Contributed by:
Robert Reichstein
Communications Chairman

House pets are very intuitive.   They mirror the emotions of the humans around them.  If you have a house pet, you know when you are happy so are they…angry or sad, they feel it too.  When the air is rich with excitement of a celebration, they get excited as well.

Homeless pets living in shelters and rescues are no different. Around the holidays, they feel the excitement as well from the staff and visitors. You know that feeling of just being a little more excited about your celebration plans.  However, shelter pets do not get to join in their family’s celebration. It’s just another night at the shelter.   Desert Ridge residents, Marcie and Rob Reichstein set out to change that.  They believe shelter pets deserve a holiday treat too, so they created, The Santa Paws Project.Org. in 2014.

The Santa Paws project collects donations of new dog and cat toys to be distributed to all the pets in residence at Maricopa Country Animal Care and Control (MCACC). And the drive is gaining momentum.

In its inaugural year 400 toys were collected. Since 2015, with the help of the Aviano Community Center, Fireside Community Center, The Desert Ridge Community Association (DRCA), Earnhardt North Scottsdale Hyundai, and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services AZ Properties, and Kong, collections have exceeded 1,600. Enough for every shelter Pet at MCACC to have their own holiday gift. But, The Santa Paws Project is not stopping there!

The Reichstein’s goal is to provide a holiday treat for every sheltered house pet in the Valley.  Ambitious? “Not really when you consider how many pet loving humans we have in the valley” Marcie points out.  It’s just a matter of getting the word out. Thanks to the community residents, DRCA, CCMC, FirstService Residential, The Phoenix Dog magazine, and the growing list of enterprises signing on as collection locations, this year is already off to a great start. PetSense, headquartered in Scottsdale, has already donated over 450 toys and supplies. With all these wonderful organizations help, Marcie feels confident that the Santa Paws Project will achieve its goal.

This year collections will begin November 20th and run through December 15th.  Locations will be posted on the website and on Facebook//   We will accept collections at the Aviano Petapalooza on November 5th at the Aviano Park.

For more information about The Santa Paws Project .org Please feel free to contact Marcie or Rob at 602-551-6314, or the web site http//

The Santa Paws Project does not accept monetary donations.  If instead of dropping a toy at a location and you wish instead to make a financial donation, please contact Jose Santiago, Public Information Officer at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control 2500 South 27th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85009. 602-506-2759

Thank you!