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Posted on Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Event to feature pet photos with Santa at Briarwood and tips from experts on holiday pet safety

By Lorrie Shaw


flickr photo by ctaloi

A holiday tradition that has endured over the years is in no danger of going out of style — in fact, it's alive and well: families lining up to have their children's photo taken with Santa Claus.

And, it's one that isn't limited to the family members that are on two feet. Pets are getting in on the fun, too.

For one evening this weekend, pet lovers will have the opportunity to get a photograph of their four-legged family members with the big guy in red.

Briarwood Mall will be the venue for pets and their human counterparts to come and take part in the pet event that will include a photo sitting, goodie bags and more.

Vets from City Pets Veterinary Clinic — the organization sponsoring the event — will be on hand to chat with folks about holiday pet safety.

But in the meantime, Dr. Gretchen Hui, DVM and Dr. Stacey Weinrick, DVM, who opened the clinic in September, offer some tips to help make the event fun and comfortable for pets and humans alike.

Before leaving home, they suggest, first and foremost, doing a little preparation.

"Bring your pet’s favorite toy, and pack some of their most valued treats. They will help them focus when they are getting their photo taken," says Hui.

She adds that waiting to feed pets their dinner until after the event might encourage them to focus on the treats a bit more, which assists the photographer greatly.

"Some playtime or a good long walk before you leave can help burn off some of that extra energy that pets have," notes Weinrick.

"And a potty break before entering the mall is encouraged; we want pets to be comfortable. Pet owners should be prepared to clean up after their pets, if necessary."

Here are some additional tips from the doctors:

  • All dogs must be leashed, of course, but retractable leashes are discouraged. A traditional 6-foot leash is recommended, since they offer better control.
  • A properly-fitted collar or a harness is essential, reducing the likelihood that they will get away from you.
  • Small animals, like cats, should come to the event in carriers for their own safety.
  • Dressing up your pet in costume? Consider doing it at home, where the environment is less stressful and busy.

Both Hui and Weinrick have been practicing veterinary medicine for several years in Ann Arbor and were excited to open the clinic, which is on Ann Arbor's north side. They specialize in medical and surgical care for not just dogs and cats, but birds, rabbits, ferrets and reptiles.

Photo packages of all types will be available, ranging from basic to digital. This is the final weekend for the pet event.

"Last week, someone showed up with a llama," Hui said with a chuckle.

Weinrick ended our conversation by saying, "We’re thrilled to meet the folks that attend the event and answer any questions that they have about keeping their pets safe during this time of year. We’re looking forward to a good turnout."

Event details:

What: Pet Photos with Santa

Where: Briarwood Mall, 100 Briarwood Circle, Ann Arbor.

When: Sunday, Dec. 4 from 6 - 8 p.m.

More details: All friendly pets welcome. Please use the mall entrance near Pole 28 only (west side of Von Maur). Pets should not go beyond the Santa Photo area of the mall in the Von Maur corridor.

For more details, contact City Pets Veterinary Clinic at 734-929-4071 or email at:

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for Connect with her on Google+ and follow her daily adventures as a professional pet sitter or email her directly.


Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Dec 5, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

Village Animal Clinic in Dexter is taking photos of pets with Santa on Saturday. A color photo will be ready to go for a suggested donation of $5 to the Alcona Humane Society - a little organization up north a ways that needs help and is being "fostered" by Dexter Animal Clinic. You can make an appointment by calling (734) 426-8550.