With the countdown to Christmas in the single digits, Santa made a special stop at Calgary’s CORE Shopping Centre on Sunday.
Four-legged furballs posed with Saint Nick to support the Magic of Christmas charity and raise awareness about animal testing with the Body Shop’s Forever Against Animal Testing campaign.
“We want to pass the message to all pet lovers to band against animal testing,” said Marcelo Munoz, a manager at the Body Shop.
The Body Shop’s campaign has reached more than eight million signatures on its petition. The company said the petition has made its way to the United Nations, but Canada still needs to pass legislation to ban animal testing.
Paulinda, who did not provide her last name, thought it was a great photo op for her pooch.
“Normally, it’s only kids with Santa, but she’s our fur baby,” she said.
“I think, overall, she likes Santa — it was her first time meeting him, but she seemed pretty excited.”
In addition to the cute photos, it was a chance to be part of cosmetic awareness.
“We’re really against animal testing so we thought this would be a great opportunity to come out here and show our support and also sign the petition,” she said.
Santa Claus was pumped to participate in a new kind of Christmas magic.
“It’s just fun to see all the excitement on the owners’ faces when they bring their dog, and for the most part, the dogs are really excited, too,” he said. “It’s just really elevating.”
Kris Kringle called the experience amazing.
“The kids, from infants to 96-year-old people, are just so excited to be here,” Santa said. “They get the opportunity to touch that really iconic magic that being with Santa is all about. They just sparkle.”
The jolly father of Christmas was relieved there weren’t any creepy crawlers that came out for portraits.
“It’s just been dogs so far,” he said. “Glad there aren’t any snakes or tarantulas or those sorts of things. Don’t know that I’d be happy with that.”