Ransom Everglades senior Abby Sekoff wants to be a vet.
“I’m thinking I want to do small animals and exotics,” she says.
She started caring for animals in middle school by going to PetSmart to help Paws4You adoption events. And now as a high school student she volunteers at South Miami Vets and Pets in Pinecrest.
“I’m volunteering and gaining amazing experience,” she says. “This is my fourth year. I go whenever I’m off from school.”
Sekoff says her Nana sparked a passion for animals. She taught her about animals and showed her that they should be treated with kindness and compassion.
“Ever since I was little, I was rescuing animals. I protected lizards from the cold,” she says. “I would take in stray cats and dogs.”
When she does find a stray, she works relentlessly to find the owner.
“I’ve never had an issue where I had to keep a dog more than a few days,” she says.
One of her most recent rescues was a rabbit. She kept it a week and a half before giving him to East Coast Rabbit Rescue. She couldn’t keep him because she already has two rabbits and three dogs.
It turns out that rabbits are often abandoned because people lose interest in taking care of them and seem to think the rabbits can fend for themselves in the wild.
At school, she started a club called REscue that works with Paws4You and other animal rescue groups such as Miami-Dade Animal Services. Club members go twice a month but she tries to go other times as well.
“We go to the Paws4You retreat and we help out cleaning out the kennel and washing (the dogs) for their outings to PetSmart,” she says.
When researching organizations to work with, she found Redland Rockpit Abandoned Dog Project. She went out with the group once to search for dogs dumped in the Redland area.
“They go to different stops and leave out food in other areas,” she says. “I went out with them with my parents to go see. I want to get more involved in the organization.”
The Ransom student tries to raise awareness at school about the issue of animal homelessness.
Sekoff also volunteers for Friendship Circle. This is her fourth year in the Friends at Home part of the program. She and her friend visit a 16-year old girl with special needs.
“We go and hang out with her,” Sekoff says. “We sometimes take her to lunch. We play games.”
They have visited the same girl all four years, so they are close. Sekoff says working with the teen reminds her to be happy.
“My special friend is always super happy and super energetic and looks at the bright side of things,” she says.
At Ransom she’s also a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the Spanish Honor Society and the National Honor Society.
Most of her free time is devoted to playing softball and basketball. She’s was an All Dade Honorable Mention this year in basketball and team captain.
In softball she has been All Dade Second Team for three years and also team captain. She used to play the outfield but last year she was pressed into service as a pitcher and will continue in that role next season.
“I guess now I’m a pitcher,” she says.
This summer Sekoff is visiting potential colleges and checking out softball camp programs. Some of the colleges on her preliminary list include the University of Florida, Maryland, Wesleyan and Tufts.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld