SHERIDAN — The interim director of the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter will step out of her position as someone close to her steps in — her sister.

Julie Chadwick filled in as interim director when former director Debbie Crawford vacated the position. Chadwick’s sister, Jill Moriarty, chose to resign from her position as executive director of the Big Horn Equestrian Center to return to the thing she loves most — working with animals.

“It’s a natural kind of progression to get back into some of the heart work,” Moriarty said, who also previously served on the board of directors for CHAPS Equine Assisted Therapy. “And some of the programs Julie has developed with the staff (is great).

“…I like some of the ambassadorship of it,” Moriarty continued. “She’s got the systems in place and the programs and a really great staff, so my focus is going to be to grow some of those programs.”

Chadwick started in the interim role thinking it might be something she could tackle in a part-time capacity, but she quickly recognized the position required full-time leadership.

“The board and I came to that conclusion and started a search,” Chadwick said.

The search resulted in many out-of-state applicants and a large, yet underqualified, pool. Chadwick asked her sister if she was interested in applying, and when Chadwick found out Moriarty was, she recused herself from the search and handed over the hiring process to the shelter’s board of directors. Moriarty was hired shortly after.

Both women, though, are still wearing two hats — Chadwick is helping Moriarty transition into the position and Moriarty is still helping the equestrian center while that nonprofit continues searching for Moriarty’s replacement.

Moriarty is excited for what her sister established for the shelter and is eager to fully invest her time in the new endeavor. While Chadwick was director, she helped establish programs that paired senior animals with senior citizens for companionship and paired military veterans with dogs to train them to be emotional support animals. The veteran program has successfully sent seven dogs to be emotional support animal companions to veterans across the nation. The national impact especially draws Moriarty to her new position.

“It becomes where it’s not just a local mission or program,” Moriarty said. “And that’s what I like about it, too. It’s serving across the country, not just right here.”

Chadwick has remained fairly quiet about the programs during their development stages, but she feels now is a great time to start involving the community more. Moriarty’s focus will be to promote the programs Chadwick secured to find homes for orphaned animals.

Moriarty faces challenges, as well. The nearly at-capacity facility requires the director and staff to be methodical when receiving stray animals into the shelter. To alleviate some of the space issues at the shelter, the entity runs a foster pet parent program that allows pets to live in foster homes until they are adopted by a family. The shelter pays for all the expenses of the pet while it is being fostered.

The shelter also has the possibility of acquiring cats from the Second Chance Cat Rescue if that entity cannot relocate from its current rental space by February 2019. Chadwick said they will support Second Chance as best they can in the upcoming year.

Soon, Chadwick will be able to devote full focus to her full-time job at Sheridan Media and Moriarty will officially retire her equestrian center hat to move full force into the shelter director position.