There's no doubt Santa loves his pets — those mystical, magical, antlered creatures that help him bring gifts to good little children every Christmas Eve.
But many other animals don't have it so good.
Area shelters are working overtime this year to find good homes for the pets in their care for the holidays, but they need more volunteers and supplies to make it through the holiday season and the new year.
They depend on holiday fund-raisers for a significant portion of their annual budgets and many offer great gifts for the pets or pet lovers on your shopping list.
Here's a list of area shelters and ways you can bring some joy to the lives of the pets in their care. While shelters urge people not to adopt pets on impulse during the holidays, the pets featured on the tree--and hundreds more-- are also available for adoption.
Lexington Humane Society
1600 Old Frankfort Pike, Lexington
Charity events: Visit the Holiday Boutique and shop the array of toys, apparel, and items of pet lovers. The boutique will be open through the end of December, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturdays; from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays; and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Coupons are available on the Web site.
Also, attend Art Unleashed, an art sale with animal-related art by various artists, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 12.
Supplies needed: Towels, non-clumping clay cat litter, dog treats without dyes, powdered laundry detergent, bleach, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, paper towels, toys, pine bedding for small animals. Donations can be dropped off from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday or 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
To volunteer: Volunteers are needed to help with grounds maintenance, washing windows, folding laundry, cleaning crates and cages, sweeping and mopping, light desk work, walking animals, fostering pets awaiting adoption, staffing community events and painting. Volunteers must be at least 14 and must attend a two-part volunteer orientation. Contact Whitney Wilgus at email@example.com.
Bluegrass Animal Welfare League
Charity events: The annual Pet Pictures with Santa event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 13 and from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 in the former Comp USA store at Lexington Green. Cost is $6 for one digital picture, $10 for two. Proceeds benefit the low-cost spay and neuter program.
Paris Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
6 Legion Road, Paris
How to help: Buy a 2009 planner, available at the shelter and at Bourbon County vet offices. Cost is $6. Also, T-shirts for adults are available at the shelter for $15.
To volunteer: Volunteers are needed to transport animals, assist with portable adoptions, help provide foster care and help with grounds maintenance.
Woodford Humane Society
265 Thomas Lane, Versailles
Charity events: Pet Photos with Santa, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at PetsMart, 1945 Pavilion Way, Hamburg Pavilion, Lexington. Cost is $15.
Also, attend Benefit Day, Dec. 21 at Caddyshack's, 3650 Boston Road, Lexington. Ten percent of all food purchases that day are donated to WHS and donations of non-clumping kitty litter and other supplies will be collected.
The shelter will also sell 2009 calendars, available at Joseph-Beth Booksellers and Incredipet for $19.95.
The shelter's Matching Gift and Endowment Fund will also match up to $45,000 for donations of at least $100 received by Dec. 31.
Supplies needed: treats and toys for dogs and cats, pet carriers, cat hammocks, nail trimmers, towels, detergent, bleach, collars and leashes, paper towels, stainless steel food bowls, non-clumping kitty litter, postage stamps, paper clips, Sharpie markers, gasoline cards, and blue, red and green hanging and file folders.
Stepping Stone German Shepherd Rescue
How to help: The Web site features a number of gift items, including portraits and apparel. Proceeds go to care for the Bernese Mountain Dogs in the group's care.
Kentucky Equine Humane Center
1713 Catnip Hill Rd.
How to help: Participate in the center's Pay for a Day of Hay program and pay $210 to provide the hay for one of the horses, donkeys and mules in the center's care.
Supplies needed: Hay, bedding.
Jessamine County Humane Society for Homeless Animals
400½ Park Drive
Supplies needed: Bleach, canned kitten food, veterinary costs, Pine-Sol, canned puppy food, gift cards for pet food, towels, kitty litter, blankets, rubber toys for dogs, paper towels, toys for kittens, collars for dogs.
The Haven for Dogs
P.O. Box 22505
How to help: The agency needs more foster homes for puppies and dogs. Training is provided.