You may have heard her story before. Bramble the amazing Border Collie lived to just over 25 years old and is known as one of the world's oldest dogs.
We had the privilege of chatting with Bramble's mom, Anne, who is an animal rights activist and dedicated vegan in West England. Here is our interview with v-dog's Lindsay Rubin and Bramble's mom, Anne Heritage:
Anne, it's so great to speak with you. We're so glad to be connected and hear about Bramble's amazing story. First, how did you get started down this path of a 100% plant-based diet for Bramble?
Yes, it's great to speak with you! I went vegan after receiving leaflets about the horrors of the dairy industry. I began to research plant-based nutrition for myself and for my first rescue dog Floyd. I read books like Diet for a Small Planet. I learned that all food can be broken down into chemical components. I ultimately found that my dogs could not only live on a 100% vegan diet, but really thrive on this type of food.
Exactly how old did Bramble live to?
Bramble lived to just over 25.
(Note: Many of the sources online say Bramble lived to 27. Anne confirmed Bramble lived to 25.)
How old did Bramble's dog friends live to?
The average of a Collie is 14. I've had seven dogs - three of them lived to 19-years-old, one lived to 20-years-old, and then Bramble lived to 25-years-old.
Did all of those dogs eat a vegan diet?
Yes, they did.
What did Bramble mainly eat? What was her favorite food?
Bramble's diet was made from 100% vegan ingredients. Her diet consisted mainly of lentils, textured vegetable protein and rice. This type of meal is nutritious, and also low cost. I'd cook up a base of organic brown rice, red split lentils, vegetables, and some additional ingredients like yeast extract and herbs. Her favorite food was...everything! She loved meal time.
How could you tell she loved her vegan food?
She was like a little bulldozer. At feeding time, she would run at the food and stuff it all down. All of my seven dogs loved meal time, but Bramble was always extra keen on her meals.
In feeding your dogs a vegan diet, what did you see as the main benefit?
I was really able to enjoy my dogs much longer - we were able to enjoy each other - due to their plant-based diet. I believe you can extend your dog’s years given the right care plan and food. Bramble got a lot of exercise and we tried to reduce stress on her for improved health. Feeding the dogs vegan also reduces the environmental strain a flesh-based diet imposes on the planet. And of course no animals need to be abused and killed through agribusiness.
Are there any additional reasons, besides ethics and health, that you choose a vegan diet for yourself and your dogs?
Plain and simple, our desire to feed ourselves and our dogs flesh foods is destroying the planet. It's really become catastrophic and we need change. A plant-based diet for dogs saves a ton of valuable resources like water and land as compared to a meat-based diet. (See Cowspiracy)
Is there a story you can cite about how you could tell Bramble was thriving throughout her life?
Bramble was always very active - this was something I made sure was a part of all of my dogs' lives. Up until she passed away she loved to walk and swim. She walked over two hours daily. All of this activity really built up her muscles and endurance. Bramble's vet also said she had the best teeth she's ever seen. Her teeth were white and strong.
What is your reaction when people say "vegan dogs don't thrive?"
I'd ask, "What research have you based this on?" My dogs absolutely thrived on a vegan diet and Bramble's story of longevity is now very well-known.
What would you say to people who insist on feeding their dog meat?
Just because someone is feeding their dog flesh, they tend to think there’s some magical ingredient in this flesh that's keeping their dog healthy. Dogs need protein, but protein is not exclusively found in meat. It is made from amino acids and plants provide plenty of these building blocks and nutrients for dogs.
Additionally, the only reason their dog is getting these amino acids is because the animal that they're feeding to their dog (the cow, chicken, etc) ate plants. Most animals killed and used for meat-based dog foods are fed antibiotics and medications throughout their life. This all ends up meat-based dog foods. Much of the meat in the dog food industry is deemed unfit for human consumption. They use the meat that is diseased and sitting around. These animals are also stressed before they are slaughtered, so the stress hormones end up in the flesh that your dog eats.
A huge thanks to Anne for telling Bramble's amazing story! Want to learn more? Check out Anne's Book: Bramble; The Dog Who Wanted to Live Forever.
Did you know some v-dogs have lived into their 20s on our complete and balanced vegan formula? See their stories here.
Here at v-dog, we offer top quality plant-based products for your pup, and we couldn't be more proud of our cruelty-free, USA-made ingredients. Interested in learning more? Check out v-dog.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.