My Dog Made Me a Vegetarian

Yes.  It’s true. Here’s how that went down.  So, in Asia, my dog Piper, all six and a half pounds of her, would be food. We in the US are horrified of this, but in many Asian cultures, eating dogs has no taboo. In China, my two cats, Tompa and Mowgli, could end up in a stir fry.  All over Europe, not just the much-maligned France, people eat horses. Shock, outrage, on this side of the Atlantic. Everyone knows cows aren’t eaten in India, and most people know that many Africans dine on monkeys and chimps, with the charming appellation of “bush meat.” And the Aussies love their kangaroo burgers. Yum.

So, what to eat and what is forbidden is entirely culturally determined. There is nothing absolute about it. We need protein, yes, but that is often obtainable without killing our fellow creatures. I love my dog. A lot. This has made me reflect on the illogic of  what animals are “sacred” and what are OK to slaughter.

And I love meat, don’t get me wrong. I love BBQ, I love to cook, I love hot dogs (gross, really) and all of it.  But I can no longer support the killing and cooking of my fellow sentient beings when the whole thing just doesn’t make sense.

I just look into those beautiful loving eyes of my little mutt and think about her feeding a Korean family, and that’s all the motivation I need to grab a salad and a hard-boiled egg.


Thomas Tallis in the air as reinterpreted by A kindly looking portly Welshman. Wood stove, cats warming, dog finds a cozy spot. I can’t escape meditations on loss. What I have lost. What have I lost? Wonder, magic, joy, the capacity for contentment. The seventh decade concluding soon, and to all appearances life is good. I ghostwalk mainly, and the effort that takes exhausts. Somehow things get done, and the appearances are upheld. Hollowed out, unable to escape regret, trapped in the life of my creation, I let the Welshman’s sonorous warmth remind me of the loss of that early time of discovery, excitement, hope. The dog stirs, wants attention. I am immobile, detached, stuck in this place. Dante had it; we awaken suddenly into a darkened wood. But he had his Virgil. Fortunate.