PENNSDALE - It's a delightful tradition when wide-eyed and sometimes crying children ask Santa to deliver on a list of Christmas wishes.
A slight variation of that holiday tradition took place on Monday night at the Lycoming Mall. Most of those who sat on the jolly old elf's lap had wet noses, fur coats and wagging tails.
The visitors to Santa's House at Center Court included a snowball of fluff, Winston, a 5-month-old Persian kitten owned by Nancy Keener, of Montoursville.
Raygan Lust, 6, visits with Santa as her father, Tim Lust, of Watsontown, keeps an eye on the family’s yellow Labrador, center, and miniature pinscher at the Lycoming Mall Monday.
"Thought it be neat," Keener said of the visit to Santa.
As she held Winston in a carry case, the tiny furball looked up at Kris Kringle with one blue and one brown eye. Tiny bells jingled on Winston's collar as he moved into position while the photographer squeaked a toy.
For Keener and several others who approached Santa to get a pet photographed for a holiday card, each pet is a part of their family, with human-like traits, including dressing up for the traditional holiday photo shoot.
Jamie Hostrander, of Jersey Shore, brought Mollie, a 2-year-old Morkie - a mix of Maltese and Yorkie - to greet Santa. Mollie wore a green and red bow around her neck and a red poppy flower was attached to the peak of her forehead.
Mollie shared Santa's lap with Emma Hostrander, her human sister. Mollie has gone to more formal extremes of dress, but it wasn't necessary to meet and greet the North Pole's mayor.
"Normally," Hostrander said, "I would put a dress on her, but she wasn't having it."
Montoursville's Andy Mitchell held tightly to a leash on his Weimaraner wrapped in a colorful garland.
"I'm gonna print out 80 cards," Mitchell said.
Chloe, a 1-year-old minature dachshund settled on Santa's lap after doing her business nearby. Her owner, Victoria Grimm, also of Montoursville, and a partner cleaned up the carpet and later described the hot dog-shaped love bug as part of the family.
"She's like family, with her holiday sweater," Grimm said.
Santa had to grip ahold of Sam, a jet black 2-year-old rescued German Shepherd owned by Mike Zurinsky, of Montoursville.
The event was an opportunity for Cindy Young, of Loyalsock Township, to bring her 2-year-old pitbull, Tia, out for the night.
"It's great that Tia can meet with the public," she said, upset about the bad reputation and misperception pitbulls get.
"It has to do with the owner, master and trainer," Young said of the dog's personality.
Tia gently licked the children near Santa.
"I hear someone said they were bringing a snake, and another person said they were bringing five husky dogs at once," said one of Santa's helpers who manned a camera. "I didn't see that yet."
Despite his busy schedule, Santa will be available for pet photographs from 6 to 8 p.m. next Monday and Dec. 17.