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No room at the inn — a Christmas story of love

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 2:49 p.m. CDT

By Phyllis Mains

vice president of Clarke County Animal Shelter

Clarke County Animal Shelter’s Santa Paws photo fundraiser was a huge success and the animals, staff and board of directors of CCAS want to say thanks to those who made it possible. The event would not have been possible without the services of a professional photographer and family-friendly location.

The animals were truly blessed when Chris of Chris’ Photography agreed to donate her professional services and give up a full Saturday to take pictures that were not only stunning in beauty, but captured the love and personalities of animals and humans alike. Picture a family of seven rescue dogs with Santa, or six rescue dogs with their human dad with Santa, caught in a moment of time to absolute perfection.

The dogs and cats at CCAS are especially grateful to the congregation and staff of Osceola United Methodist Church for welcoming animals into their beautiful, family-oriented fellowship hall. This is a Christmas story of its own.

I spent an entire day looking at locations on a list of organizations that welcomed public events, only to be rejected time after time again because they did not allow animals.

Remember how many times Joseph and Mary were turned away? It was late afternoon when I arrived at the Methodist church and was told “yes, they welcomed animals.”

The day before the event, I was given a key to the church and shown where the mops were kept, in case one of our best friends had an accident. We actually carry our own supplies for such emergencies — much like a diaper bag.

As I watched family after family stand by the Church’s beautiful Christmas tree, next to a “Peace on Earth” banner, I thought about the baby Jesus born in a manger surrounded by animals, and knew we were truly blessed when the Methodist Church took us in.

The animals were also blessed by a loving Santa who was Lee Durham, a trained humane officer, who calmed every scared pooch and terrified cat and kitten. Only one adult cat and three kittens were even brave enough to show up.

The animals at CCAS and Board of Directors give thanks to our dedicated staff, who not only made the Santa Paws event possible, but each is a major force in the continuing progress made at the shelter.

Joy Durham, manager, and staff Ariel Sellers and Rita Eckhard, were at the shelter at crack of dawn to care for animals before the event and all helped at the event.

Joy was responsible for the success of our holiday bazaar by gathering and pricing wonderful donations for sale.

Thanks to board members Sara O’Hair, co-chair of the fundraising committee, and President Dotti Van Werden, for providing cookies and working all day at the event.

Finally, many thanks to all the wonderful families in our community who brought their much loved dogs and cats, with many stories of rescue, to demonstrate unconditional love does work both ways.

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