By Cecilia Nasmith
You may not have a therapy dog of your own, but you can support the good work they do by enjoying the Santa Claus For Paws fundraiser Nov. 24.
St. John Ambulance is hosting the event at their D'Arcy Street station in Cobourg from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Santa fans of all ages are welcome – including the four-legged kind, because there will be lots of attractions for them to enjoy too. Couture Grooming and Wellness Spa, for example, will be on hand to offer free nail clipping. And PetValu will be in attendance to offer samples and goodie bags. Animal communicator and psychic medium Deb Stanton will offer short sessions to communicate with loved ones (two-legged or four-legged) who have passed away.
Vendors will have unique gifts to offer, most of which are pet-related. You can have a pet's-paw or child's-hand or -footprint made into a shadowbox frame or Christmas ornament, or have a piece of jewelry made from someone's fingerprint.
Check out the bake sale while you enjoy free coffee or hot chocolate, and take a look at the silent-auction items donated by local merchants.
It's a great opportunity for photos as well, as a professional photographer will be on hand to provide you with a digital file for a donation ($10 is suggested).
You can have the whole family shot with or without Santa, with or without your pet, or whatever.
You can have your pet's photo taken and transferred on to a T-shirt or other item on the spot. And your digital download can be cropped, e-mailed, used in Christmas cards, shared on social media or printed to share with friends and family.
And just in case you experience an inspiration to pick up a pet of your own, Northumberland Humane Society will bring along some pets who are looking for families of their own.
St. John Ambulance is a nonprofit charitable organization with various programs that benefit the local community in many ways, including the Therapy Dog program for which the event is being held.
St. John Ambulance has had a Therapy Dog program in the local community since the late 1990s. This year has seen 37 dog-and-handler teams visiting 33 facilities - regional hospitals, nursing homes, long-term-care facilities, seniors' residents, hospices and the Warkworth Institution.
There are also teams that work with children at local schools and libraries in the Paws For Stories program and Bite-Free presentations. They also visit with challenged adults and children.
These visits raise spirits, build friendships to battle depression and isolation, and help vulnerable individuals maintain communication and social skills.
You can help support this work by enjoying a fun day with the whole family Nov. 24 at the St. John Ambulance station in Building 19, 700 D'Arcy St., Cobourg.