Santa’s best friend comes to Selma

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Why should little kids be the only ones allowed to sit on Santa Claus’ lap? Even pets should have a chance to give the jolly fat guy their wish list, too. After all, Fido has probably been wanting a new toy or big juicy bone for months, but hasn’t had the opportunity to ask.

One group of local teens decided to solve this problem, and raise

money for the Central Alabama Animal Shelter, by creating Santa Paws.

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This jolly

pooch may not be exactly like Santa Claus, but he probably has a good idea what the little critters want this Christmas.

From now until Thursday, Santa Paws will be at the Selma Mall for dogs and cats to visit with him and have their picture taken.

The cost is only a $5 donation to the animal shelter to help keep needy creatures warm and fed until they find a good home.

The teen-agers responsible for bringing Santa Paws to Selma are involved in the federally-funded program Alabama About Face, which offers job skills training to high school students.

The students take classes focusing on career development and are required to spend 20 hours at a work site.

Carver Boynton, general manager at the mall, said she has about 20 teens helping her out by doing various administrative or community projects.

The teen-agers involved in the project said they chose to help the animal shelter as a way to do something extra special during the holidays.

Another volunteer, LaQuanba McGee, said she hopes the money they raise will help get more homeless pets adopted.

Price was the only one in the group who admitted to not being an animal lover, but said she was glad to be doing something for a good cause.

As for Santa Paws himself, also known as Roderick Calhoun, he is ready for visits from his furry friends.

Santa Paws will be inside the mall next to McRae’s Department Store from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Boynton asks that the pets be on a leash and have their owners present while the picture is taken.