Middle school student creates website to match families with shelter pups

Posted on: May 14th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Austin Jewish Academy(AUSTIN, Texas) — An amazing 13-year-old student from Texas is doing her best to make sure every shelter dog in her area is not only adopted, but rescued by the right person or family.

Aiden Horwitz, an eighth-grade student at Austin Jewish Academy, came up with “Dog Do or Dog Don’t” to help others avoid pain she suffered years ago.

This brilliant young woman from Austin got her first dog, Roscoe, when she was just 5 years old, but her mother was allergic and they had to give the dog to a family friend.

“It was terrible having to give him to another family,” she told ABC News. “But I didn’t want to put him back in the shelter, either.”

After trying again later, the Horwitz family now has three lucky pups and couldn’t be happier.

But some families that adopt a puppy that isn’t the right fit aren’t as lucky as the Horwitz’s. They end up returning the dog to the shelter — not because they don’t love their furry friend, but because, among other reasons, they can’t afford to keep them or can’t properly take care of the animal.

That’s where her website comes in. You answer 13 simple questions, like the size of your home, your schedule and more, to make sure you match up with the dog that is right for you.

This revolutionary idea sprang out of Austin Jewish Academy’s passion project program for eighth graders, during which they spend the better part of the year working on something they feel strongly about.

“I discovered one of the main reasons why dogs are in shelters is that people get the wrong kind of dog for them and family,” she said. “Through the survey, you’d be surprised what kinds of dogs fit into certain categories.”

As a partner for the project, Horwitz chose Austin Pets Alive, specifically one dog, Royce.

A deaf pit bull, Royce is a lab mix, and Horwitz thinks people just don’t understand how sweet the pup is and how easily he could fit into a family. Royce has become kind of a mascot for the program and the student hopes to not just get him adopted, but hundreds of others, too.

She’s been contacted by other local shelters and even Pet Finder to expand the survey and the program possibly outside of Austin.

“It’s been amazing to sit back and watch her follow her passion,” said Heather Kantrowitz, Aiden’s teacher and mentor for the project. “There was no doubt in my mind she could do this and my main take away is seeing how committed she’s been to seeing this idea through.”

Kantrowitz said Aiden’s spent the weekends driving to other areas and shelters with Royce to spread the word about these lovable, adoptable pups.

Another teacher at the school, Kathy Rosenmann, said all the projects in the program are about making the world a better place.

“We have one student who is very passionate about saving the coral reefs,” she said. “Another student created a video editing business and all the money earned is donated to take professional pictures of kids who are terminally ill and gives them to the family. The results have been inspiring.”

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