Fayette County

Lexington pets excited to see Santa

Ben Brown, dressed up as Santa, tried to coax Shawn Leonard's Chihuahua, Cayenne, to visit with him Sunday during the Bluegrass Animal Welfare League's photo shoot at Hunter Presbyterian Church in Lexington. Two more pet sessions with Santa are scheduled (see box below).
Ben Brown, dressed up as Santa, tried to coax Shawn Leonard's Chihuahua, Cayenne, to visit with him Sunday during the Bluegrass Animal Welfare League's photo shoot at Hunter Presbyterian Church in Lexington. Two more pet sessions with Santa are scheduled (see box below).

Dogs were excited Sunday to pose for photos with Santa Claus as part of a Lexington fund-raiser for the Bluegrass Animal Welfare League.

They were so excited that volunteers kept handy a spray bottle of cleaner and some paper towels.

"Don't worry, he's just doing what comes naturally," one volunteer assured Donna Brown of Nicholasville and her 4-year-old Yorkie, Mr. Mack, as she wiped a small puddle off the floor.

The non-profit Bluegrass Animal Welfare League assists pet owners with the cost of spaying and neutering and teaches schoolchildren how to care for animals responsibly.

"We know there's a definite need for spay and neuter because there are too many homeless pets, too many unwanted dogs and cats," said Phyllis Bieber, the group's treasurer.

Only a handful of customers came Sunday. Santa — also known as Ben Brown, a Versailles music teacher and musician — said he mostly had had small dogs in his lap. Nobody has soiled his outfit yet, but the pups were anxious, he said.

"They take it badly," he said. "New environment. Big guy in a strange costume. They're not into the whole Santa legend, apparently."

Donna Brown, no relation to Ben, smiled as she accepted her freshly developed photos of Mr. Mack with Santa. Mr. Mack ran around her legs, wrapping them in his leash.

"This will go up on my Facebook page," she said. "I'll probably also send it to my friends so they can make fun of me for doing this."

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