Santa traded his reindeer for other critters last Saturday, in the Furry Friends Foundation Pet Photos with Santa fundraising event. The Foundation helps families in need by funding a pet food bank and other services. \i photo by Heather Jordan
Santa traded his reindeer for other critters last Saturday, in the Furry Friends Foundation Pet Photos with Santa fundraising event. The Foundation helps families in need by funding a pet food bank and other services. \i photo by Heather Jordan
Even though Santa has been busy in Sisters this holiday season, he still had time to pull up his sleigh at Sisters Art Works last Saturday to put in a special appearance for Pet Photos with Santa that benefits Furry Friends Foundation.

Loads of folks brought their beloved dogs inside Sisters Art Works building to get a special portrait with St. Nick.

Local artist Kathy Deggendorfer hosted the annual Holiday Open House Celebration with fundraisers benefitting Furry Friends Foundation, The Three Sisters Historical Society, and Black Butte School (BBS).

Pet photos with Santa was an overwhelming success this year.

“It was a big success, we beat our record by one family,” said Furry Friends Foundation founder and director, Kiki Dolson. “I love helping the proud owners and their dogs as they line up for the photos. Some dogs are wearing reindeer ears, maybe a bright red scarf but almost all are excited to be there. A brave rabbit was there, too. Christine Cole from Sisters Feed and Supply brought one of her beautiful bunnies.”

Dolson was extremely thankful to Sam Hernandez, from Central Bark, who plays Santa for the nonprofit organization every year.

“Sam has a special calmness in handling the dogs. Also, a thank you to Heather Jordan, our new photographer this year. Heather was a professional photographer for 15 years, now a Realtor for Cascade Sothebys, and she believes in giving back to her community

“And of course I am thankful to all the volunteers, Paul, Gregg, Jeannie, Teresa, Marcy, Valerie, Sally and Kelly.”

“Thanks to everyone who participated and helped raise the much-needed funds for our Holiday Pet Food Drive.”

The drive is held in conjunction with Sisters Kiwanis and Sisters RFPD’s Spirit of Giving Food Share & Gifts program.

Dolson added, “Our cash donations were down this year. We’ve lost our major pet-food donor, so are scrambling a bit to make up the difference by purchasing food.”

Kathy Cooper, treasurer for The Three Sisters Historical Society, and Ronni Duff, volunteer coordinator, manned their table which showcased a variety of books, art prints and videos in the lobby of the Art Works building.

Cooper told The Nugget, “This is Christmas shopping for people. We were delighted that Kathy and Kiki said that they wanted to include us this year. We are trying to get more exposure and we thought it was a nice way to fundraise for us.”

The most popular book on the table – “That was Yesterday” by Tillie Wilson and Alice Scott.

The BBS wreath sale was going strong outside the building with Rachel Gonzales heading up the fundraiser again this year with Jane and Daniel Petke, board chair for BBS, also volunteering.

“The kids are more enthusiastic about selling more wreaths this year since the funds go to the new playground that’s being built this summer,” said Gonzales. “It’s not your typical swing set and monkey bars, it’s an all-natural wood environment with obstacle courses, it’s going to be unique. There will also be an outdoor classroom area for the students.”

Daniel added, “We need our design proposal approved by the Forest Service. The Forest Service historian has to dig and do test plots to make sure there is nothing underground of archaeological significance.”

It’s been a tough year for Deggendorfer, with the recent passing of her mother, Gert Boyle.

She noted, “I came back to Sisters from Portland after the memorial service last Thursday for the open house to support Furry Friends Foundation, Three Sisters Historical Society, and the Black Butte School fundraiser.

“I’m just hanging in there, and my friends Laura Fouts and Debbie Barns have been so helpful setting this up for me. Since the Art Works building was sold last summer to the Sisters Folk Festival, I wanted this to be a last hurrah for the nonprofits.”

To donate to Furry Friends Foundation, stop by the Furry Friends office at 204 W. Adams Ave., Ste. 109, donate online at www.

furryfriendsfoundation.org, or by mail to

P.O. Box 1175, Sisters, OR 97759.

There is also a giving tree set up at Sisters Feed & Supply and at Black Butte Ranch this year. For more information about Furry Friends Foundation, call 541-797-4023.