By Jasmine Willis
WAYLAND — There are two things that can brighten the day for children; animals and Santa Claus.
Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Two had its Fourth Annual Dinky Doo Christmas on Dec. 15.
Cherie Carter, owner, said it was a huge turnout this year for both days despite the snowstorm on Saturday, Dec. 14.
“We had people calling up asking if Santa Claus was still here on Saturday. People came down in the snowstorm all the way from Geneseo to see Santa Claus. I had a great event here at the zoo. The community support was really amazing this year,” she said.
Sonja Bates, a recent volunteer, said the holiday event is really great for the entire community.
“We have the best Santa Claus. Santa Claus knows the words to all the Christmas songs and will sing in tune with the kids. It is so cute to see the little kids with him,” she said.
Marla Bryant, said she has enjoyed being a volunteer at the zoo.
“This has become a place of healing for me since I suffer from Multiple Scoliosis. It allows me to get out of the house and be part of the community. This place is an excellent source of therapy for me,” she said. “I really love the ideas that Cherie comes up with to help the community and children. She has such a big heart for everyone.”
Autumn Priest has become a great friend and supporter to Carter recently. She has helped a lot with animals and taking care of the place.
The newest animal to come to the fold is Dusty the French Lop Bunny. There will be baby Guinee Pigs in the springtime. The Easter Egg Hunt will be the start of the new season again next year in the end of March or start of April. The zoo will be closed for the winter from January to March.
Carter finally gets to have some time with her family this holiday season, and plans to go back home for at least a week.
“As always I am very grateful to all of my volunteers, she said. “Thanks to Autumn being around to help me out this year I will get to go home for long than a couple days to see my family. I plan on spending the Christmas week with them.”
Carter said she still has a dream of turning this place into a sanctuary for the troubled youth of the area.
“We all have a little past history that haunts us, and we need some good guidance in this world. I think the kids nowadays especially need this kind of guidance. Lots of them have no other place to go. I want to figure out a program to help them build confidence, self-worth, and use their hands to build things here,” she said. “These kids need to know they are loved and taught how to interact with others. I hope I can turn this into a house for guidance and love for children.”
Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Two and Spirit Leather Shop are located at 1864 Route 63 in Wayland. It is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.