Dogs, pet owners ring in holidays at PG History Park –

PUNTA GORDA — The holidays were a howling good time Sunday for dogs and their owners at Punta Gorda History Park. 

Local dogs and the owners stopped by the Punta Gorda History Park Sunday morning to take pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. This was the fourth annual Santa Paws in the Park event organized by the Punta Gorda Historical Society.

Organized by the Punta Gorda Historical Society, this was the fourth annual Santa Paws in the Park event, providing a photo opportunity for pets with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“We were super excited to be a part of it especially because I’m a super dog mom,” said Alex Biron, whose Italian ice company, Lava Ice Shop, was one of the many vendors featured at the History Park Farmers Market Sunday.

“This was perfect for my dog to get his picture with Santa and there are just a lot of really awesome vendors here so we’re just happy to be a part of it,” she added.

The Santa Paws event took place at the History Park Farmer’s Market that runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday. The market will be closed, however, Dec. 26 so vendors can celebrate the holidays with their families.

Sherry Austin hands her dog The Beamer over to Santa for photos Sunday morning at the Punta Gorda History Park.

Robert Harter and Sherry Austin stopped by the Farmers Market Sunday to get fruit. They brought their dog, The Beamer, to take photos with Santa.

“We’re delighted with the dog intermingling with Santa,” Harter said. “How can you beat that during the week of Christmas?”

Faye Maliszewski took on the role again this year of Mrs. Claus.

Maliszewski said she loves being a part of Santa Paws.

“I was asked a couple years ago to do it and I love participating in this event,” she said. “Mr. Claus and I go back quite a bit now … and we love the dogs.”

Maliszewski is president of local nonprofit Wolfhounds Legacy. The organization rescues and trains dogs to be certified service animals for the benefit of veterans with PTSD.

“The socialization and recognition (of this event is great),” Maliszewski said. “People come in and see what we do (as Wolfhounds Legacy), they see our dogs and see our veterans with our dogs which gets our veterans out so they are not at home.”

PGHS Executive Director Sandy Moon said pet owners always appreciate having the Santa photo opportunity available.

“Everybody is having a wonderful time and appreciate it that we do this …….


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