Working as a mall Santa Claus presents occupational challenges which are certainly unique. While some children throw fits when placed on Santa’s lap, others slyly devise plans to yank off the gift-giver’s beard. In addition, the responsibilities of playing Santa take on a new meaning when pets, rather than children, seek some time on St. Nick’s lap.
"My most memorable pet was a black tarantula that ended up in my beard," Allan Cameron, veteran Santa Claus for Pet Assistance, told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.
Over the years Cameron has donned the red suit and posed with cats, dogs, parrots, turtles, iguanas and potbellied pigs to help fund projects administered by the Pet Assistance League.
The organization raises money to pay for spaying or neutering procedures to help pet owners who are unable to afford the veterinary services.
Pet Assistance treasurer Linda Furlano told the news source, "I started this project with just a Polaroid about 16 years ago."
She added that spaying and neutering helps control the pet population, keeps animals healthy and reduces the number of pets that end up in pounds or rescue shelters.
According to the Bill Foundation, which aims to rescue homeless dogs from shelters, the procedure to fix a pet usually costs between $50 and $100.