PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s that time of the year when many people are off work for the holidays — but at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, many of their employees actually look forward to working on Christmas Day.

It’s the most wonderful — and quiet — time of the year at the HSSW. The shelter closes to the public on big holidays like Christmas, but the vice president of the shelter says their staff and volunteers actually want to come in and be with the animals.

A cat at the SW Washington Humane Society, December 14, 2021 (KOIN)

“We have a voluntary sign-up and we typically don’t ever have to find people to do it,” explained VP of Shelter Operations Megan Dennis. “A lot of people really want to do it.”

One employee, Megan Cowden, said it’s a really special time for the workers and animals alike.

“You have so much more quality time you can spend with them because it’s quiet,” Cowden said.

The animals get more walks — and just like humans, they are treated to extra snacks and food.  

A bunny rabbit at the SW Washington Humane Society, December 14, 2021 (KOIN)

“A lot of the younger animals are getting the time to run outside in the snow if it’s snowing outside, or play with cat treats, catnip, treats like that,” Michelle Reeves, the cat team supervisor said. “Sometimes we sit and read a book with them and hang out.”

Getting more one-on-one time as they hope for a forever home, these furry friends will be cared for by their extended family — who get just as much out of this as the animals do.

“Knowing the comfort that gives to a lot of people, be it a family, an older person, a single person… it’s just the companion aspect of it that really gives you that warm and cozy feeling,” volunteer Ann Taylor said.

A dog at the SW Washington Humane Society, December 14, 2021 (KOIN)

If you’re interested in welcoming a new pet into your home this holiday season, check out the HSSW adoption page.