GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - What's cuter than a dog in a Santa costume? Try 10 dogs, or maybe even 20. To celebrate Grand Junction's canine friends, the Center for Independence's first-ever Canine Christmas will kick off Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The dog-friendly, fundraising event will be held at 740 Gunnison Ave., GJ.According to event organizers, registration for the doggie-costume contest begins at 9:30 a.m., and the entry fee is $20. Admission includes one photo with Santa (additional photos are $4), one doggie bag filled with goodies to pamper your pet, and two tickets into the pot to win a Canine Christmas door prize. "Costume categories include best costume, most creative costume, largest dog, smallest dog (and) best dog/human costume," Center for Independence staffer Lisa Wabel said. "There will (also) be food and face painting for the kids."To participate, pet owners must show proof of current vaccinations. Plus, all puppy dogs must be on a leash and under voice control.
Besides having a silly costume component, Canine Christmas is additionally selling pet products made by folks with disabilities served by Center for Independence programs."For a person who has been unemployed due to a disability, this question (What do you do?) is devastating as they often don't have a vocational identity," Wabel said. "This question often brings shame when people don't feel they are productive members of society. If people with a disability can get a job, they can also secure a better sense of self-worth. At the Center for Independence, participants are gaining these skills by crafting unique dog beds."The beds range from tiny, Chihuahua-sized pillows to large beds better suited for a mastiff or a Great Dane, Wabel added. Hand-made leashes will also be available for purchase.Contact the Center for Independence for pre-registration and more information at 970-241-0315 or visit www.cfigj.org.