One of Santa’s many trips this weekend was to Portsmouth Feed and Supply, where he, yet again, volunteered his time to take pictures with local pets.
Pet Photos with Santa is in its ninth year, and is organized by Phyllis and John Rice, of Portsmouth Feed and Supply.
The proceeds benefit the Animal Welfare League of Scioto County.
Phyllis Rice started the event nine years ago, as a method of supporting the Animal Welfare League. She has dedicated herself to the practice, going as far as taking several photography courses at Shawnee State University, and even purchased a professional camera.
“I just didn’t want people to feel like they were coming down to get photos and leave with only a simple snapshot,” Rice explained. “I took two years of classes at Shawnee, because I want the photos to be great quality.”
During the photo sessions, Rice moved in and out, used various forms of lighting, and took many, many photos to ensure the caretakers left with the perfect photograph. Rice said it is a lot of work, but she thinks it is fun and loves the cause.
“I do this for the Animal Welfare League, because of my love for animals,” Rice said. “The group does so much good for the community and I want to give back.”
When volunteers of the Animal Welfare League arrived at the store on Saturday morning, they said there were already two caretakers with pets waiting to get pictures taken. The numbers only grew as the day progressed.
“It is fun to see all the different dogs. Some of the pets even have sweaters on,”Jackie Servidea, secretary of the Scioto County Animal Welfare League, said. “It is also nice to see so many people come together to help the pets.”
Servidea said that the fundraiser is a major support for the Animal Welfare League and that she is appreciative of the Rice Family.
“We always do well, with growth each year,” Servidea said. “We usually get around 40 households and some families even bring more than one pet, which leads to some interesting photos. We are happy to be able to do this.”
Servidea said that the work accomplished by the Animal Welfare League of Scioto County ranges from vaccinations to spay and neuters, and they even offer pet food pantries.
Of the many guests on Saturday, one was Second Street businesswoman Sharon Bender, of Ghosts in the Attic.
Bender brought a new pet this year, one that she had rescued since last Christmas.
She is a repeat customer, however, saying that she loves everything about Pet Photos with Santa.
“I just want to support the efforts of helping animals. There are so many animals out there that need help and care. There are also many people who need help caring for their pets and the Animal Welfare League offers them great services. Plus, the photos always turn out wonderfully. I’ve had two photos taken before and today was my third visit.”
Santa said that he met with many pets and had a great time, as well.
“I always love helping Jackie Servidea, Judy Cooper, Phyllis Rice, and all of the volunteers of the Animal Welfare League of Scioto County, because these wonderful people always make the nice list each year,” Santa said. “It is always fun, playing with the pets, too. Well, until I get back to my sleigh and the reindeer smell the pets on me and get jealous.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.
Someone stealing kisses from Santa