A 13-Year-Old Made a Website that Helps Match You with the Perfect Shelter Pet


Finding the perfect pet for your family can be an extremely daunting task. First, you have to decide what kind of animal to get. Then you need the perfect place to locate your perfect pet.

It’s pretty common to hear the phrase “Adopt, don’t shop,” when you’re thinking of buying a pet, and one 8th grader’s class project has found the easiest way to go about doing so.

Thirteen-year-old Aiden Horwitz created a website that matches a potential dog adopter to a shelter dog that would match the adopter’s lifestyle.

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During the Austin Jewish Academy student’s research for her Passion Project class to create the survey and website, she found an occurring problem.

“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.

According to Austin Pets Alive, more adopters are needed to keep up with the growing number of dogs and cats that end up in shelters — as puppy and kitty season hit around the same time every year.

Would you use this website if it was available in your city?

Horwitz’s 13 question survey could help eliminate the reason pets end up back in shelters. The questions cover what kind of home an adopter has, their family, and the attention they’ll be able to provide the dog.

Her project was inspired by Royce, a deaf 3-year-old cattle dog mix who has been in the shelter for over two years. Even with the launch of her new website, the 8th grader is still trying to find the dog a home.

“I would pick her up and pick Royce up and we would go around town sometimes. We would try to get him adopted, take pictures,” Heath Kantrowitz, Horwitz’s mentor for the project, said.

So far, her website has 10,000 views and five dogs have been adopted in the process, but Horwitz’s work has only just begun.

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She plans on adding more shelters around the state of Texas to continue to match people with animals near where they live.

“My very big goal is that there’s no need for animal shelters,” Horwitz said.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith