Aiyana and Sophia Ibarra, 6 and 5 years old, have been asking their mother, Ashley Ortiz, for a puppy for ages.
On Christmas Eve, Old St. Nicholas finally delivered them a wriggling mass of soft fur and sloppy kisses named Holly.
The white-furred, blue-eyed, 13-week-old terrier mix immediately made herself at home by jumping on couches, sniffing every corner and peeing in the hallway.
“She made a wet spot,” one of the children said. “We’re going to have to clean that up.”
Holly then proceeded to nibble on a nearby scarf. The children jostled one another to get close to pet the distracted puppy. They both said they wanted a puppy, but Aiyana offered the best reason as to why.
“So we could play with her,” she said while fending off puppy nibbles and kisses. She added, “We’re going to teach her to shake paws.”
These aren’t puppies crafted by Santa’s elves, but rather adoptions from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society. And though the real Claus was otherwise occupied, adoption counselors Dylan Moore — who donned Santa’s outfit — and Madelyn MacDonald — who borrowed some elf’s clothes — stopped in Monday morning to make the delivery.
The program was thought up by Mary Martin, executive director of the shelter, said spokesman Ben Swan. He added that Holly and one other puppy were adopted earlier and boarded free of charge by Santa Fe Tails, a dog training school and kennel, until Christmas Eve.
Moore and MacDonald started their day at the kennel in full costume, which Moore feared would upset the puppies. But all Holly did was nip at Santa’s beard.
This delivery was Santa’s second for the day. Earlier, he had delivered another puppy to the home of Tomas Glover and Alyssa Benner. They received the noticeably quieter 3-month-old Sabrina — but soon-to-be Kora — as their first puppy together. They, too, were all smiles as they received the mewling puppy, though theses children knew to expect the delivery, unlike Aiyana and Sophia.
When the ho-hoing Santa and his elf approached the children’s home, carrying Holly in a red towel, Aiyana and Sophia were peeking through the blinds.
Ortiz said she delayed getting her children a puppy until they were older and, after she saw an ad in The New Mexican for the Santa delivery, she decided the time was right.
The girls have already figured out what they need to buy for their new puppy: a squeaky toy shaped like a bone and stocking with a picture of a dog bone.
“We can play all day with our new dog,” Aiyana said.
Contact Chris Quintana at 986-3093 or email@example.com.