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Holiday Pet Portraits to Bring Cheer, Support Centre County PAWS

by on December 04, 2014 1:44 PM

The family portrait is a classic holiday tradition.

Whether the family is gathered around the Christmas tree, posing in front of the fireplace or out at a photography studio, the annual holiday photo can serve a reminder of all the love a family has shared over the past year.

The staff at Centre County PAWS knows this, and they also know that sometimes family members comes with claws and four legs.

This Thursday, the State College animal shelter is continuing its annual holiday tradition of offering holiday photos for pet parents and their favorite furry family members.

“It can get a little crazy when you have 30 people waiting for photos with a multitude of dogs and cats,” PAWS marketing director Christine Faust says with a laugh. “But whenever we get to do something like this, it’s so much fun.”

Faust says one of her favorite parts of the event is seeing the “happy endings” that have come out of adoptions from the shelter. Many people who have their photos taken with their pets adopted from PAWS, giving the shelter workers and volunteers an opportunity to catch up with some their old four-legged friends 

For a dontation of $20, pets can pose with their families or with Santa (or both), and there are fun props like pet antlers to give the photos some festive cheer, Faust says. No appointment is needed, and all proceeds help ensure that PAWS can provide care for its animals. The event will run from 4 to 7 p.m. at the PAWS shelter at 1401 Trout Road in State College.

“We are very fortunate that some places in the area will donate vet services or give us a discount, but at the end of the day we still spend more than $80,000 a year on the medical needs of our animals,” Faust says.

Little fundraisers like the holiday portrait session may seem like minor events, but Faust says events like this throughout the year play a critical role in keeping PAWS afloat. This year, the portrait fundraiser is especially important because of some unexpected expenses that put them over their medical budget.

“We’ve had some animals surrendered to us in the last several months that needed extremely expensive surgeries,” Faust says. “We were caught off guard, but we have a responsibility to take care of our animals.”

She says the end of the year is always a tough time for non-profits as they approach the end of their yearly budget. With the cost of veterinary care consistently rising, Faust says that PAWS is lucky to live in a generous community. 

“We’re fortunate to have community members who help support us and recognize that PAWS is truly a needed resource in this community,” Faust says.

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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