Santa’s ready for his closeup with your pets

Published 8:17 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Volunteers at Brookhaven Animal Rescue League like to tell about the time Santa posed with pets on a motorcycle for the annual holiday fundraiser.

Tom Ross, resident St. Nick and BARL volunteer, drove a Harley Davidson for years.

“One year, he showed up for pet photos with Santa riding that Harley in full Santa suit because that’s just the way Tom rolled,” said volunteer Beth Adcock. “I still have the picture of him doing that.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Ross will be back in his jolly garb of red and white to pose for pictures Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon at PetSense in Brookhaven. It’s an annual fundraiser for the BARL, a non-profit, volunteer-based, limited-admission animal welfare organization that serves Copiah, Franklin and Lincoln counties.

Photo packages start at $10 and will be available for pick-up at PetSense Dec. 3.

While most of the photos with Ross are taken with dogs, he sees a fair share of children, and some cats. He has not posed with a reptile, but he’s not opposed. In fact, this Santa is all for it.

“I’m waiting for the day I’ll get a snake to come,” he said.

All dogs should be on a leash or in a pet carrier. All cats should be in a pet carrier. Snakes should be contained as well, and kept far away from Ross’ wife, Gayle, who is deathly afraid of the slithering critters.

Ross has played Santa for many years and never tires of seeing the interaction between the people and the animals.

“I get as much enjoyment from the owners as the pets,” he said. “They really get a kick out of seeing their pets in Santa’s arms. I enjoy being part of it.”

BARL provides food, shelter and veterinary services for abandoned, orphaned and unwanted animals until they are adopted. Animals in their care are wormed, vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Dogs are also micro-chipped.  

But all of that comes at a price, and grants, donations and adoption fees get stretched to cover as much of those expenses as possible.

Photographer Jeanne Wroten volunteers her services for the shoot, Adcock said. So does Ross, an artist and retired art teacher from Copiah-Lincoln Community College. He and his wife spent countless hours during the 1990s and early 2000s helping to manage the fledgling Brookhaven Animal Rescue League.

Volunteer Rusty Adcock said the Rosses “humbly scooped” where animals left surprises in the pens. They also mended fences. Gayle was instrumental in getting BARL into a position of growth.

“Tom and Gayle’s volunteer work at BARL really helped lay a foundation for the organization,” Beth Adcock said. “They worked tirelessly in the mud and muck when all we had were outdoor dog pens on dirt, long before the adoption center was built.”

Rusty Adcock is glad Ross is still helpful.

“And now, the jolly ol’ guy, retired and mostly fishing his days away, still comes by once a year full of jolly to help BARL out and make some great Christmas cards for his fans,” he said.

Adcock is one of those Santa fans.

“Tom is the best Santa ever,” he said. “Other than having the white beard and suit, I cannot think of any other fellow who is as truly jolly and unassuming as Tom. He epitomizes Santa. He does things, helps others and acts in most all cases simply because he delights in doing so, in doing for others. He definitely has the Christmas spirit.”

Anyone interested in adopting, contributing or volunteering should contact BARL at 601-757-4367 or Donations are tax deductible and may be mailed to BARL, P.O. Box 3477, Brookhaven, MS 39603.