Selena Schulz is growing up in a family that includes two dogs, and a guinea pig named Desmond.
Once in a while, there also are the stray dogs, cats and unexpected critters that her father brings home.
One time it was a chicken. But, more likely, it’s a friendless dog or cat that Kurt Schulz found on the side of the road. They are all in need of tender loving care.
“He’s a plumber, so he’s out and about,” said Selena’s mother, Jomary Schulz. “He brings them home and rehabilitates them. He and Selena give them baths. We call whatever rescue groups that can help.”
Loving animals is an embedded value for this Hudson family.
Selena, age 12, takes that to heart. She devotes hours of volunteer service to collect donations of supplies and money for animal shelters and animal welfare groups. She is also the author of three books. Donations for the books are split between various animal charities and the costs of printing more books to get more donations.
She will be at the Fourth Annual Oxford Exchange Book Fair in Tampa on April 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel Noon recognized Selena in March as an “Everyday Hero” for her efforts on behalf of animal welfare.
“I’ve always been around animals,” Selena said. “There was never a time I didn’t have a dog. I’ve bonded with them. They’re my friends.”
There is Snowy, a Labrador/German shepherd; Cici, a Shar-Pei/boxer; and Desmond.
The sixth grader is a student at Countryside Montessori Charter School in Land O’ Lakes.
“My future goal is to be a CEO (chief executive officer),” said Selena.
And, to continue helping animals who need a friend and a home, she said.
It was on her eighth birthday that Selena found a way to combine her passion with volunteer service.
She celebrated with a party at Pasco County Animal Services. Instead of gifts, she asked for donations for the animal shelter.
The shelter received more than 120 pounds of dry dog food, 62 pounds of dry cat food, lots of toys and treats, towels, bedding, blankets and one leash.
Selena got the idea during a shelter visit.
“I saw that they weren’t having beds to sleep in,” she said. “They had newspaper piles.”
Birthday presents can be nice, but helping a dog or cat in need seemed more important, Selena said.
Selena has kept up with her volunteer efforts and found new ways to help out.
She has a website, Abedabuckabuddy.com, with links to the nonprofits that receive donations. She has written three books including “Cici’s Amazing Birthday.” Cats got equal time in her next book, “Purr-fect Friends Forever.”
Selena also wrote a song and created a music video.
For her 10th birthday, Selena hosted a community pet adoption event, again at Pasco County Animal Services.
Local businesses donated balloons and refreshments, including cupcakes. Her goal was for 20 dogs and cats (10 of each) to be adopted that day. She got her wish.
At the book fair, Selena will have her newest book, “The Squeaky Surprise,” on display. Desmond gets credit for this one.
She wanted to increase awareness that cats and dogs aren’t the only ones needing adoption from shelters.
One of her favorite charities is Cindy’s Pets. The nonprofit provides pet food to seniors who get meals delivered through Meals on Wheels.
Selena gives donations to the charity. She also helps package and deliver food for the seniors, and their pets.
Some seniors don’t have the means to buy or travel to get pet supplies, so Selena said, “some of the food for the seniors went to their animals.”
Since her eighth birthday, Selena has visited animal shelters across the country and in Canada. She also has been guest speaker at several schools.
“We’ve gone from looking for events to people asking her to be part of their events,” said Jomary Schulz.
What: Fourth Annual Oxford Exchange Book Fair
When: April 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: 420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa
Details: More than 40 local authors will participate
Info: (813) 253-0222; ; or OxfordExchange.com
Published April 18, 2018