Santa's Grotto for Pets‘Santa is very used to dealing with reindeer so he’s also used to dealing with other animals’

As heard on The Ray D'Arcy Show

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For anyone who feels that their furry friend might be missing out on the festive celebrations, a pet shop in Carrigaline in Cork is offering something that might fit the bill – Santa visits for pets. Billy O’Mahony from “Pet Essentials” pet shop came on The Ray D’Arcy Show to tell Ray how they decide whether your pet has been naughty or nice. He described the variety of pets they have seen over the 7 years they’ve been running the event, which incorporates local animal welfare charities.

It’s a bit of fun…People are fond of their pets and they like to bring them along to events like this…It’s not only dogs, it’s cats, rabbits, hamsters, we’ve had a parrot…we’ve had all sorts.”

The welfare of the pets is tantamount, according to Billy. He offers early and later bookings for “nervous pets”. It’s important to him that this is not about “making fun” of the animals.

“It’s about responsible pet ownership as well…it’s not to make fun of the animals, you have to be careful as well.”

What can people expect if they bring their pet to see Santa?

“We’ve a little grotto down at the back of the store. Each family has a booking. They bring their pet in. Pet sits on Santa’s lap. Family can pile in as well, whoever wants to go into the photograph goes in. We take the photograph…We print the photograph there and then…and the pet gets a little Christmas stocking.”

One texter wanted to know how they might get their goldfish to keep still for a photo with Santa. Billy was not fazed.

“Very easy. Just wave a little goldfish flake in front of the bowl…There’s no problem there. Anything can be accommodated.”

Listen back to the full chat on The Ray D’Arcy Show here.

© The Listener 2017

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