NHS Volunteers Keep Shelter Open, Complete Adoptions Christmas Eve

By on December 21, 2015

By and large, the Nebraska Humane Society’s typical “business” shuts down for Christmas Eve. For the past 15 years, however, dedicated NHS volunteers have opened the shelter on Christmas Eve to complete adoptions.

Volunteers at NHS are unquestionably special. “Even if we didn’t do adoptions on Christmas Eve,” says Pam Wiese of the Nebraska Humane Society, “they would be here walking the dogs and enriching the cats.  There will be a group that comes in on Christmas day as well to give attention, love and food to the animals so our care staff can take the day off.”

They are dedicated, true to the mission and absolutely worth their weight in gold, says Wiese, exemplifying the adage that “it’s better to give than to receive,” every day of the year- not just on Christmas.

While dispatch is still in service and animal control will still run priority calls on Christmas Eve, training, licensing and most other services don’t operate out of consideration for the people who make the shelter go.  The dedicated and caring volunteers, however, still come in “because they want to be a part of the ‘Christmas spirit’ of giving and making a difference,” says Wiese. Rather than having animals sitting alone over the holiday, volunteers work with adopters so pets can find a home.



“Getting animals into new homes is their passion, so this was a natural project for them,” says Wiese, speaking of the volunteers.



Adoptions take place inside the building now, but volunteers used to take the PAW (Pet adoption on wheels) to the front parking lot and complete adoptions there. But moving the animals out there–especially in the cold–is a lot of work, especially when adopters could be cozy and warm inside the shelter.

“Now they bring in cookies and goodies and have a good time while they make the lives bright for the adopters,” says Wiese.

Chet Bressman, long-time volunteer at the shelter, is a retired Union Pacific employee and has given more than a full-time job’s schedule to the shelter since leaving U.P. “A lot of volunteers don’t have families in town, so they come to the shelter,” he says. Being there for the animals is most important to Bressman, but he works the holidays in part so the staff can go home and spend time with family.

“To some of the volunteers, the shelter is family, so they enjoy coming in even on the holidays,” he says.

The event always provides memories and happy endings for Bressman and his fellow NHS volunteers. “A couple of years ago, we delivered a puppy on Christmas day to one of the local TV hosts,” he says. “We had a Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus join us. Needless to say it was a big hit.”

The day is also great because the shelter gets a lot of donations for the animals.”The volunteers make this whole day possible,” Bressman says. “It’s always a blessing to have an animal in a home for Christmas.”

To the question of whether adoptions should take place and animals should be given as gifts for the holidays, Bressman says new volunteers think pets will be returned after Christmas, but “it’s almost never the case. I think we only have had one animal returned.” The shelter has done as many as 37 adoptions and as few as 12 over the years. The amount of adoptions the shelter does depends on how many animals it has at the time.

This year, the shelter’s volunteers will host adoptions inside the building from 11 am to 2 pm on Christmas Eve. Whether you are interested in adopting or not, stop by if you’ve got time to provide company, bring some goodies or donate to the shelter.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply