Two dogs turn to each other for love and comfort at shelter in Georgia

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Labeled for reuse by thedodo.com

Those two precious lives are an 8-month-old pit bull mix and an 8-year-old labrador mix at the Fulton County Shelter in Atlanta, Georgia. The image has gone viral, moving many people to tears, wanting those two to be adopted together, which of course they should be.

Puppy mills alone are far too deplorable for human beings to accept them, yet on they go. They keep dogs in absolutely horrifying conditions, adding continually to dog overpopulation, while dogs like those two in Atlanta are killed daily for being “surplus.”

Dogs are quite magnificent animals when allowed to be their true selves by being in proper life situations with good people, or conversely when forced to fend for themselves on the mean streets with only their wits and their pack members helping them survive. Little displaced wolves doing their utmost to survive in the chaos of human civilization. What a terrible thing we’ve done to them, despite all those pampered “pets” wearing clothes and going to daycare and all the rest of our posing as people who love them.

True love in action…

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Sochi Olympics “problem” strays

I’ve seen stunningly compassionate and intelligent behavior in dogs, genuine empathy and love for their friends and family whether humans, other dogs, or cats and other species…totally unselfish acts. Once a pack of feral strays were running a nearby neighborhood and one became trapped in a backyard he couldn’t scale the wall of to get out to continue traveling with the rest of his group of six or so. So one female stayed and watched over him, tried to encourage him to jump, and curled up with him at night to keep him warm…this was for one night, since my brother put up a ramp for him to climb out on in the morning. I’ll never forget him looking back at us sadly, thoughtfully, as if to say, “Thank-you, I’d like to stay but I cannot trust humans anymore,” and off the two went to join up with the others. I called a no-kill operation to come and try to rescue them, but they never were found again. I sincerely hope they all had good outcomes, but know the reality of this world, so it’s only a very sad memory from the 1990s…wish I could have caught and taken in all six and given them heavenly lives. There’ve been many such sad memories…forever regretted, heartbreaking.

These amazing animals are treated as vermin by many people, despite the fact that they’re only out there due to being failed by their human families, so all they have are each other in this extremely dangerous world of ours where any sort of person can happen upon them, from rescuers to absolute monsters who will deal them the very worst of fates. So from the loss of their homes to such terrible uncertainties, stray dogs learn to want nothing more to do with us except for whatever food they can garner from us, so they’ll run and hide from everyone, often putting themselves in danger in car traffic.

They often remain so “free”…and hungry and thirsty…until rounded up by animal control, heartlessly, often treating them as pests to be disposed of. Then there are all those hit by cars or otherwise maimed, crippled, dying, or dead out there, ignored by passers by…or worse. All this, among our great civilization of “pet” lovers.

Every one of my family’s dogs for the past 30 years or so has been such a street rescue or other “unwanted” one, and they’re the most awesome animals anyone could have the honor to have as part of our lives, even if they have some problems. They become loved family members, or if not kept, they’re at least never forgotten.

Now, how is it that puppy mills are allowed to exist?

With all this going on, and under any other circumstances, it is truly criminal that any dog breeders exist out there, whether puppy mills or “responsible” ones. Animal shelters kill millions of “surplus” animals like those two in that heart-wrenching photo daily, so what sort of heartless person would bring another puppy into this situation deliberately, and especially to profit financially off such a deplorable act, even further, to literally torture, by confinement and worse, the animals they use as cash machines?

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Puppy mill dogs in cages their entire lives

We as a species have got to thoroughly reject the animal breeders among us. How this will be accomplished, I’m not sure, but it has to be. I’ve tried to do my part by always rescuing dogs, never letting them reproduce, by being vegan, and whatever else I can think of, and by spreading the word to anyone who’ll listen… as most of us animal lovers do. But the masses seem largely not to care, don’t want to look, have social-life and other selfish concerns to occupy their minds. We need some real solutions to this mess if the absolutely horrible aspects of humanity are ever to be turned around.

Step one would be for most to realize: LIFE is never for sale…

Human beings who behave as if other lives are to be bought, sold, used, and disposed of are only selling their own bleak souls for virtually nothing. Every one of those animals…including those used as “food,” etc. …remain pure and innocent and worthy of respect, love and happiness, including those deemed commodities.

It is long past time to put and end to these subhuman practices, by first realizing that non-humans’ experiences are on a par with yours, and that you no longer want to be part of bringing them into life and then making those lives and deaths the worst sorts of hell. Make that commitment and act on those convictions every single day for the rest of your life, to the best of your abilities. Don’t accept the unacceptable, see through the lies, protest, boycott, speak up.

We can all recite, “Adopt don’t shop,” “Spay/neuter your animals,” and whatever else, to the “choir” for eternity, while ignoring the huge roots of problems; but until our species changes its entire view of animals, things will never change enough to make us worthy of sharing this planet with them, with our being humans, the supposedly loving, moral, intelligent species.

We’ve got to get things right, at last, and starting now. And you (each of us) are step one, making for billions of great steps forward to this long-awaited goal.

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Fight the good fight – Toss those apathetic discouragers

Little pep talk, folks, something that’s been on my mind…

Anyone who cares deeply about anything and fights for changes in society will often get people saying to them things like, “You can’t change the world, Meanmay as well accept things as they are, make your life easier.” And the even more toxic and false, which is said to vegans and animal activists: “Your living your self-righteous little lifestyle won’t make one bit of difference in the suffering in this world, so you may as well chill out and go have a steak, enjoy life for a change.”

All varieties of those remarks, including, “Just shut up and stop preaching!” are just as maliciously off-putting and hurtful to those who actually care about life and love others unselfishly, and who believe in working towards changes to alleviate the suffering of the world. Those rude remarks are attempts to dominate us, to shut us down and crush our freedom of speech.

So why is this mean discouragement done; why are such people compelled to be so cruel to their fellow humans by telling them their lives’ passions are so much worthless nonsense and they may as well just quit and indulge in behaviors they know are wrong? Personally, I can’t think of anything much more rotten and intending to be destructive, as far as emotional or mental abuse of other people.

Essentially their message is:

“Hey, life’s meaningless except for what I may care about, which is different from you, so why not be a careless, destructive, apathetic slob and bulldoze your way through life having yourself a good old time. Go ahead and trample over the weak or helpless, don’t waste your time or energy concerning yourself with others’ suffering or in trying to solve life’s problems.”

Further, “Hey, be like me, because your do-gooder behavior makes me question my self-worth, and that I don’t like…I believe in always feeling good and that anything can be tolerated…as far as what happens to others…as long as I retain my blissfully careless attitude about it and my good times and high self-esteem remain intact…and as long as I’m not a victim. So screw you and your little bleeding-heart cause, hippy!”

Narcissus-Caravaggio_(1594-96)_editedThese are basically people who think their attitude about someone else’s suffering makes that suffering acceptable, that reality is all in how you look at things. If you don’t care, then it doesn’t hurt. The implication being that you are all that matters, everyone else is just a backdrop for your existence. It’s a terribly damaged and thereby undeveloped character (the narcissist and/or sociopath) that behaves that way, having no empathy or compassion for others, only for themselves or possibly their own genetic progeny or families, only selfish concerns.

This all brings to my mind the calm, grinning woman here, performing a torturous, sadistic task on a baby goat as if all is well and good:

 …I believe that (sweet gentle) woman is the type who exemplifies the topic of this article.

How to cope…

When you get any mean, discouraging speech from someone in your life, realize that it’s meant to do you psychological harm, to make you feel silly, terrible, and hopeless. My advice is to get such people out of your life and continue on working towards the needed improvements you want to see in the world. Either that, or if you must remain connected to that person for some reason, develop a wall against their toxicity, block out and ignore as much as possible, realizing what’s happening, and that you want no part of it to affect you in any negative way. Remain strong and determined. Let them hold onto their toxicity and not expel it onto you to make themselves feel “good.”

For when some encouragement is needed, here are 99 great quotes about never giving up the good fight; listen to these and toss those other people’s nasty messages back into the trash where they came from:

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/never-give-up

Help for new vegans or those giving it a try…

First, the fantastic 7-day vegan guide…

Quite possibly everything you need to know to go vegan healthfully; check out all their links as well: http://7dayvegan.com

Now the basics – What’s in my pantry & fridge right now?Image

In random order…most things are preferred organic non-GMO:

  1. Superfirm tofu (soy should always be organic non-GMO!)
  2. Peanut butter (the natural kind you have to stir – arm workout lol)
  3. Sprouted whole-grain bread
  4. Quinoa (always rinse it through sieve)
  5. Kale
  6. Spinach
  7. Carrots
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Soy milk (unsweetened organic, fortified with calcium, D2, etc.)**
  10. Blackstrap molasses*
  11. Whole grain cereal (few varieties, some with flax, all lower carb/sugar)
  12. Sunflower seeds
  13. Apricots
  14. Yellow mangoes
  15. Lemons (for juice for cooking & dressings, etc.)
  16. Flaxseed meal (important for Omega-3 fat)**
  17. Cantaloupe
  18. Avocados
  19. Corn tortillas
  20. Low-sodium vegetable juice
  21. Whole-wheat pasta
  22. Chickpeas
  23. Blueberries (frozen, less pricey that way, for smoothies)
  24. Bananas (used frozen for smoothies also)
  25. Nutritional yeast (tablespoon a day in food)
  26. Oatmeal
  27. Black bean soup

