SEBRING - Deb Olson and her daughter, Katie Davis, could have been home sharing time with family on Christmas morning.
But, instead, they were at the Humane Society of Highlands County animal shelter helping to feed dogs and cats and provide the animals with food and treats. The dogs also got bones, courtesy of Rachel Arndt and Dawn Hanrahan.
"It's a great way to spend Christmas," Olson said. "I'm just an animal lover and I wanted to help."
Judy Spiegel, board president of the Humane Society, said she felt the animals should not be neglected on the holiday.
For the past few weeks, Spiegel and others involved with the Humane Society have been seeking food and toys for animals at the shelter.
"We did better than we did last year," she said. "Everybody (the dogs and cats) got toys and bones."
Inside the office building for the Humane Society, the floor was filled with cat and dog toys, cat and dog treats and bags and cans of food.
"While it looks like a lot of food, we go through it very quickly," Spiegel said. Still, she added, there's enough for the animals to be well fed for some time. Some of the food included pricier brands than those used normally.
It took more than a few minutes for Spiegel and others to feed 65 dogs and 70 cats.
Not everyone in the animal world was in the Christmas spirit. After Spiegel placed food in one area that housed two dogs, the canines started growling and fighting each other. Spiegel, who by that time had moved onto to another area, rushed back to try to get the dogs to stop fighting.
Eventually, one was removed.
But most of the dogs and cats appeared to be excited over the prospect of getting food and toys.
Dylan Gilleo, one of the participants in the Christmas event, said he comes to the shelter on a non-regular basis to help Spiegel.
He said he has four cats and two dogs at home.
For Olson, helping during the Christmas event was giving back to the shelter. Her daughter had adopted a pug puppy from the shelter that "has brought such joy to the family. We wouldn't have gotten her if she hadn't been donated to the shelter."