Belpre pet photo sessions help animal rescue fund

BELPRE – More than 100 pets of all kinds had their holiday photos taken with Santa Claus on Saturday during the sixth annual Paws with Claus for a Cause.

“Today has been wonderful,” said Sharon Davidson, organizer of the event and The Max Fund. “All of the pets brought in were well behaved and everyone was great.”

All proceeds from the event go to The Max Fund, which is a Belpre-based animal rescue and aid organization that supports people who cannot afford vaccinations, spay and neuter and other health issues with their pets. The organization also rescues and cares for abused and unwanted animals.

“In April, we had four dogs to care for all at once, which is rare,” Davidson said. “It was difficult to do, but we were able to find new homes and loving people to care for those dogs; one of the dogs was a pomeranian, like Max, so it was really difficult for me to not keep him for myself, but he now has a great family.”

Max, who the foundation was named for, was Davidson’s 18-year-old pomeranian who died several years ago. After his passing, Davidson’s friend, Lyn Westbrook, as a tribute to her friend’s beloved pet, started the memorial fund.

“Max was so special that we wanted to do something to help other animals and, somehow, keep him with us,” said Davidson. “I think the foundation is doing a great job at both things.”

The organization works with the area humane societies and has fostered and rehomed more than 50 dogs. It costs roughly $500 to get a dog in bad health back in good health, Davidson said.

Last year’s event raised more than $2,000 to help the animals that find their way to those with the Max Fund. There is no goal this year, Davidson said. Organizers are grateful for anything people are willing to give, she added.

“We have people who don’t bring a pet, but use this event as a way to give donations,” Davidson said. “Really, every penny we receive goes to help people pay their vet bills, spay or neuter their pets and anything else that means dogs and cats can stay with their owners, no matter what, we will do.”

Pet lovers from around the Mid-Ohio Valley, including Parkersburg, Williamstown, Marietta and Belpre, brought their dogs, cats and other animals for their holiday pictures on Saturday.

“Most of the pets we see every year are dogs and this year is no exception,” said volunteer Terri Taylor. “We did see three very well-behaved cats and one bunny, which is new.”

Last year, a family had their holiday photo taken with their child, dog, cat and guinea pig.

Many people who attend use the photos for their holiday cards.