GCU Freshman Suited to Role of Santa

Now the truth can be told about Santa Claus: He likes Christmas, yes, but what he really loves are community-service hours.

That much was clear on Saturday at a PetSmart store in north Scottsdale as GCU freshman Isaac Dominguez — in full St. Nick costume — posed for photos all afternoon with pets. He did a second shift on Sunday.

Dominguez, a health-care administration major, had gone to the Halo animal shelter on 35th Avenue near campus to knock out his community-service requirement for Beth Jamison’s University Success class.

From Halo, he was dispatched to the store near Scottsdale and Bell roads, given a suit and told to play The Greatest Elf of Them All.

“It sounded pretty easy and fun,” Dominguez said after a photo op with 4-year-old Riley, a German shepherd. “It’s better than other things I could be doing.”

The job’s demands, he said, were fairly simple.

“They just told me not to take the beard off, so that any kids walking by wouldn’t be traumatized,” he said.

Customers paid $10 for a photo of their pet with Santa, with half going to the store and the other half to Halo. Halo volunteers Simone and Amanda Atkinson — mother-and-daughter owners of two dogs, two cats, a hamster and a rabbit — assisted with the photo station.

In case you were wondering, there were no pet “accidents” to report.

However, Dominguez said the suit was starting to feel warm “and the beard’s not feeling very good, either.”

He offered a white-gloved hand to a visitor. After shaking hands, he said, “Your hand is gonna smell like dog now.”

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GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)

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