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Santa makes stop for BARL photo fundraiser

Checking his list twice after a long day of photos at theWoodmen of the World building Saturday, Santa is sure to rememberthe names Cujo, Roxy, Freckles and Daisy.

The latest additions to the gift list are pets whose “parents”brought them to get their pictures taken with Kris Kringle.Brookhaven resident Ed Gove explained that since all his childrenhave grown up and moved away, his pets have become like family tohim and his wife, Jan.

“This is our baby,” he said, indicating his cocker spaniel mix,Freckles. “She’s a person with fur on. She’s gotten in with all thecats like they were born together.”

After handing Freckles over to Santa to have pictures taken, Edposed for pictures with her in front of the tree, too. The perkylittle pup was something of a blessing to the Goves, who lost twodogs in the same week, causing Ed to swear off dogs. After a friendput the pressure on him, he found room in his heart and his homefor one more.

“I said, ‘No more dogs,'” he said. “But then I gave in, and nowshe’s definitely my dog.”

Freckles, like many of the dogs and cats that showed up at theBrookhaven Animal Rescue League’s fundraising event, was once aBARL resident. Gove said she was left at the front door of theRescue League with her four puppies, who were quickly adopted atthe Ole Brook Festival.

And like any proud dad, Gove bragged on Freckles’ smarts.

“She’s the smartest dog I’ve ever had,” he said.

BARL spokesman Rusty Adcock said it is the close relationshipbetween owners and their pets that makes pictures with Santa a funevent for everyone.

“It’s about pride in their animals,” he said. “They want to havepictures of their babies.”

Michelle Allen, a first-grade teacher at Crystal Springs, was agood example of an owner with pet pride. She said she’d alreadyplanned where she will use several of the pictures of her dogRoxy.

“She’s my child,” she said of the little fluffy black dog.”Mom’s getting one of the pictures, and one will go on the fridgeor something. I think I’ll take one to school for the kids to lookat too.”

Adcock said BARL has had Santa come to town to pose with petsfor at least four years now, and that it’s a pretty popular event.He said each year around 40 to 50 pets attend the fundraiser, whichgoes to BARL’s general funds.

“It’s for medical expenses sometimes, and sometimes we can putsome of it toward our spay and neuter funds,” he said. “Our budgetjust kind of dictates where the money goes.”