The gray, cold, foggy day did not stop doting pet parents from taking their beloved pets to Jacob Myers Park for a photo session with Santa and Mrs. Claus this past Saturday, Dec. 4. This was the first of its kind event brought to pet parents everywhere from the City of Riverbank’s Parks and Recreation Department. There was no cost to get pooches pictures with Santa.
Recreation Supervisor Tony Lemonds remarked that this is the first year they have hosted this type of event. He came up with the idea and they are very pleased with the participation and feedback.
Some parents make it an annual tradition to take their kids to meet Santa and capture that moment after waiting in long lines. There were no long lines at the dog park where pet parents strolled down the path and were greeted by smiling faces during the one hour photo session. The stage was set at the Dog Park with jolly ol’ Saint Nick sitting in his grand chair with Mrs. Claus by his side waiting for furry four legged friends to grace his presence. The woodsy area at Jacob Myers Park was a great back drop for photos.
There were small dogs, medium size dogs, and a few big dogs that made their way to the photo shoot with about 15 dogs total. That included some that were not very pleased to meet Santa Claus and struggled to pose, but Santa and Mrs. Claus were very patient and tried to help calm the canines down to get the best shot.
“Mr. and Mrs. Claus enjoyed their time with the pooches and are always looking for fun ways like this one, to share the holiday spirit,” said Lemonds. “We are looking forward to creating different types of events for the Riverbank community and this is just a sample of what we are working on.”
Cynthia’s Cupcakes had a table set up with homemade baked treats for pets like doggie doughnuts and cupcakes made with healthy ingredients. She also does baked goods for humans.
Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance (OSPA) Board Member Debi Scoles endured the cold this past Saturday with a smile as she greeted pets and people. She had a table set up where they accepted donations to help homeless pets in Riverbank and Oakdale. They also had some information on hand along with candy canes for pet parents. For those that donated $25 they received a free T-shirt as a thank you.
Local resident John Pimentel had his faithful Chihuahua Charlieboy in a festive red sweater for his photo shoot with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Although Charlieboy was not entirely ready for his photo session his owner joined in the picture. Understandably a bit skittish as the three-year-old was rescued by Pimentel after Charlieboy was shot in the head and left for dead in Lathrop. When Pimentel was under the weather this past year Charlieboy stayed by his side the entire time, growing their connection. Pimentel adopted him in June 2020 from the animal shelter and today they are the best of friends. These days they are both in a better place and Charlieboy has his own Tik Tok @209charlieboy.
The City plans on hosting the Pooch and Santa pictures next year and making it a little bigger with more vendors and a photographer to offer low cost pictures to participants.