Say ‘dog biscuit!’
Pet photos with Santa to benefit America’s VetDogs

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Dec. 4, 2015

Santa Claus poses with a dog during a previous pet Photos with Santa event at Lakeview Animal Clinic in Pewaukee. This year, photos will be taken from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Submitted photo

PEWAUKEE - Hung on the fridge. Sent in a Christmas card. Photos with Santa are a great memento for parents of dogs and children and a fun way to spread holiday cheer. Saturday’s photos with Santa in Pewaukee are much more - proceeds will go to the America’s VetDogs organization.

Organized by Anna Schwister, owner of Lakeview Animal Clinic, pets and their family members can have their photos taken with Santa from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the clinic, 617 Ryan St., Suite 280.

Schwister said she was drawn to America’s VetDogs organization because her stepson is a deployed Marine. America’s VetDogs teams disabled veterans and service members with specialty trained assistance dogs.

Since 2003, America’s VetDogs has trained and placed more than 400 guide, service, hearing and post-traumatic stress disorder service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility and companionship to veterans with disabilities. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders. It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise, train and place one assistance dog.

This Saturday will be the fourth year that Schwister and her staff will welcome people to have their photos taken. She said each year more people have attended the photo shoot, which is done by David Olson, owner of Studio 360 Photo in Pewaukee.

Olson said he was drawn to the unique concept of America’s VetDogs and appreciated how much Schwister has done for the community.

He also likes the therapeutic nature of owning a pet, especially during the holidays for veterans.

Dogs react in different ways when they enter Lakeview Animal Clinic; some of them who are filled with anxiety because they recognize it as the veterinarian’s office and others will look at Santa Claus nervously, Olson said. But Schwister and her staff work well with the dogs and each appointment is for 10 minutes, so by the end of the session, the dogs are much more relaxed, he said.

“We had a lot of fun last year; some of the owners brought in their pets in costumes,” Olson said.

The cost is $15 for a 4-inch by 6-inch color photo from Studio 360 Photo. After the studio is paid for its services, Schwister said the rest will go to America’s VetDogs.

People who wish to have a 10-minute appointment with Santa must make a reservation by calling 262-695-6120.

There will also be Christmas cookies and crafts for kids.