Loved your description. That pretty much described Pyrate's first Santa encounter when he was a pup. He did actually go up to Santa and tug at the beard after getting comfortable around him. I think he recognized Santa's scent or voice as my vet's helper and the scent helped him calm down.
Snake Vom Eselspfad RN CGC (AKA Raina) 3/5/08
Pyrate CGC 4/1/03-5/16/12 RIP
Too many to list waiting at the bridge but remembering them all