*Blackstrap molasses can be as cheap as $7 for a month’s supply. It’s great because it’s all the nutrition stripped away from sugar, and it has a moderate glycemic index of 55 compared to table sugar at 80, and blackstrap molasses is a great source of iron, calcium and potassium. A tablespoon or two a day is good. (Another way to up your iron is to cook using a cast iron pan.)

**Update 11/22/14: I get unsweetened flax milk sometimes instead of soy, so don’t have to use extra flaxseed meal for omega 3.

The extras:

I left out oil, condiments & stuff, who needs to see that, lol, although cold-pressed vegetable oils high in monounsaturated fat are preferred, and coconut oil is touted by many…I just get whatever looks good, usually olive or sunflower oil. A bit of fat with your greens helps absorb the vitamin K1 & K2…important.

Supplements

I use fairly regularly: B12, & kelp tabs for extra iodine because I like soy, and occasionally when needed: vegan D3 from lichen, zinc, C.

Now, what I ate today…

Just to show how easy a healthy vegan diet can be, everything I need is here:

Breakfast: big honking bowl of whole-grain cereal with soy milk & blackstrap molasses (I’m obsessed with my cereal) and 8oz. veggie juice

Lunch: 2 pieces sprouted bread with avocado & mustard, 3 T. sunflower seeds, and 1 organic mango

Dinner: Quinoa, Kale & Carrot pilaf (ginormous serving) and banana & soy smoothie (using unsweetened soy milk)

Snack: 4 fig bars (cookies) from health-nut store’s bin (occasional treat)

(and of course fluids like iced water and coffee & tea sweetened with Stevia, no sugar)

The yadda yadda on it all…

So there; lots of food and nutrition and only 1800 calories, plenty of protein (importantly lysine) too. I took a chewable vitamin C and a kelp tab today, C to help absorb iron, and kelp for iodine because I ate more than one serving of soy and soy is said to possibly deplete our iodine. I’ll take B12 tomorrow as I take 500 mcg every other day, and I also take D3 (1000 IU) on days I don’t get much sunshine, and 20 mg. of zinc when I haven’t eaten enough in general.

This is all just the way I’ve worked things out to keep it easy to follow and healthy. The only supplement pill really essential is B12 because we don’t like to eat dirt which is where B12 comes from (healthy soil that is). The few other supplements are for extra protection and because I tend to calorie restrict because I’ve always gained weight easily and I want to stay the size I am, medium. I could eliminate all except for the B12 and possibly the kelp/iodine because of the soy thing. I consider the flaxseed meal and nutritional yeast as foods more than supplements. And what’s in my fortified soy milk is also extra so I take that into consideration when taking other supplements. Jeez I can blither, but I hope it’s all helpful.Image

So see, it’s quite easy once you get the hang of things, and no more costly than any other diet…no fancy highfalutin foods here, that’s for sure, mostly just basic stuff from the amazing Earth. Although some, like fresh organic blueberries, can be expensive, so I get frozen regular ones even though they may have pesticide residue.

So if you eat this way, concentrating on fresh whole unprocessed, nutritionally potent foods, you’ll be very healthy, of course not including anything you’re allergic to or can’t tolerate.

Handy shopper’s guide:

Here’s a helpful reference for what foods are best to buy organic according to pesticide content; i.e., apples (at top = worst) should always be organic and avocados (at bottom = best) are fine conventionally grown: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php#

In conclusion…

Of course, this is only my non-professional advice going by what works for me. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, but I listen carefully to those who are, such as the good people behind the linked article at top.

Here’s hoping this helps people on their way to going vegan so we can get those godawful slaughterhouses shut down one by one until there are none. On top of that, we can stop chopping down rain forests to graze animals or grow cheap GMO soy & corn for them, and stop polluting the environment with waste from animal farms, and stop abusing antibiotics to combat filth diseases and promote unnatural growth of the animals, and stop wasting precious water and resources to “grow animals” to overfeed the affluent while millions of people around the world go hungry.

Then there are the innocent animals in Hell, of course…each and every one matters.

Happy compassionate eating and living to all, in good health…

~ Laura