Area girl and service dog get special meeting with Santa

Rachel Charbeneau and her service dog, Abby, meet St. Nick face-to-face

An area girl is getting a very special visit from Santa.

Rachel Charbeneau and her service dog, Abby, got to meet St. Nick at Valley View Mall Monday evening.

Rachel has autism and was connected with Abby through the Capable Canines program. Abby helps Rachel with daily living activities, while also encouraging her to become more independent and social.

Before the meeting, Rachel said she was excited to meet Santa, but didn’t know how Abby would react.

“I’m kind of nervous about what Abby will think about the beard. She loves people,” Rachel said with a shrug.

Today’s visit with Santa isn’t the only special visit the Mall is working on. They hope to arrange a special meeting with the Easter Bunny in the spring as well.