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A VERY, VERY, MERRY!!!

     Here we are once again. The holiday season is upon us, and most of us are beginning our Christmas preparations. This is a special time of year - a time for family and friends, and a time for reflection as the year draws to a close. As I go about doing my own Christmas planning and tasks, I think about all the things I wanted to accomplish during the year, and compare that with what I actually succeeded in doing. Some years, of course, are better than others!

     We at CCLAS also reflect and plan. 2006 was a very good year! We had some wonderful times and raised a significant amount of money at our various events. We are hoping we can reinstate our "Spay/Neuter Program" again, and, there are projects we would like to help the Shelter with.

     One of our goals is to reach into our community for people who want to help CCLAS and our mission. Do not misunderstand me! I so very much appreciate the many volunteers who are already a part of us - the bakers, the dog washers, the planners, the gatherers, the foster parents, and those who come down to the Shelter on Saturdays to do housecleaning, kitten cuddling and dog walking. But the needs of our Shelter, and the animals of our community, are ongoing. We need many people with new ideas, new energy, and a new perspective so CCLAS can remain vibrant and keep our mission fresh.

      So, as you do your Christmas bustling this season, think of CCLAS. There are several ways you can donate and/or help us get the word out that Lakewood DOES have an animal shelter. We have four fund raisers, and I am excited about them all!

     Our Angel Trees will be up again this year. Greg, the owner of Pet's General Store, 16821 Madison Avenue, and fellow CCLAS member, will once again display one of our trees in his store window. And the Lakewood Public Library has not only agreed to again let us put our other tree up at their main branch, but the tree will now be located in the front vestibule as you come into the building off Detroit Avenue. As in past years, for each $5.00 donation, an angel will be placed on a tree for the entire Christmas season (the trees will be put up the Friday after Thanksgiving, and taken down immediately after New Year's Day). Each angel will have the name of the donor's pet being remembered or honored. We are hoping that not only will you donate many angels to our trees, but also ask your friends, family, and neighbors to decorate the trees too. Ask them if they would like to become involved. Look at the "Angel Tree" form in this newsletter - there are spaces for information if the donor would like to become a CCLAS member and/or volunteer. Copy this form, or contact me and I will get some out to you. As an incentive, if anyone donates $50.00 or more, not including membership dues, they will receive a handmade, punched tin ornament for their own tree at home.

     Another of our favorite events is back this year: "Pet Photos With Santa Claws". Held again at "Inn the Doghouse" located at 10237 Berea Road, Suite "H", (just south of Detroit Avenue), Santa will set up shop on December 16th, from noon until 4 P.M. Pictures, in a holiday themed frame will be available for $10.00. This is always one of those really fun events, but you have to be a pet lover to understand this. My sister does. When I was telling her about Santa Claws, she said it is the same as when our parents took us to see Mr. Jinglaling and have our pictures taken with Santa. As she sees it, her pets are her kids, just a bit furrier than most!

     Our last two fund raisers may actually help you as much as they help CCLAS! We have partnered and linked up with Malley's Chocolates and Giveline. We all know the delicious treats at Malley's, and a good many of us buy something from them for our Christmas merry making each year. Giveline is like a store online. I have spent time browsing its site, and discovered that Giveline has quite a selection of goodies. Think "Borders", but with electronics and a section for "home & garden" stuff too. I always give books for Christmas, as well as DVD's. Giveline has the titles I will need. The good part - for every item you buy on these sites, a percentage will come back to CCLAS!!! If you buy online anyway, consider buying from our partners, and help CCLAS at the same time.

     When you shop at www.giveline.com, once you have made your selection and given your shipping information, you will be asked to choose a charity to benefit. In the search, choose the 'Animals,Zoos, & Aquariums' option. Put in Ohio as the state, and the zip code of the Shelter, 44107. You should get three choices at that point, the Animal Protective League, the MetroParks Zoo, and Citizens Committee for a Lakewood Animal Shelter - CCLAS. Please choose us!

     The Malley's site is not as easy to reach, and the lady I spoke with there apologized, saying that the problem is being worked on. To make it a bit easier on you, you can just click here. I am hoping you will still do your chocolate & treat shopping at Malley's on line, so CCLAS will benefit too.

     This promises to be a very busy season for us. I am hoping for a quiet, peaceful Christmas, spent with family and friends. This year has been quite trying, and I want the luxury of being able to have the time to enjoy being with those I love. I have felt blessed working with many of you this year. Thank you for your efforts and support. Please know you do make a difference, and that you are appreciated!

     So, here's to a very, very, Merry Christmas! I wish for you the wonder this season can bring.

Donna Blakesmith

milty4@earthlink.net