Guest blogger Abbie Hubbard of @abbie.loves.minnow shares the story of Minnow's rescue from the dog meat trade and her heartwarming friendship with Chickpea the chicken. Stories like this remind us of the incredible a difference a vegan diet makes for the animals that suffer in the meat industry each and every day. Thanks, Abbie, for being a true voice for all animals!
Minnow was rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea in January 2015 by Humane Society International (HSI). I work at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria and our shelter agreed to take in the dogs from HSI's first dog meat farm closure and help place them in adoptive homes. It was a cause that immediately spoke to me. I'm a lifelong vegetarian turned vegan and have been passionate about animal welfare, particularly farmed animal welfare, since my school days.
When Minnow arrived with the rest of the dogs from the farm, I pulled her out of her travel kennel and instantly fell in love. I cannot describe how much I immediately loved her.
There is a misconception in South Korea that 'farmed' dogs are different than 'pet' dogs. This could not be more untrue and I hoped that the relationship that bloomed between Minnow and me might be a wonderful example. I was fortunate to be able to travel to South Korea with HSI for another dog meat farm closure and speak to that with Korean media.
Minnow has been one of the greatest gifts of my life and I felt and continue to feel a duty to pay it forward in terms of helping other animals. I also quickly realized that Minnow was an excellent avenue for opening a discussion with the people we meet about how animals are treated right in our own backyard. When people remark that they can't believe someone would have eaten Minnow, I agree with them and then I bring up the conditions that animals in our agricultural industry face and that it's important to recognize their same needs for love and capacity to feel physical and emotional pain. I am so glad that we can encourage those areas of thought.
I'm ashamed to say that Minnow didn't start with a vegan diet. It became very clear to me that it made no sense to have a dog rescued from a dog meat farm and continue to feed her animals that had the same fate but were not fortunate enough to be rescued. Minnow has thrived on a vegan diet and v-dog is a vital part of her diet. I also have two African Grey Parrots and a Hermit Crab that enjoy a v-dog snack! And then there's Chickpea!
I am a huge chicken lover and I constantly talk about them at work. When one of our Animal Control Officers picked up a stray chick, she immediately brought him to my office. He must have been just a few days old. I fell in love with him immediately and he came home with me that night. I named him Chickpea.
Minnow met Chickpea and immediately assumed the role of mother hen! Chickpea would snuggle up with her and followed both of us around the house. Chickpea loved nesting in Minnow's tail!
As Chickpea has grown it has become evermore clear that he is absolutely no different than Minnow or any other being in his capacity to love; his need for social interaction and connection; and the depth of his emotions. He is snuggled up to me in my lap as I write, with Minnow to our side.
Recently I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items. At the checkout counter, the person behind me put a rotisserie chicken on the belt. I had to hold myself up because I thought I was going to faint. In this country people would be outraged if a dead dog was placed on the conveyer belt, but sadly the same can't be said for a chicken, turkey, pig or cow.
I hope that Chickpea, Minnow and I can show the world that chickens are beautiful beings and inspire compassion and care for their well-being. My neighbors have two young children that are enamored with Chickpea. It gives me hope that they will think about their food choices as they grow and begin to make decisions about what they eat. Everyday I watch them bring gifts of flowers, grass and leaves to Minnow and Chickpea and I feel a sense of hope in their acts of compassion.
When we are inside, Minnow likes to curl up in her spot on the couch and Chickpea likes to lie on my lap, often with his feet sprawled out! In those moments it feels like I've been blessed with a little bit of magic. My love for these two beings is indescribable!
At breakfast and dinner, Chickpea loves stealing from Minnow's dish so he always gets his own meal. Minnow and Chickpea each get a bowl of v-dog topped with some combination of veggies, olive oil, nutritional yeast, almond milk yogurt or whatever I may have cooked up for the day. Thanks to v-dog, we are all plant-powered and proud of it!
At v-dog, we make animal products without animal products, and we know through both research and experience that farmed animals need not be harmed to feed our furry companions. Unlike wolves, dogs are biologically omnivorous thanks to 10,000+ years of evolution alongside humans. We've seen thousands of dogs thrive on our 100% plant-based, protein-packed formula since 2005, and we're excited to be making waves in the pet food world.
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Learn about the health benefits of a vegan diet on our Testimonials page here!