Years ago, I decided I wanted to become a veterinarian. I’ve always loved animals and try to be as gentle as I can around them. Every animal is unique, as are humans and the places they feel safe.
My sacred space is with any kind of animal. Any animal you put in front of me I will love. Whether it is a snake, spider, feral fox, or whatever else you feel is scary. Part of my job as a human being is to coexist with other species.
Human development is destroying habitats that are homes for many different animals. In fact, many animals are endangered because of destruction of their habitat.
Menawhile, we build more an more malls and parking lots that we don’t need. Every creature deserves a place where they feel safe, somewhere they can go when they’re afraid. We should never deprive them of that. We’re all part of one huge Earth that can’t be replaced, so why would we destroy it?
The weird thing about humans is that we constantly try to stop people from hurting animals’ homes, then we go off and cut down a tree, or worse, kill an animal. Hunters say they’re “controlling the population,” but what if a snake came up and bit one of your family members and they died? If the snake’s excuse was “I’m controlling the population,” I don’t think you would like snakes anymore.
Animals seem to have some sort of magic. Something about the way a deer runs and a rabbit hops make them look like they have the power to brighten up a rainy day. Cats have the power to heal. The purrs they emit when happy can heal their bones more quickly if they’re injured. If they lie on a human and purr, it can instantly boost your mood, whether you like cats or not. Birds cause happiness, too. When their songs fill the air, everyone stops and stares. Dogs can make the saddest person alive feel better. The barks that I hear through my neighborhood every day make me believe that they truly do have magic ways.
My favorite animal – tied with cats, of course – is a pangolin. They’re majestic creatures in the Manidae family. They’re mammals that eat mostly insects they find in the ground. Humans kill pangolins and use their scales for jewelry and coats. Pangolin scales are meant to protect pangolins, not to make your jacket pretty.
If my sacred space was taken away, I would be terrified – for the world and for me. Without animals, we would die. I guess we could all become vegetarians, but without any kind of animal we wouldn’t be able to grow plants. Animals help plants through pollination and by eating them.
If my sacred place was taken away, I would fight for it. I’d get everyone I know to join together for animal equality. Animals are very important to me, and I would never hurt one. I love all animals. All animals are gorgeous creatures that deserve to be loved, respected, and cared for.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.