It Won’t Be Easy, But It’ll Be Worth It

The animal enthusiast.

When we were younger, we gave a couple common answers as to what we wanted to be when we grew up—an astronaut, a veterinarian, a firefighter—and many of these answers are no longer a part of our goals, but for senior Allie Regalado, that is far from the truth. She is pursuing her childhood dreams and making them a reality. She is going to be a vet.

This year, Regalado participated in an internship with the Brentwood Animal Campus in Franklin, Wisconsin. This work-study program allows her to shadow a real veterinarian and help in various ways with the animals. This specific clinic is not an emergency clinic or hospital—it only takes scheduled appointments. Certain mornings consist of different scheduled surgeries, like neuters and dental procedures, and the afternoons are mostly wellness exams and regular appointments. Lately, Regalado does more of what veterinary technicians do; she has taken a blood draw from multiple animals, helped restrain them during different exams and has even expressed anal glands of some animals.

“It is hard work, but I feel like it is so rewarding in order to make a difference,” Regalado said. “Nothing that’s worth it comes easy. You have to put in work.”

Anatomy is her favorite class because it pertains to the field she wants to study, and she is able to apply what she learned in the class to conversations and real life situations at the clinic.

The most influential person in Regalado’s life has been her mom because she has always supported her no matter what she does, whether it be in life or school.

As for her work with animals, Hannah Shaw, a humane educator and animal rescuer, sparked Regalado’s interest in the animal welfare field. Although she doesn’t know Shaw personally, she follows her on Instagram and has learned about animal welfare through her.

Regalado played high school tennis all four years and was on the varsity team sophomore through senior years; she was also a part of National Honors Society. Though she was more involved in the school than a lot of her peers, she regrets that she did not try to start a new club: an animal rights club. Her passion for helping animals is shaping her future and she wishes she could have shared her knowledge with other high school students, but she hopes to get more involved in college where there are endless opportunities to express her love for animals.

Regalado sees college as a new start, as a place where she can be whoever she wants. She looks forward to being more vocal and use her voice to express herself. She is ready to step out of the confines of high school and break the walls that once made up her comfort zone.

“Nobody knows that I’m this quiet person, so if I don’t come off that way, then they’ll never know it,” Regalado said. “[College] will allow me to reinvent myself.”

She applied to three schools in Florida and decided on the University of Florida, where she hopes to one day participate in their veterinary school.

“I heard vet school is more competitive than med school, so it’ll be tough,” Regalado said.

Even though the University of Florida is about 16 hours away from Antioch, Regalado is not worried about feeling alone or homesick. Her grandparents live in Florida, only a few hours away from her school, and her brother goes to Florida Gulf Coast University. Florida is a second home for her and she is eager to have exposure to a different area of the country.

Besides getting into the vet school in Florida, she has some other goals she wants to accomplish after high school. She would like to keep up with her internship for as long as she can during the summer, and keep experiencing anything and everything about being a veterinarian. In general, she wants to challenge herself to be more vocal and put herself out there.

Regalado has always cared about her education; she will be finishing high school with a cumulative grade point average of 4.5. Getting good grades is one of Regalado’s major focuses in college, and setting herself up to succeed in the future is a priority.

Another goal of Regalado’s is to study abroad at some point.

“I’d imagine myself working on animals in Thailand or going to Africa and working with elephants in an elephant sanctuary or something,” Regalado said.

She hopes to make big strides in the animal welfare community; there are different specialties, and she would like to specialize in shelter medicine, to bring the animal wellness aspect into it. Shelter medicine is an area that will have more emergent and interesting cases, compared to the clinic that she interns for at the moment. In many cases, the schedule for the type of vet that she wants to be is not fixed and usually pays less than other types of vets.

“It’s not about the money, it’s about the animals,” Regalado said. “And just making the world a better place to live in. While we are here, we might as well do something good for a living.”