Santa Needs Help With Shelter Dog Glut

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A recent influx of dogs at the Payson Humane Society threatens to turn a happy holiday season into a dour one for shelter employees who may have to start putting them down -- not to mention dogs like Freckles, who may end up with a few less buddies on Christmas day.

Freckles was selected by shelter staffers to be the "front" dog in a thinly disguised publicity stunt to get some dogs adopted before that eventuality comes to pass.

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Freckles willingly donned this Santa headpiece to represent the many dogs at the Payson Humane Society needing homes this holiday season.

If, in the process, Freckles finds a home of her own, all the better. While she's billed as a pit bull mix, you won't find a sweeter creature in all of dogdom.

During the photo shoot, Freckles willingly donned reindeer ears, some kind of Santa headpiece, and a Santa hat -- asking nothing in return but a pat of appreciation from the weird humans who insisted on taking away her dignity.

And when she spotted Chelsea the cat in a nearby enclosure, she curiously but tentatively padded over for a closer look. When Chelsea reached through the chicken wire to give Freckles a warning smack, she wasn't the least bit aggressive in return.

Freckles, one of the 35 dogs currently housed at the shelter, is two years old, and ready to make some lucky family a wonderful holiday gift. If Freckles isn't for you, come on down to the shelter and pick out the one that is.

Dogs and cats cost $70, which includes all shots, spaying or neutering, and an identification microchip.

The shelter is located at 812 S. McLane Road, just south of Main Street. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Food and Supply Drive

If a new pet isn't in your immediate future, you can still remember the homeless animals at the shelter this holiday season by contributing to the humane society's Annual Food and Supply Drive for puppies, kittens, cats and dogs.

"As you shop for those special Christmas gifts for loved ones, please don't forget the homeless animals of Rim Country," PHS President Barbara Brenke said. "Many sweet kittens, puppies, cats and dogs will be spending Christmas at the animal shelter instead of in a home of their own. You can help make their stay more comfortable by donating much needed items to the Payson Humane Society."

Among the items especially needed is dog food with low corn content, Kitten Chow, blankets, toys, leashes (4 ft., 1" width preferable), gentle leaders (medium and large sizes), collars, litter boxes, bowls, Clorox bleach, Pine Sol, paper towels, cloth towels, and wash cloths.

The drive continues through Saturday, Dec. 31. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter, or to arrange a pick-up of large donations, call (928) 474-5590.

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