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‘Abby the Elf’ brings Christmas cheer
Local groomer uses pet-safe dyes to color dog for holiday parades
Abby gets dyed for the holidays every year, so she can visit people who need a Christmas lift, and even walks in a parade or two. - photo by Jim Dean

Walking through downtown Dahlonega, ‘Abby the Elf’ stood out.

Though her attire — a green Santa jacket, neatly outlined by a black belt —blended in with the dozens of local residents decked out in Christmas garb as they gathered for the city’s Old Fashioned Christmas Parade, Abby was different.

Instead of walking on two legs like the locals, the pup — one of Sherry Freeman’s, owner of Couture Cuts Pet Salon, rescue dogs — walked on four, her legs shaved to create two sets of boots and her tail dyed red.

“I just really love Christmas and I thought it would be a cool way to add Christmas spirit to my shop,” Freeman said. “I’m part of what’s called creative grooming and we do all sorts of things, though last year was my first color where we completely dyed the dog. This year will be the second time we do a full color.”

This holiday season, Freeman is gearing up to once again dye Abby as part of an effort to socialize the dog and spread Christmas cheer to locals.

The groomer, who has been grooming pets for more than two-and-a-half decades, opened her Cumming shop in August 2013, though began the Christmas dying several years later.

She said she uses only dog-safe dyes and that the pup loves the attention she gets when Freeman enters her in holiday parades.

“When I rescued her, [Abby] had fear aggression and was actually going to be euthanized because of it,” Freeman said. “I started doing this to socialize her more and she has come so far that she has no fear with people anymore. In last year’s parades, she was a hit and some people even jumped out into the middle of the road to take pictures with her. She loved it.”

Freeman said while Abby turned heads in Dahlonega and Ball Ground’s annual parades last year, she’s hoping to add Gainesville’s “Christmas on Green Street” to this year’s lineup — the city’s annual parade, tree lighting and holiday festivities — though that event requires a float to enter, which takes precious time from the already-busy groomer.

“What I’d love is for someone to use [Abby] as their mascot for charitable donations this year,” Freeman said. “I [love] working with her and helping her grow into her own and seeing people get the joy out of seeing the dog colored while bringing more cheer to their Christmas, but it would be even [better] if I could help a charity out — that would just rock my world.”

More information about Freeman’s services and dying can be found at