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Pets lap up time with Santa

December 05, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HALFWAY - With her indulgent family looking on, 6-year-old Foxy shared her secret wishes with Santa Claus.

Then she sniffed his beard.

No matter Foxy's heart's desire, she probably will find it wrapped under the Christmas tree and tied with a bow. The dog has everything.

"She was a pirate this year. She was Tinkerbell last year. We have nail polish for her ... Paris Hilton has nothing on her," said Tasha Spitzer, who listed some of the outfits in her dog's wardrobe as a stranger patted Foxy's head.

Wearing a Santa Claus outfit complete with a hat, Foxy, a teddy bear-faced Pomeranian from Maugansville, joined other dogs at Valley Mall. One python even showed up Monday to get a picture taken with Santa Claus, said Brian Kaltenbaugh, marketing director for the mall.

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"There was a Rottweiler and a Great Dane that were out here, and those things ... they're just horses," Kaltenbaugh said, his arms circling the space around him.

Despite the enormity of the task facing him, Santa Claus' experience of handling eight reindeer - plus Rudolph, Kaltenbaugh pointed out - apparently paid off.

Another elf might have shied away from a huge constrictor snake.

"But Santa's a real trouper," Kaltenbaugh said.

The owners of 80 animals submitted waiver forms allowing their pets to visit with Santa. The event continues tonight, Kaltenbaugh said.

Holding a fuzzy Yorkshire terrier puppy named Zoey, Lori Snyder, 41, admitted that she spoils her four-legged friend.

She said she was determined to get the dog's picture with Santa.

"I worked all day. I didn't eat dinner, my feet hurt, and my husband has dinner ready for me at home, but here I stand. This is something you do when you love your dog, and Zoey is like family to us," said Snyder, of Hagerstown.

Natalie Miller, Snyder's 8-year-old daughter, turned bashful when asked what she wanted for Christmas. She doesn't even know what the dog's getting.

"I don't know. My mom didn't tell me yet," Natalie said.

Heather Hoffman of Williamsport said she already knows her black-and-tan Doberman pinscher's stocking will be filled with squeaky toys and bones.

Bells around Heidi's neck and long, thin legs twinkled as she bowed to get close looks at all the other toy dogs waiting in line around her.

Heidi has been a good girl, Hoffman said.

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