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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Santa photo a big leap for jumpy ones

Michael Peters, 7, sits with his scared black Lab Jacqueline while his other dog, Murray, has his photo taken with Santa at Petsmart on Newport Highway Saturday morning. The original plan was to have Murray and Jacqueline in the same photo, but Jacqueline wasn't ready to be in the spotlight. 
 (Holly Pickett / The Spokesman-Review)

Gunnar isn’t normally allowed to get on people’s laps. So when his masters tried to get him to jump on the lap of a crazy-looking man in a red suit, he wasn’t buying it.

Gunnar, still a puppy, was one of more than 50 pets who got his picture taken Saturday with “Santa Claws” at Petsmart, 9950 N. Newport Highway.

After Gunnar was lifted onto Santa’s lap, Santa (Mel Quincy) slipped him a small bone to help calm him.

“They start eating out of your hand, they get to know you a little bit,” said Quincy, who kept a small stash of bones under his leg. “I’ve never had one growl or bite at me or anything. I get licked in the face, kisses, stuff like that.”

After Gunnar’s glamour shoot, Blaine Williams got two Polaroid pictures of his pet for $9.95.

“They’re going on top of the entertainment center along with the pictures of the kids,” Williams said. “He is one of the kids.”

Each year Petsmart sponsors pets with Santa picture shoots as a way to raise money for local animal shelters and rescue groups.

Half the revenue generated Saturday went to Spokane Basset Rescue, a nonprofit Spokane County organization that places 80 to 100 dogs in area homes each year, said Pat Benstine, who started the group.

Saturday’s parade of pets included about five cats and a cockatiel; the rest were canines. Although dogs can be extra excited and jumpy, Quincy said that cats are harder to pose, especially when dogs are around.

“Cats are looking at all the dogs,” Quincy said. “They wouldn’t pay any attention to us.”

Hurricane, a 2-year-old Dalmatian mix, was calm for her pose. But no matter how many squeaky toys were squeezed or kissy noises were made, Hurricane wouldn’t make the face his owners wanted.

“We were trying to get her ears to poke up,” explained Ryan Acosta, 16.

Today will be the last day to get a pet picture with Santa. Pictures will be taken from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Profits today will benefit SpokAnimal C.A.R.E.