“They aren’t just animals to me, they are family.” – Kalleila Sparkes

 

"When I was three, I had one of those baby gates and my mom would leave me to play in the backyard for hours. I’d play with bugs and snakes, whatever came to me. I fell in love with them and ever since I’ve been obsessed with learning everything about them. Humans are harder to understand. I’ve had a really hard time making friends and trusting people; I connect more with animals. They don’t hurt me the way people do. I had a friend for years and I thought I could trust him. He was my best friend. But he’s the same ‘friend’ that took advantage of me in my sleep. From that day, I lost the ability to trust. I find that I lean on my animals. They just aren’t animals to me; they are my family. Not enough people care about them the way I do, so I made it my mission to educate people about them. I breed exotic reptiles and amphibians, and I have more than a hundred animals. I make sure I educate people before they buy an animal because I want to make a real difference. I’d love to see a world where the animal kingdom lives as one, where we stop destroying their homes and killing them for being displaced. It’s not their fault. It breaks my heart to see animals disappearing and entire species going extinct for factories, food and sport. We humans need to remember that we are animals too, just another primate. Not more important, or better, or more deserving, but equal. I’d love to see a world where we all respect one another and live in harmony."