Karin Greene/Conexion Del Rio Contributor

SAN ANGELO,TX–Santa Claus and the Girl Scouts of Val Verde County teamed up to raise funds to assist Friends of Del Rio Animals at this year's "Santa Paws for a Cause" program at Plaza del Sol Mall.

Santa Claus  and Girl Scouts of Val Verde County have been helping Friends of Del Rio Animals for the past three years.  Through the “Santa Paws for a Cause” program, local animal owners can bring their well-behaved pets to the mall on one day each holiday season, to have their pets’ pictures taken with Santa.  

Established in 2004, Friends of Del Rio Animals(FDRA) is the first tax exempt animal rescue organization in the history of Del Rio, Tx.  Their goal is to make Del Rio a "No More Homelless Pets" community through spay/neuter assistance.

In 2014, the Girl Scout Troop 106 began the Santa Paws program as a service project during the holiday season.   They contacted Santa, who loves dogs and cats, and asked if he could designate one night during the holiday season for “nice” pets.  In return, the Plaza del Sol management agreed that the proceeds from the photo service would benefit Friends of Del Rio Animals.  For the first two years of the program, the Girl Scouts also asked for donations of clean used blankets and towels for the animal shelter animals.   This year, donations of pet food were requested to help FDRA’s Paws on Wheels program, which provides pet food for pet owners in need. 

Girl Scout Troop 106, now young adults, passed the Santa Paws for a Cause baton to a younger troop, Girl Scout troop 4278.   These young girls eagerly greeted pets and their owners, and were happy to give plenty of love, attention, and Christmas treats to Santa’s special guests.   On the night of the Santa Paws event, Santa visited with about twenty pets and their families.  

What do pets say they want for Christmas from Santa?   “Chew toys, warm homes, loving families, and treats,” Santa said.