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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on NYC 11 Year Old Is Helping Shelter Dogs Get Adopted

NYC 11 Year Old Is Helping Shelter Dogs Get Adopted

An 11-year-old boy in Bronx, NY, is this year’s ASPCA Kid of the Year because of his efforts to help socialize shelter dogs at Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC). Evan Bisnauth leads a busy life in the Bronx, but he doesn’t let his many interests — or even a pandemic — deter him from his primary passion: helping socialize adoptable dogs by reading to them regularly.

In the summer of 2019 Evan’s mom, Amanda Persaud, heard about Books With Boroughbreds, an Animal Care Center program that encourages children to enhance their reading skills by reading to abandoned dogs. She took the bus with her son the following weekend from their home in the Bronx to the shelter in Manhattan. “I spent five hours reading to every dog on the first day,” said Evan, who is now in sixth grade. “After that, I wanted to go every weekend.”

He also creates amusing animations of ACC’s adoptable animals to help them get attention and ultimately be placed in safe and loving homes. When the coronavirus pandemic put his Saturday visits on hold last year, Evan decided to start a Facebook page, EB and the Pets, where he could post short videos he’d made of dogs that needed homes. The shelter supplied Evan with photos of dogs that were most in need of adoption and he got to work making videos with help from an app.

Evan also came up with the idea of interviewing shelter dogs to show their personality to potential adopters. “During COVID, I was not able to go in person and I needed to find a fun way to showcase the dogs and put them in a positive light. It’s like a little show. I’d ask them questions about themselves so people could see how they behave, what they like…information about them,” he said. “So I couldn’t be there, but I could get them the exposure they need.”

The ASPCA announced the recipients of the 2021 Humane Awards, an event to honor people and pets from across the nation who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare. Evan was named Kid of the Year and was among other ASPCA award winners at a virtual luncheon to celebrate their commitment to animal welfare. “It makes me feel really good … but it also makes me want to do so much more,” he said. He said he hopes the award might inspire other people his age to help shelter animals in their own communities. “Helping dogs has brought me a lot of happiness. If everybody would read to dogs and try to get them adopted, think how much difference that would make in the world.”

Adoptions of shelter animals increased during the pandemic as more people stayed home, and in some cities, there was actually a shortage of adoptable dogs for a time. Some 90 percent of dogs adopted during the pandemic have remained in their adoptive homes. Evan’s crusade to help dogs in New York City has helped raise awareness and make older or unsociable dogs more adoptable, said Risa Weinstock, president and CEO of Animal Care Center.

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