Since going vegan in 2013, my view of animals has changed so much. I used to be that person who thought of animals as “just animals” and that eating cows, pigs, and chickens were “just the way things are”, never giving them any thought beyond that.
In June of this year, Julian and I adopted our first dog, something I know I would never have done had I not been vegan. Even the animals we are conditioned to love and care for and not eat, I viewed as more of a nuisance or obligation; I didn’t really “get” the love that people had for their pets and I certainly didn’t see those pets as individuals or companions, mainly because I’d never experienced it before. We had a dog when I was about 4 or 5 who was returned to the shelter when she tore the kitchen curtains up. We had a cat when I was in grade school who was given away when we moved cities. This attitude of animals being disposable if they inconvenienced us continued when my brother was old enough to get a dog (I don’t know what happened to his dog because I had moved out of the house by then. All I know is the dog did not stay long). By the time I was on my own, I knew I never wanted pets, which, on one hand was good because I still viewed animals as expendable but it was also – to use an expression I’ve learned from therapy – a missed experience. Had I developed a better understanding of animals and a proper empathy toward them, I could have provided a loving home to one for many years. Continue reading