I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my adult life with a total of eight fabulous dogs (so far). And seven of them have been vegan. When I first went vegan fifteen years ago, it was really hard for me to feed my best friends animal products. Then a friend gave me a copy of Vegetarian Cats and Dogs by James Peden. When I finished reading the book, I knew that my dogs could be vegan.
I initially showed the recipes in Vegetarian Cats and Dogs to my veterinarian. He had no concerns with my dogs being vegan and said, “Soy protein is every bit as comparable as animal protein.” Of course I KNEW that as a human animal, but I guess I just wanted some reassurance before I fed my non-human animals a vegan diet.
Well, that was about fourteen years ago, and I can tell you that all of my dogs have lived great lives as vegans. The majority of my dogs have lived a normal life expectancy or a longer than normal life expectancy. But this story is about Buddy, my vegan star!
I adopted Buddy from the local county animal shelter when I was in my late twenties. He was just a tiny little ball of fur when I first saw him. I had to wait a couple of days before I could bring him home, since he wasn’t quite six weeks old.
Buddy was a complete character. When he was a youngster he would take the moss out of my fake ficus tree and tear around the living room with it, shredding it into pieces all over the house. One time I had a friend stay with me when she was traveling on business. She made the mistake of putting her suitcase down in the living room. After a bit we couldn’t find Buddy, so we looked upstairs. Buddy was on my bed, lying on his back, and having a grand time playing with her pantyhose. Buddy was also even known to suck down any alcoholic beverage, if you were so short sighted as to leave it within his reach! Buddy loved people and got along great with other dogs. He was the leader of our pack, and he ruled with a quiet and gentle firmness.
Buddy was eight years old when he became vegan. There was nothing hard about his transition. He devoured his home cooked food with abandon. Slurp, slurp. He thought it was WAY better than the packaged and processed stuff that I had been feeding him before. His coat was beautiful, smooth and silky, and people constantly commented on it. Everyone wanted to know how often I bathed him. The truth was, I almost never bathed him, and I told everyone it was because of his clean, vegan diet. He had beautiful silver and white strands of hair that were woven into his caramel colored fur. Many people (and I mean many) asked me if I “frosted” his hair. Now seriously folks, what kind of person would do that to their dog?????
Buddy enjoyed being a seasoned traveler, and nothing was more fun to him than a road trip! Traveling in our RV, Buddy visited Canada, Alaska and the majority of the United States. Buddy loved to swim and hike, and he hiked the best trails. He even hiked to the top of the Tetons (the back side, since the front side is National Park territory…and no dogs allowed on the trail...poo on that).
Buddy lived and thrived on a vegan diet, until he passed away five years ago at the age of 18 ½. He was still able to hike a couple of miles a day, up until about six months of his passing. He was an amazing friend and a super example of a healthy and fit vegan pup.
Vegetarian Cats & Dogs contains several recipes for home cooked vegan dog food. Also, be sure to visit Peden’s Vegepet website for fantastic information on what goes into commercial dog food, information and examples on vegan cats and dogs, and information on the products he sells for vegan cats and dogs (including supplements, chews, enzymes and yeast). I have been using Peden’s Vegedog supplement for as long as my dogs have been vegan. I recommend it highly!
I love you and miss you, Buddy. XOXOXOXOXOXOXO Mom