April 5, 2021

It Runs in the Family

The first pet that fraternal twins Maya and Emily remember was a tiny, semi-feral kitten they named Skittles. Even though socializing Skittles was difficult at first, the twins’ love and gentleness eventually won her over, and Skittles became the spunkiest and feistiest cat who shared their lives.
Two girl twins in pink shirts holding white bunnies
Emily and Maya, age 4, with some furry friends!

And from that moment on, the twins were hooked!

Now, Maya and Emily McFeeley, age 22, both have successful careers doing what they love best – helping animals! Maya works in the behavior department at Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, while her twin sister Emily is on the veterinary team.

Back in early 2019, when the twins had just turned 20 years old, Maya found a position open in the Animal Care Department at HSPPR. She got the job, and when another position opened up, she encouraged Emily to take it “because of all the amazing learning opportunities I was being offered,” Maya said. “This was our first job where we’d be professionally working with reptiles, birds, fish, small mammals, cats, dogs, and even barn animals! Our whole family loves animals; we were raised with them. Between all of us, we own two snakes, a leopard gecko, a chinchilla, two rats, and nine dogs – oh my!”

After they each took a short stint working in the Animal Care Department, they both moved forward into the respective departments that best fit their dreams.

“My dream has always been to work in veterinary medicine ever since I was little,” Emily said. “As much as I loved working and learning in the animal care department, I was elated to receive my position in Hospital.”

Now Emily spends her days caring for sick pets, administering medications, checking vitals, and assisting HSPPR’s full-service veterinary team.

“My eventual career goal is to become a CVT so I can continue to help animals,” Emily said. “I am currently in classes to help that goal along but my experience at the shelter has been invaluable.”

Maya’s goals, however, lie in helping shy dogs comes out of their shells.

“I loved working with the dogs while cleaning the kennel rooms in animal care,” Maya said, “I grew to love the behavior modification process. I wanted to be a bigger part in helping the animals struggling with adjusting to shelter life. It’s a very fulfilling job that allows me to be creative, especially when it comes to providing enrichment, and help our shelter advance in how we assist our behaviorally challenged animals. I am currently pursuing a CCPDT-KA certification, as well as an ABC-DT certification to help with my goal of becoming a professional dog trainer and helping owners modify unwanted behaviors in their dogs.”

It might seem like these twins are very much alike, but Maya said there are plenty of differences.

“I believe Emily and I are the most alike with our humor and passion for animals,” Maya said. “We differ in our personalities though. I am more outgoing where Emily can be a little quieter until she gets to know you.”

But that doesn’t stop these ladies from loving their jobs and sharing their love of animals whenever possible. The twins live together with their menagerie of happy pets: they have two dogs, a snake, and a leopard gecko. And no, they DON’T get tired of seeing each other and sharing happy animal stories whenever possible!

“Because our departments are in opposite areas of the building, we don’t see each other that often,” Maya said. “It is nice to take lunch together though so I can hear about the animals she works with and the ones I’m currently working with. And we get to come in together in the mornings and leave together at the end of the day.”

Two twins in their HSPPR uniforms smile for the camera
Emily and Maya love their respective roles helping pets at HSPPR!

And of course, they share their love of HSPPR and their passion for helping homeless pets in our community.

“We love the fast-paced and constantly changing environment the shelter provides,” the twins agreed. “We both thrive with the constant ability to have new experiences and learn new information about animal welfare. Whether this be interacting with animal species we have never handled or learning about new behavior and handling techniques to keep the animals and staff safe. HSPPR provides amazing learning opportunities to staff at any level of employment that cannot be found anywhere else!”