Texas Middle Schooler Builds Website to Match People with Their Perfect Shelter Dog
"My very big goal is that there's no need for animal shelters."
A 13-year-old girl from Austin is revolutionizing the process of adopting a shelter dog, one click at a time.
Aiden Horwitz, a dog-loving eighth-grader at Austin Jewish Academy (AJA), has spent the past few months building a website to help interested adopters find their ideal pooch. DogDoOrDogDont.org works by asking users 13 survey questions designed to lead them to their perfect match in pup form. The size of the user's home, his/her schedule, and the amount of barking they're will to deal with are all taken into account. Once the survey is complete, users receive a score that will match them with available dogs on the Austin Pets Alive! website. Users who score between zero and 10% are advised that they'd probably be better off with a cat.
The idea reportedly came to Horwitz in an elective at school called the Passion Project. The class requires students to choose something they're passionate about and then design and finish a project based on that interest.
As she researched animal shelters, Horwitz found her passion: limiting the number of dogs who are returned because they're "not the right fit."
"Pretty much over half the dogs that are in shelters are because people get the wrong kind of dog for their family," Horwitz told KXAN.
So she set out to build DogDoOrDogDont.org, which is already enjoying considerable success.
"My website has 10,000 views so far, and five dogs have gotten adopted off my website so far," she told the station.
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But there's one dog in particular, the pup that inspired the whole project, that Horwitz is still working to find a home for. Royce, a three-year-old cattle dog mix, is deaf. "He's been in the shelter for over two years," she told KXAN.
But the ambitious teen doesn't plan to stop with Royce. Once he does find a home, Horwitz said she plans to add additional shelters around the state to match people with animals where they live.
"My very big goal is that there's no need for animal shelters," she said.