Eight-year-old speaks the language of animals

Kamy Brown hopped out of bed before her Hello Kitty alarm clock had a chance to beep. As the sun edged into the sky, she pulled her rain boots on over her polka-dotted pajamas and headed out to greet her “urban farm.” Addy the dog and Alley the cat trailed her as she bumped open the gate, hands full of feed for the clucking “ladies” and hay for the hee-hawing Gabriel.

Eight-year-old Kamy is the proud owner of more than twenty pets: She cares for thirteen chickens, two fish, a miniature donkey, a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a hamster, hermit crabs, two peacocks, and her latest pet, a tarantula. Animals gravitate to her, and she to them. “I love animals,” Kamy says. “They make me calm.”

Kamy wants be a veterinarian. However, she’s had moments when her resolve has faltered. Kamy’s parents, Kim and Chris, remember her bursting through the front door last year, tears staining her cheeks. “How can I be a veterinarian if I’m not a vegetarian?” Kamy asked in despair. Kim says, “We had to explain to her that there are certain animals that are raised to eat. So, she found that you don’t have to be a vegetarian to be a veterinarian.”

Kamy studies how to care for each of her animals by reading books. “I’m reading about guinea pigs right now!” she says. She does extensive research both online and in her school’s library and is continually discovering the best way to provide her pets with a safe and happy home. Additionally, she does chores, like collecting and selling eggs, to contribute to the cost of animal food. She sells the eggs for four dollars a dozen to her neighbors and then saves one dollar, spends one, tithes one, and uses the final dollar on animal food.

Kamy says that Gabriel, the miniature donkey, “is the hardest to take care of because I have to clean him, brush him, walk him, feed him, and train him.” It’s hard for her neighbors to keep a straight face when they spot Kamy and young Gabriel trotting up and down the cul-de-sac of their suburban neighborhood. Kim explains, “He loves to trot. He’s a good running buddy. Really, he’s like a big dog.”

On the flip side, Kamy says her fish are the easiest to care for. She admits, “The fish are my least favorite because they don’t do anything.” However, she gives them the same excellent care and concern that she provides for her favorite pet, Buttercup the rabbit.

From the donkey to the fish, Kamy especially enjoys sharing her animals with her friends; she gets a kick out of inviting them over to indulge in her personal petting zoo. “Animals are her thing. If she had her choice she would probably quit school and stay home and create an animal sanctuary,” says Kim.

The Browns all agree that the best part of their day is coming home after school or work and sitting next to the hen house and watching the animals play. The donkey herds the chickens, the cat teases the dog, the rabbit greets the hamster, and, for the most part, the tarantula stays in his sanctuary. Kim believes that “kids have to have animals to bond with. It’s important that they learn about responsibility.” She says, “The nurturing of the animals is good for Kamy. It brings out a side of her that you don’t always see when you look at her on the playground. It teaches her responsibility.”

So, what’s next for Kamy? Let’s just say she’s very interested in ferrets.

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