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It’s picture time with Santa at Pet Evolution

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Santa is a pretty busy guy this time of the year, but he did manage to find a little extra time for some of his four-legged friends over the weekend.

Santa found his way to Pet Evolution in Woodbury Sunday, so he could take a few pictures with some of his admirers who don’t usually get to spend some time with him. At the same time, he helped to raise some money to fund the Woodbury Public Safety K-9 program.

Pet Evolution owner Rian Thiel came up with the idea after being asked to participate in November’s Koins for K-9s project, organized to raise funds for The Friends of Bruce Stafford Public Safety Appreciation Legacy Fund, which contributes to the city’s K-9 program. 

As a former police officer, he naturally wanted to participate in something to help public safety. As a pet store owner — a pet store in a new location with more space, no less — he decided to get into the holiday spirit and raise some funds at the same time.

Though Pet Evolution has been in Woodbury for several years, this was the first time the business hosted a “pictures with Santa” kind of event. Over the course of the day, Pet Evolution was able to raise about $900 for Woodbury’s K-9 program.

“We did this because we wanted to be able to give back to the community,” Thiel said. “It’s nice to be able to do that.”

The photos were provided, free, by Krystal Shatek Photography. 

Pet Evolution is located at 429 Commerce Dr., in Woodbury. For more information, visit

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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