On Nov. 17 the Catoosa County Library was bustling with holiday spirit. Children were coloring and creating crafts and munching on snacks, the front of the library was full of folks cuddling cats and petting dogs, and Santa ... Santa was wandering around without his suit, hoping no one would notice.

Not to worry, the jolly elf was wearing his everyday clothes, but children were hoping to share their Christmas wishes with someone in red and white with a big black belt and shiny boots.

The event was Tales for Tails, a program for children and an outreach to the community by the library and North Georgia Animal Alliance. Santa came along with NGAA, but somehow his suit got left behind.

Shannon to the rescue (no pun intended)! The library’s children’s director, Shannon Neal, dug through a bin full of costumes and voila! – Dave Mayo, an NGAA volunteer who had offered to serve as Santa, became Santa’s cat (in the Hat) – in overalls.

Children were slightly taken aback at finding Santa’s cat instead of Santa himself, but they warmed to the giant kitty quickly. One young gentleman told Santa’s cat all about how he used to be a pirate, right down to how he lost his ship.

“I bet I can guess your name,” said Santa’s cat. “Captain Nemo.”

“No,” said the former pirate. “Jack Sparrow.”

Other children told Santa’s cat what they hoped to find under the tree Christmas morning and he promised to take the messages back to the North Pole with him.

In addition to the library activities and Santa’s cat, NGAA brought eight cats they have for adoption and the Walker County Shelter brought two dogs they’re trying to adopt out together because they’ve become so bonded. NGAA decorated the Christmas tree they have at the library each year, and the library donated a bag of supplies to NGAA.

Also on hand and helping with the activities were the Ringgold-based youth organization LYFT and members of Ringgold High School’s Family, and Community Leaders of America class.

The Catoosa County Library runs programs for children, tweens and teens all year long. They are located at 108 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold, and can be reached at 706-965-3600.

North Georgia Animal Alliance is an animal rescue and adoption organization and offers help with spay/neuter costs for those who qualify. They can be reached at NorthGeorgiaAnimalAlliance.org or at their helpline: 706-937-2287. NGAA is currently in need of volunteers to act as foster parents to dogs and cats waiting for permanent homes.

Anyone interested in adopting the Walker County dogs that were at the event can see them at the Walker County Shelter at 5488 N. Marbletop Road, Chickamauga, or call 706-375-2100.