ST. CLOUD -- The Tri-County Humane Society is holding their annual Santa Paws fundraiser this weekend.

At the event, families can get professional portraits taken with their pets and Santa Claus with all of the proceeds going to homeless animals in the area.

Merit Ortega, of the Tri-County Humane Society, says the fundraiser is one of the organization's most successful.

"We raise around $7,000 with this one, [and] we end up having around 200 photo sessions throughout the course of the three days," Ortega says.

On occasion, Ortega says, some animals that were adopted from the humane society are seen again at this event.

"It's a lot of fun because we get to see a lot of the alumni from the humane society coming through...which is fun to see," Ortega says.

"And we get to note the progression of new pets in the family if [those] people are coming back year after year."

Ortega says that for her, the event signifies the beginning of the holiday season.

"It really kicks off the holidays for me, it's always [held] the weekend before Thanksgiving and so it kind of gets me into the giving mood," Ortega says.

"I think it's fun for a lot of the people who are coming year after year [too] - it's just a great way to start the season off."

Isaac Schweer, WJON