On a day when a parade of photogenic pets was passing through the Patti Dale shelter in Aldergrove to have their picture taken with Santa, Maverick stood out.
The good-natured four-year-old Maremma Sheepdog wears special boots on his front legs that allow him to walk and even run despite being born with a condition called Ectrodactyly (otherwise known as split-hand or lobster claw deformity).
Owner Paulyne Villarosa, an Abbotsford resident who works in Langley, said Maverick entered her life after she started looking for a companion dog for her Husky and saw an ad from a Langley farm that described the puppy as “unique” with “mitten paws.”
She was won over by his personality and took him home.
Since then, Maverick has undergone two surgeries and multiple fittings for support boots to be able to walk and run like other dogs.
After his last operation, Villarosa said Maverick had to learn to walk all over again, using an backyard obstacle course built for him.
“He’s pretty fast now, ” she said, as an enthusiastic Maverick all but towed her into the foyer of the shelter, leaning hard into his harness.
One after-effect of his surgeries has been a certain amount of shyness, the result of spending much of a year indoors, but that is easing, Villarosa said.
“He’s getting used to it (being outside).”
Once again, the Santa photos were fully sold-out before the two-day event began on Saturday.
Some people were on a waiting list in case a spare slot opened up.
As before, the pictures were taken by professional photographers Trav+Ash, who were are once again donating their time and efforts for the Langley Animal Protection Society fundraiser .
Photos were by donation, a $20 minimum per session and $10 extra for each additional pose.