we heard they were doing that mission trip, we wanted to help.”
The youth group has more than 50 members ranging from junior high to high school students. About 15 members of the group will make the trip to Joplin. The group goes on annual mission trips, the last two of which have been to Kansas City, Mo., and Oklahoma.
Emma Workman, 11, and her mother purchased a photo of their dog Miley sitting with Santa on Saturday. Workman said she was going to put Miley’s picture near her Christmas tree and planned on getting Miley a tutu for Christmas. Workman laughed as she held Miley, saying how nervous the dog was to be with Santa.
“She was shaking,” Workman said.
Another dog, Ruby, a Cocker Spaniel, piddled a small puddle after being overcome with nerves on Santa’s lap.
When asked what it takes to have an animal stay calm and look at the camera, Anderton said, “Luck.”
Photos with traditional Santa can be taken at Wagg’n Tails from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 21.