“This will be our first annual [event]. I have committed to doing it each year,” said Melissa Latimer, owner of Soleil Tan. “I am a dog lover by birth, I guess you could say. I have three chihuahuas of my own. I just love helping to benefit our community and just really trying to give back, being a local business owner.
“... Per Bryan’s conversation earlier in the year, we were going to try to do something in the spring or summer and it just didn’t work out based on the weather,” she said, referring to EVHS Director Bryan Canty. “I was talking to him and I said, ‘What a great way to get people involved in our community, to bring out their pets and have just a couple of minutes ... with Santa and Mrs. Claus, to come to the salon and bring donations.’ All of the money is going to go the Etowah Valley Humane Society.”
While Latimer expects the majority of people will bring their cats or dogs, she said untraditional pets also will be welcome.
“It’s for any pet that they want to bring,” she said. “... One person, it’s hilarious, their dog won’t cooperate so they asked if they could bring the guinea pig. So I said, ‘Yes.’ So we have a guinea pig coming and it will have a leash.”
For $20, individuals will be able to have their pets’ pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus and receive four wallet-sized photos and two 4x6 images. There also will be a double-sided ornament available for an additional $15. In addition to funds raised through photography sessions, Santa Paws for a Cause also will support the EVHS by encouraging people to donate dry dog and cat food, kitty litter, and gently used blankets and towels.
Opened in 2006, EVHS’ 4,928-square-foot shelter at 36 Ladds Mountain Road in Cartersville costs about $240,000 per year to manage. The shelter consists of two staff offices, a quarantine room, two visitation rooms, 14 temperature-controlled kennel runs, a cat room with 24 cages, a puppy room with 22 cages and seven outdoor kennel runs.
“We just appreciate our community getting involved,” Canty said. “It gives a vote of confidence in our viability in this community and the [important] service that we provide because we are the only adoption outlet for animals that are [taken in] through the city of Cartersville and Bartow County Animal Control.
“Primarily [our funding] comes from our adoption fees, the benevolence of private donors and occasional fundraisers. But we also do receive a monthly stipend from Bartow County and that’s because with the [increased] number of lives that we save, we’re saving the county money on euthanasia fees.”
For more information about the EVHS fundraiser, visit www.etowahvalleyhumane.org or call Latimer at 770-387-1064.