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Lending a Helping Paw

Santa Paws helps raise money for local charity.


Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 11:01

Santa Paw

Photos by J. Christoffersen/ The Gateway

While people may stop believing in Santa Claus at a certain age, it doesn’t mean their pets have to. On Dec. 8, MaverickPR, University of Nebraska at Omaha’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), sponsored its eighth annual “Santa Paws” event at the Bookworm bookstore in Countryside Village.

Santa Paws allows pet owners to bring their pets to their own canine Christmas celebration. The event let pets get their pictures taken and printed with Santa from noon to 3 p.m. for $15.

 To spark even more holiday cheer, cookies for humans and treats and toys for pets were handed out by Santa’s Little Elves--volunteer UNO students. Students got involved by helping plan and promote the event and by dressing up as elves.

“Each volunteer has different responsibilities during the planning and day of event,” said Angela Eastep, service director for MaverickPR. “Someone might be in charge of securing donations or putting up fliers, and then the day of the event, there are individuals responsible for decorating, taking the photos and creating a festive atmosphere.”

 Each year, MaverickPR has donated proceeds from Santa Paws to different animal shelters or rescue groups in the Omaha area. This year, the money raised from the event will go to the Hearts United for Animals. The Santa Paws event will hopefully surpass last year’s successful Santa Paws event, which raised approximately $400 and had around 25 pet photos taken. Since Santa Paws is MaverickPR’s only fundraiser for Hearts United throughout the year, it was an exciting event.

 While Santa Paws helps give pets and their owners Christmas cheer, Hearts United for Animals takes care of animals throughout the entire year. The organization is funded only by donations and consists of a completely volunteer staff. Hearts United is a national no-kill shelter dedicated to the prevention of animal suffering. The shelter rescues dogs from all over the country and gives them food and medical care.

Santa Paws, like other events, could not have been done successfully without the volunteers, Eastep said.

“It definitely takes a strong group of dedicated volunteers to make this and other events successful.”

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