Frustrated By Rescued Dogs Dumped Back At Shelters, One Texan Tween Is Schooling Adults On Responsible Pet Ownership

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Rescuing an animal is a wonderful thing, when it sticks — according to a 2013 study by the American Humane Association, one out of every 10 rescued pets finds themselves back at the shelter within six months.

Animals are returned for all sorts of reasons, some being much better than others. Many new pet owners find themselves unable to cope with the costs, allergies, barking and/or bad or destructive behaviors. Others were returned for acting in ways that could have easily been resolved with veterinary care. Still more are brought back because the landlord didn’t allow animals; one unlucky Labrador was even exchanged because his owners evidently believed they were buying Chihuahua.

However, 13-year-old Aiden Horwitz, is showing the adults what it means to be a responsible pet owner. Her new website, DogDoOrDogDont.org, asks aspiring pet owners 14 simple questions about how they’d handle certain pet scenarios, then calculates their overall suitability to canine care. Questions examine the size of your apartment or house, if you rent or own, and whether or not the property comes with a fenced-in backyard. Others consider your means to provide dog toys and crates, your tolerance of barking, and weighs your commitment to dog-walking. If you score too low, Horwitz’s system might politely suggest that you opt for a cat.

Meanwhile, if your score suggests an aptitude to become a good dog owner, the website handily notes which type of dog might will match your lifestyle, based on your scored responses to the survey. There’s even a link to adoptable animals at the Austin shelter Horwitz has chosen as a beneficiary. Even if you’re not in or around Austin, this quiz could still help you scout out your ideal canine companion. After all, per that 2013 study, the rescues most successfully matched were placed with owners who did their homework upfront.

Take Aiden Horwitz’s quiz to see whether or not you’re ready to own a dog!

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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