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LAPS volunteer tricks pets into getting a photo with Santa for an annual fundraiser

Yearly event brought tens of furry friends to pose with the man in red
LAPS employees Cathy C and Cathy J welcomed dozens of pet owners to the society’s annual Santa pet photos fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 3. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)

Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) hosted dozens of furry friends and pet owners at its local shelter Saturday, for the annual Santa pet photos fundraiser.

The big man in red posed with dogs and cats of all kinds and distributed free treats throughout the day.

More than 70 owners signed up to get their pet photos taken at the fundraiser, but the most challenging part was to get the animals to look at the camera. However, Helene Robillard, an experienced dog walker and LAPS volunteer for more than eight years, knew the tricks.

She brought whistles, squeaky toys, treats with a strong odour, bells, clickers, and many other props to get the animals’ attention for taking a picture. Each item was strategically chosen to be used in different situations, shared Robillard.

“When you have a dog who has special needs… for example hearing or vision problems… you have to think out of the box,” explained the photographer’s assistant.

These props were either used separately or together with other props to make noise or grab attention by flashing them. Sometimes, just holding treats high up in the air so animals can smell it would do the trick, added Robillard.

“Usually it is the squeaky noises that gets their attention because [pets] think it is prey.”

For those who go crazy about treats, Robillard had a couple of options.

“We have different kinds of food… munchy treats, human food, and more, each with distinct smell and characteristics,” she added.

Some pet owners brought more than one animal for a photo with Santa.

“Four dogs and all at once trying to get a picture with Santa… that is when things get challenging,” Robillard chuckled. “But I love it… it is fun time… cuddle time with lots of fun.”

In addition to the presence of St. Nick, there were four local vendors who sold holiday crafts and donated a portion of their sales to LAPS. The society also offered free hot chocolate and s’mores and took the event as an opportunity to encourage people to adopt the dogs and cats living in the shelter.

Jennifer Schroeder, director of communications, thanked those who attended the event and donated to support the shelter.

“Thank you for everything you do and for supporting us, as well as the community,” she concluded.

Those interested in adopting a LAPS animal can do so by visiting


RELATED: Dogs pose for pictures with Santa at Langley fundraiser

READ MORE: Pet picture sessions with Santa are fundraisers for LAPS


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Dozens of pet owners visited LAPS on Saturday, Dec. 6 for the annual Santa pet photos fundraiser. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Milo, the dog posed with Santa at the LAPS annual Santa pet photos. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Caroline, Brent, Stephanie, and Greg were vendors at the annual LAPS Santa photos fundraiser. They sold hand made festival items. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Nagda Apanowicz is a volunteer at LAPS. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Leah Mclean, Nagda Apanowicz, Bash Arcnd are LAPS volunteers. They offered snacks and hot chocolate with whipped cream to pets and pet owners. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Leah Mclean, Nagda Apanowicz, Bash Arcnd, and Addison Mclean are LAPS volunteers. They offered snacks and hot chocolate with whipped cream to pets and pet owners. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)

Tanmay Ahluwalia

About the Author: Tanmay Ahluwalia

Tanmay Ahluwalia is a journalist with a digital mindset and a proud alumnus of the University of Delhi.
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