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A canine Christmas

While their owners might say their stockings should be filled with coal this year, many of the tail-waggers who visited Santa Claus at Clifton Park Center on Sunday, Dec. 7, were in for a real treat a dog treat.

Sixty-five dogs and 85 humans registered to sit on Santa's lap and decorate their own bones as part of an annual holiday event hosted by Sloppy Kisses, a treat boutique for dogs in Saratoga. This year, Sloppy Kisses hosted Bark Fest with Santa at Clifton Park Center, where pooches could get their photos taken with Kris Kringle, in celebration of their kiosk in the mall, and amid negotiations to open a new store at the mall.

General Manager of Clifton Park Center Susan Keegan said that talks of creating a permanent Sloppy Kisses store in the mall are ongoing, but that Bark Fest was a hit, and the mall would certainly host it again.

It was just amazing. It's just a whole 'nother world," said Keegan. "I have cats, so I didn't know about this dog world."

Keegan said that none of the dogs had any accidents in the mall, but, "We had a couple barkers."

There was no cost to attend Bark Fest, although representatives from the Saratoga Animal Shelter collected donations.

According to shelter supervisor Daniel Butler, people who attended Bark Fest and made donations helped raise $126.11 that will be added to the $182,450 the shelter has already raised to go toward a new animal shelter that is being built across from the existing shelter on Country Farm Road in Ballston Spa.

Butler said the money will go toward spay and neutering services, a meet-and-greet outdoor area for dogs and other services the shelter needs funding

for.

"[Saratoga County's] going to build the building, but it's the money we earned over the past two years that will be used for the animals needs," he said.

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