The Siberian husky with no name is excited to see Christmas Day visitors.

The black and white mix with one blue eye is up on his hind legs, barking an excited greeting from his kennel, hoping for a little extra loving on Christmas Day -- well, any day really.

Blue-eye isn’t the only lost husky at the admissions and assessment pet shelter, where animals wait in case someone is looking for them and where they get checked out before being sent over to the city’s new Capital Humane Society Pieloch Pet Adoption Center.

The young husky is a few kennels down from the little screamer, a hyper Yorkie insistent you stop and listen to her complaints. She's next to the quiet, white Maltese mix recovering from a fever, and not far from the black Labrador with a sign on his kennel -- “I like to bolt.”

Down the hallway in six smaller rooms are the cats, mostly strays. A few are quietly hiding in the back of their kennels, but most are rubbing against the front looking for friends. 

It's Christmas Day for 70 to 80 animals in the Capital Humane Society's admissions and assessment building, at 3320 Park Blvd.

Raina Keel, animal care staff member, leans over to touch the young husky’s muzzle as she works her way down the line, feeding these dogs their evening meal.

“We get huskies a lot,” said Keel. “They love to run.” And once they figure out they can jump a fence, well, they make it a habit, she said.

Keel volunteered to work Christmas Day, feeding and cleaning kennels and cages in the morning, then feeding the dogs, cats, a half a dozen rabbits, a chicken and a rooster in the afternoon.

In between she celebrated Christmas with her family, opened up her presents – mostly gift cards to help with an upcoming move.

It feels good to come into work to take care of the animals, she says. They need to be fed, whether it's the holiday or not. 

This Dec. 25 there are probably 30 to 40 dogs and as many cats, down from the full days of summer, she said.

The husky with the blue eye isn’t quite ready for adoption. The staff at the Humane Shelter are monitoring him for seizures.

In another room six terrier-Chihuahua puppies -- who will have no trouble finding homes when they reach the adoption shelter -- are being treated for kennel cough.

The three girls, so little that staff keep cardboard across the bottom of their kennel so they can’t sneak out, roll around while Keel plays with them.

The admissions and assessment facility includes a vet surgery suite where animals are spayed and neutered and are treated for other ailments. 

The society is in the midst of a remodeling project at the admission and assessment building, doubling the size of the veterinary clinic, said president and CEO Bob Downey. He hopes that with additional grants it can increase the number of cats it can spay and neuter for low-income cat owners, a program started earlier this year.

But on Christmas Day, the vet staff are off. It's just Keel and the hungry critters.  

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.



Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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