Holiday display benefits furry friends

Published 7:55 am Saturday, November 27, 2010

Contributing Writer

CHOCOWINITY — A Chocowinity woman is determined to make this holiday season as cheerful as she can for her furry friends.
Louise Buffalo and her family have adorned the yard of their home, located at 1859 Old New Bern Road, with a myriad of Christmas decorations and colorful lights in an effort to draw attention to the plight of abandoned animals.
“I am doing it because the Beaufort County animal-control people are in need of cat and dog food, or donations to buy cleaning supplies and other items,” said Buffalo as she surveyed the collection of decorations that would make even the elves at Santa’s workshop envious. “I’m an animal lover, and there are so many people that are cruel to animals. As far as I’m concerned, animals have a right to eat and celebrate and have a good time.”
To that end, the Buffalo family will host a fundraiser lawn party Dec. 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and those attending are asked to bring pet food or make a monetary donation.
Assisted by her daughters, Amber and Maria, her husband Dale and her father, Leonard Martin, Buffalo began hanging lights well before Halloween. While others are just now thinking about holiday decorations, Buffalo was determined not to wait until the last minute to express her love of Christmas.
“It took us about two and a half weeks to get everything done, and we’re still putting things up,” she said. “We’ll put something out here and then stand back and change it or put more up.”
The family worked on the display up to 12 hours each day, sometimes starting as early as 6:30 a.m. By last weekend, the collection included countless clear and colored lights, several Santas, a line of reindeer led, of course, by Rudolph and several inflatable figures, among them a penguin, pig, snowmen, teddy bear and toy soldier.
Buffalo said she particularly wanted to blend secular decorations with religious reminders of the true nature of Christmas, placing a nativity scene near a collection of homemade Santas in a tent.
“I think there’s something here for everyone, from children to senior citizens,” she said.
Buffalo began planning her display nearly a year ago. She scoured after-Christmas sales for bargain-priced decorations, and she added even more to her collection by wisely sifting through yard-sale and flea-market items.
She said her neighbors have responded enthusiastically to the display, and travelers often pause to admire the family’s efforts.
“We have people that will stop out here, pull off the side of the road and sit for maybe five or 10 minutes,” she said.
Buffalo added that she hopes those who enjoy the display will consider dropping off a few cans of pet food; the family has placed a box near the roadside to gather such donations. Anyone wishing to support the family’s efforts may mail checks, payable to Beaufort County Animal Control, to P.O. Box 214, Chocowinity, N.C. 27817.
“Everything we get will go to animal control,” Buffalo pledged.