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Who doesn’t want an adorable photo of their dog on Santa’s lap?

I’ve done it twice.

The first time was in 2017, with a mall santa. I spent at least $40 on the most basic photo package, and I can’t even find any copies.

The second time was last year, in 2018, with the shelter Santa at Woodbridge Animal Group in Sewaren, NJ. It was a lot cheaper, and the Santa and shelter staff were very nice, but…

It’s just a nice photo of me and Santa, and my dogs looking miserable in matching sweaters.

Matilda and Cow aren’t comfortable around strangers, and that’s fair.

You can see their averted gaze as they avoid making contact with this strange man.

They certainly weren’t harmed, but even a truly adorable photo wouldn’t be worth the stress to all three of us again.

Not only were my dogs worried, I was concerned that they might growl, or even snap at Santa. It was hard to put on a smile!

While both Santas were patient, and didn’t pet, hold, or otherwise approach my dogs until I gave permission, I still felt nervous. My dogs have never bitten anyone, and Matilda has only, a few times in her life, growled when she was uncomfortable with someone holding her (which is a good thing – if she’s scared, she should be able to communicate that)…

Unless your dog is truly friendly and loves people, you really don’t know if they might bite someone.

Matilda and Cow are going to look much cuter and happier in photos that I’ll take of them at home.

Should You Take Your Dog To See Santa?

I think if you have a puppy who you’re trying to socialize, or if you’re confident in your dog’s social skills, you ought to take your dog to see Santa if you want to.

If your dog isn’t a total social butterfly, but you really want to take them to see Santa, you definitely should have a helper with you that your dog trusts, bring lots of treats, and make the experience really fast and really fun.

Both times, I sat in the photo, because Matilda and Cow would not have liked me to leave them alone with Santa.

You can let your dog sit on the floor next to Santa’s chair, or you can sit between your dog and Santa.

Or You Can Write Your Dog’s Letter To Santa

Matilda and Cow have been such good girls this year – as always.

It’s a little too bad they won’t be able to tell Santa about that, and ask for gifts. Mostly because they’re dogs, but also because they’re not going to visit him this year.

Still, I might make a tradition of writing about their year every Christmas, reflecting on what we’ve done, and make a list of gifts that they’ll love.

I’ll be back with some letters to Santa and a gift list in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, let me know in the comments what holiday traditions you have planned for your dog!

I want to hear all about it, whether you celebrate Christmas or any other winter holiday, or just want to make the end of the year special as you reflect on the past decade.

Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.
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