On the day before his annual around-the-world trip delivering toys and gifts to good girls and boys, Santa found time to stop in at Bark and Meow Mount Airy on Main Street for some last-minute confabs with ‘good boys’ and ‘good girls’ of both the human and canine variety.
Santa also visited Bark and Meow two weeks ago, according to store owner Greg Bell. “Lots of doggies were here for that.” Bell estimated 30 plus dogs met with Santa on that date, maybe more. “There were quite a few kids, too,” he added.
Bark and Meow opened in December 2015, and the adjoining Grand Pup Resort Hotel opened a year ago at Christmas, but this was the first time Santa had come by for a visit.
“Kids and pets all go together,” said Bell.
Santa arrived at noon, and had barely gotten settled into his comfy armchair in the front of the elaborately decorated store, nestled in among life-size reindeer, Teddy bears and eight fully-decorated Christmas trees, when Bella, a hotel guest out for her exercise, sat in Santa’s lap for a lick and a visit.
Not long after, Drew Harr brought his pair of Yorkies in to have their nails trimmed, and they took the opportunity to yelp with Santa.
Little Bit, age 8, is the mother of Bocephus, age 3, and both dogs are avid hunters and fishers, said Harr. Bocephus tracked three deer before he was a year old, Harr proudly proclaimed.
“Get a gun or a fishing rod out, and they go nuts,” Harr said. He added that they also squirrel hunt, and will both tree squirrels and retrieve them.
Harr acquired Little Bit, who is a purebred Yorkshire terrier, when she was a year old.
“She just took to it,” Harr said. “She loved to go out in the boat with me.”
After breeding Little Bit, Harr kept one of the puppies, and started working with that puppy, Bocephus, when he was three months old. Harr said that he dragged a deer hide through the woods in order for Bocephus to learn to track the scent.
Shortly after Little Bit and Bocephus finished their visit and moved on over to the in-store spa for their mani-pedis, Sharon Belton picked up her long-haired dauchshund Maddy from the spa after her treatment, and they checked out the gourment dog treats in the bakery section.
For her Christmas primping, Maddy got “the usual,” said Belton. Shampoo, trim, nails. “Miss Maddy loves to come here,” said Belton, as Maddy offered her nose to be petted and admired.
Hope Grace Haines, age 3, and Chloe Noel Hamblin, age 8, were delighted to run into Santa, and eagerly confirmed some last-minute details with him.
Their mother, Erika Haines, said they had not expected to run into Santa. “We came here to get our cat something for Christmas,” said Haines, with Santa being a happy accident.
Hope was not eager to discuss the private details of her chat with Santa, other than to confirm that Dora was involved. Chloe was more forthcoming about her conversation with St. Nick — they discussed a laptop, fidget spinners and some LOL dolls. Santa gave each of the girls a white chocolate snowman, courtesy of Prudence McCabe Confections down the street, and they got down to the business of Christmas shopping for their cat.
Santa was only scheduled to remain at the store until 4 p.m. He had much unfinished business before his big night Sunday.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.