The City of Malibu hosts its first Santa Paws event

Bishop the Pomeranian poses with his owners at the Santa Paws on Sunday, Dec. 11. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Dozens of pets and owners posed for their holiday photos with Santa Claus for the City of Malibu’s first annual Santa Paws event at Malibu Bluffs Park. 

Santa saw a variety of canines, from 5-pound chihuahuas to 150-pound English mastiffs, and each pup was able to sit and smile for the camera.

Malibu Recreation Coordinator Adrianna Fiori said this is the first Santa Paws event the city has hosted.  

“We know our community loves dogs and we just wanted to have an opportunity for them to come and take pictures with Santa,” Fiori said. “Just a fun, festive event.”

Each pup was given a bag filled with treats after getting their photo taken with Santa.


While the photo op was free, participants were encouraged to bring an item to donate to a local shelter. The requested items are dog beds, canned dog food, cat food, Wellness dog treats, and towels. Gift cards to Costco, pet stores, and West Valley Horse Center were also appreciated. 

Malibu Coast Animal Hospital Administrator David Marler was at the event sharing the resources the hospital and Malibu Coast Pet Retreat offer. 

“Everyone here in Malibu knows about the animal hospital, but the new services, which is the boarding service adding the doggy day camp, we’re introducing the new pet retreat, which is part of the Malibu Coast Animal Hospital family,” Marler said. “And the new service we’re offering is the doggy day camp, we’ve had boarding for years and years, and the boarding has been expanded.”

The Malibu Coast Animal Hospital staff participates in local community service and charitable events, including supporting Healthcare for Homeless Animals, Westside German Shepherd Rescue, Angels Bark Dog Rescue, the California Wildlife Center, and many more.

Malibu Coast Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Dana DePerno was at the event waiting to take a photo with Santa and her chihuahua Peaches.

For pets with separation anxiety, DePerno provided recommendations such as not rattling the keys when leaving and making it a habit to to leave treats before leaving so it’s something they look forward to.

“I tell people with puppies especially, now that we’re home a little more than we used to be, is to make sure they have an hour or two during the day where they’re just alone while you’re home, but while they’re in a crate or another room so that they start to get comfortable with that,” DePerno said. 

Community members shared their appreciation for the city for hosting events involving their pets, such as the “dog obedience” training. 

Designed for dogs 16 weeks to 14 months, the training teaches puppies basic obedience behaviors and proper socalization skills. Instructed by Canine Logic, the training also helps understand behaviors such as nipping, mouthing, jumping, digging, and chewing with positive reinforcement techniques.

The next training session is scheduled to be in January. To learn more about the recreation programs the city offers, visit

The next holiday event is Breakfast with Santa and Friends on Saturday, Dec. 17, at Malibu City Hall, from 9 to 11 a.m. Enjoy a merry morning in Malibu with a chance to meet Santa Claus and a couple of his friends from the North Pole. For $5 per person, the morning also includes art activities, holiday games, and storytime with the Malibu Library. Reservations are recommended. Visit Malibu for more information.