SAN ANTONIO — Just because Jadyn and Justyce Perez are twins doesn't mean they like the same things. But the love of animals is a strong common bond.
"We both like a lot of animals," Justyce said.
She loves peacocks, basketball, rice, hamburgers, volleyball and soccer. Jadyn, her older sister by one minute, is more of a dinosaur, pizza-loving, basketball and volleyball-playing gal.
"They were four, turning five, when they started this," their mother, Sandra Perez, said.
Perez said her third-graders wanted to follow in the philanthropic footsteps of their sister, Jordyn. The 12-year-old collects gifts for sick kids at The Children's Hospital of San Antonio for her birthday every November.
"It definitely makes my mom's heart happy – yes," Perez said.
Every January, the girls ask their guests to fill the wish list on their birthday invitation for unadopted pets at the Humane Society.
"It kind of has like a list of things that we would like them to bring," Justyce said. "They'll bring it to us and, then we can donate to the shelter."
The Vineyard Ranch Elementary School students have pets of their own – a dog, rabbit and fish named Pebbles.
This effort, however, is more for the animals that need comfort as they wait to find a home. It also gives the animal-loving sisters a chance to visit the pets that benefit from their benevolence.
"It's fun because you get to see the animals playing with their toys right away," Justyce said. "It's just very exciting."
For five years, the girls take a picture in the living room to show their donors the power of giving. A lesson their mother is happy to teach and watch it received.
"Being kind and giving to others," Perez said. "How it's better to give than to receive."
Perez said her home is slightly frenetic around donation time. Deliveries arrive from young benefactors, a stockpile of treats, leashes, collars, food and toys.
"I can't make the party, but we'll leave something on your front door," she said. "Or I just sent something through Amazon. You should be getting it next week."
The most impressive part, she said, of her daughters' drive is that it's inspiring others.
"The trickle effect. That it's catching on at school and with their friends," she said. " I mean – to me – is just huge."
The twins are considering a career as a veterinarian. Justyce is also contemplating becoming a singer.
Right now, the two are content with their charity drive for the animals. They already have January in view.
"I think it's going to be a lot bigger than this year's," Jadyn said.