Santa Paws photo op to benefit Coles County Animal Shelter

Cassie Buchman, Staff Reporter

Tender Touch Grooming and Doggie Daycare will be hosting an event for the Coles County Animal Shelter Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.

A lot of the dogs Tender Touch works with are rescue dogs that come from shelters, which is why they like working with shelters such as the Coles County Animal Shelter.

“We love that there’s an organization we can work with,” event coordinator Gina Helland said. “We do this because we love dogs, that’s why we teamed up with the animal shelter to do this feel good event.”

The event will give dog-owners from all around Coles County the opportunity to get a picture of their pet with Santa Claus at Tender Touch, and donate various items to the animal shelter.

Items needed can be found on fliers for the event, and include blankets, Purina cat chow, towels, leashes, harnesses and other pet supplies. One item not needed is dog food, as the shelter gets dog food donations from a manufacturer on a regular basis.

“Monetary donations might be the best so the Coles County Animal Shelter can use it however they want to,” Helland said.

Along with free pictures with Santa, there will also be free Christmas bandannas and Christmas card packages available for sale.

Helland said she loved the idea of having the dogs pose for pictures with Santa.

“We have been looking to help the Animal Shelter for years,” she said.

This is the first year the event will be in Charleston, although Helland had participated in similar events while living in Nevada.

The Christmas theme is expected to help the event’s turnout.

“It’s better to have it during holiday because we’re in a giving mood,” Helland said. “We’re giving something back to our own animal shelter, although we’d like anyone to donate anytime.”

The Santa Paws turnout is expected to be large.

“We didn’t realize it was going to be such a big event,” Helland said.

She said someone who had a similar event had more than 100 people show up to participate.

“We were afraid it was going to be too much to handle, but we’ll go to the end of the day if we have to,” Helland said. “We hope to get plenty of donations for the shelter and we hope to be successful.”

If the event is large enough, it may even have to go on for two days, but this doesn’t faze the Tender Touch Grooming and Doggie Daycare.

“Whatever it takes to support the animal shelter, we’ll do.” Helland said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]