By Jasmine Maharisi – News Editor
MaverickPR, The UNO Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, teamed up with the Town and Country Humane Society for its annual fundraiser on Sunday at The Bookworm bookstore, 8702 Pacific St.
Thirty-two dogs, four cats and one rabbit posed for pictures with Santa Paws, a part played by School of Communication professor Chris Allen. Allen’s wife, Elaine, was Mrs. Paws.
Photos were $15, with all proceeds going toward Town and Country Humane Society, a private, no-kill animal shelter in Papillion.
Town and Country Humane Society is a non-profit organization relying solely on donations and an all-volunteer staff rather than government funding.
A total of $445 was raised at the event, as many pet owners donated more than the required sitting fee.
Kayla Sexton, a volunteer with Town and Country Humane Society, said she enjoys the Santa Paws fundraisers because she enjoys working with different animals. Although 39 animals showed up at the event, Sexton said the pets were generally well behaved.
“They’ve all actually been good animals,” Sexton said. “The bunny got a little jumpy there for awhile.”
MaverickPR has organized the event annually since its inception five years ago. Each year, the group selects a different animal shelter or rescue group to benefit UNO student and. Maverick PR student Cartia Mazzoni said the selection process is random.
Diana Abbot, manager of The Bookworm, said staff and customers love Santa Paws events. As an added bonus to seeing the cuddly creatures, the annual event proves good for business.
“It certainly brings in new customers,” she said. “Maybe because it’s a different geographic location than people usually might shop in.”
The Bookworm hosts different animal rescue groups and humane societies almost every weekend. Abbot said customers are welcome to come in with their pets anytime without feeling pressured to purchase anything.
“We have always been pet-friendly, we’ve always encouraged people to bring in their pets,” she said. “Especially in the winter, there aren’t a lot of locations that allow pets and [they] start to feel cooped up.”
Abbot said the customers appreciate the furry friends, and the animals love the extra attention.
“There are a number of customers who may be in a position, a living situation for example, who may not be able to have pets,” she said. “Every day I’ll have someone, usually a senior citizen, ask ‘When will the dogs be here?'”
For more information about the Town and Country Humane Society ,visit townandcountry