At just the age of 12, Elyana Smith took an interest in helping her local animal shelter, the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. After visiting the shelter, she began fostering shelter dogs with the help of her family. Over the course of 3 years, Elyana has fostered over 70 dogs of all breeds and ages. As she became more involved with the shelter, Elyana became increasingly interested in the importance of pet adoption. She started a website, Adopt Don’t Shop Portland, aiming to educate people in her community about her mission and the importance of adopting pets from shelters like the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.
Elyana’s website features the adoption stories of her dogs as well as others, statistics and facts about shelter pets, and different ways people can help shelter pets. This spring, she stapled flyers around Portland asking people to share their pets’ adoption stories for her site to promote the importance of adopting shelter pets as opposed to buying from breeders. As part of her cause, Elyana will be traveling to Mexico in July to assist the many stray dogs there that call the streets home. She has created a Go Fund Me page to help cover her costs of travel.
Because of her dedication to helping animals, Elyana was chosen as a 2019 Northeast Credit Union Nice Catch Kind Kid. The Nice Catch program is a partnership between NECU and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Portland Sea Dogs Minor League Baseball teams that recognizes kids 18 and under for their kind acts.
For more information on Elyana’s cause, visit her website.