Pets and children get into the holiday spirit with festive attire


Pogo the Chihuahua probably has more clothes than the average human, according to her owner, Salinan Sheree Spratlen.

“She could probably start her own doggie clothing line,” Spratlen said. “She’s got everything from a two-piece bathing suit to pajamas. She loves clothes, although she doesn’t like shoes.”

Pogo also has her own red and white trimmed Santa coat and hat, which she proudly wears during the holiday season. When Spratlen takes Pogo out in public, carrying her in a special “dog purse,” Pogo is a friendly and enthusiastic passenger.

“She’s good with other people and doesn’t bark or tremble like other Chihuahuas,” Spratlen said. “She really loves the holidays. She gets more clothes for Christmas, and if she can get a sweet, she’ll eat it. She is spoiled.”

Pogo — who also happens to have her own Facebook page called “Pogo’s Life” that boasts more than 250 followers — posed proudly in her Santa coat and hat in a picture submitted to the Journal as part of a request to readers to contribute their favorite Yuletide photos featuring pets and children.

The complete collection of this year’s submissions can be found in a photo gallery at

Named after oil spill

In 2009, a mixed breed cat was found in the wild, wandering south of Salina, completely covered in oil. The cat’s future owner, Bennington resident Karen Cherry, said the cat was found by a friend who then gave him three baths with Dawn dishwashing liquid before she could detect white coloring on his fur.

“We couldn’t resist this tiny 6-week-old kitten with the big eyes, so we adopted him,” Cherry said. “We never did find out why he was covered with oil.”

The cat was named BP (or “beep”), after a BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that had happened a short time earlier.

Cherry said BP is a mellow cat who loves to bop ornaments on the Christmas tree each year. Although he’s a mellow feline, BP has become rather grumpy since Cherry and her husband, Ron recently adopted a puppy.

“BP used to sit under the Christmas tree next to the presents, but since we have a puppy, she sits higher up now,” Karen said.

Trip the lights — fantastic

At age 5 months, everything bright and sparkly was fascinating to Peyton Robinson, son of Salinans Brad and Krista Robinson. Hand Peyton a string of multicolored Christmas lights, Krista said, and he would be mesmerized.

“It was a lot easier to photograph him then than now at age 2,” she said. “He’d just sit there before. Now, he doesn’t sit still at all.”

Two years ago, Peyton didn’t quite comprehend what Christmas was all about.

His parents bought a camera to record their only child’s first Christmas and posed him surrounded by strings of lights, which they sent out as Christmas cards. This year, Krista said, he had his first encounter with Santa Claus.

“He loves dinosaurs, so he growled at Santa like a dinosaur,” she said. “So Santa growled back at him. He liked that, so they bonded after that.”

Still grieving loss of dog

Brent Beshears lost his black labrador Robin seven years ago and still hasn’t gotten over the death of his loyal dog from cancer. Robin was a service dog to Beshears, who is a quadriplegic, and had been trained to open doors, pick up dropped items and flip light switches on and off.

“She could do lots of stuff,” he said. “Now if I have a problem, I have to wait until someone else gets here.”

Beshears said it takes about two years to train a dog like Robin at a cost of about $3,500. He is trying to raise funds and apply for grants to purchase a new service dog, but getting a new dog is not just about the money. He still grieves over the loss of Robin, especially during the holidays.

“She had a great personality,” he said. “You could do just about anything with her, including put a Santa hat on her. It was always nice to have her around during the holidays.”

Assaria resident Kirsten Heimer’s 4-H dairy heifer Rosie gave birth to a calf on Dec. 23, 2015. In honor of the occasion and the season, the 14-year-old named the newborn calf Noel, put a Santa hat on her and had a picture taken.

“The calf was just a few hours old,” said Kirsten’s mother, Becky. “She came home from school, got a Santa hat, put it on her and named her Noel because it was Christmas.”

Noel is now an almost full-grown dairy heifer weighing nearly 700 pounds. Becky Heimer said they’ll probably breed Noel, show her for the second time at Salina’s Tri-Rivers Fair in August and then sell her to a local dairy.

“Kids understand that they have to sell livestock when it’s time,” she said. “We’ll probably have one more Christmas with her.”

Hannah Larson and Stuart Griffin’s year-old miniature Australian Shepherd, Rosco, is enthusiastic about all things Christmas — maybe too much.

“He almost knocked over the Christmas tree this year,” said Larson, of Salina. “He’s only 20 pounds, but his personality is pretty big.”

Rosco is a good sport about wearing things like Christmas stocking caps — as long as you play ball with him.

“His ball is his favorite thing in the world,” Larson said. “He’s real people friendly and the most popular one in the room when someone walks in.”

During Christmas 2015, Ruby, a 4-month-old Newfoundland, made a Christmas present of herself by jumping in a gift box on the porch of her owner, Salinan Melanie Regnier.

Actually, Regnier said she staged the photo and helped the dog reach the top of the box and set his paws on it by stuffing its bottom with “lots of packing paper.”

“The box was taller than she was at that age,” Regnier said.

Regnier, a member of the Salina Kennel Club, said Ruby is a show dog and is used to having photos taken of her.

“Ruby’s kind of ornery with a mind of her own,” she said. “She does love Christmas packages and wrapping paper.”

Canello Casteel was a little nervous about a visit from Santa at his Topeka home, but once the Jolly Old Soul, played by local resident Ken Sutton, sat down to read with Canello, the 1-year-old was fine sitting next to him.

“He loves Santa now,” said Canello’s mom, Cristin, formerly of Abilene. “At that time, he didn’t know what was going on. Now he’s 3 and more into it now. He sits on Santa’s lap and tells him what he wants for Christmas.”

Canello is so excited about Christmas, Cristin said, that he asks every day if it’s here yet.

“I have to tell him it’s still almost two weeks away,” she said. “It’s really hard for him to wait.”