Is Lawn A Reflection of Manhood?

From time to time our doorbell rings as it probably does for most people, and 95% of the time it's someone trying to sell me something I don't need. Saturday this happened again.

First off, with Misaki things have changed quite a bit when the bell rings. With Ruby she would bark like crazy - and her barks shook the house - so we'd have to hustle her outside before answering the door. Then she would be on edge for about an hour or longer, yipping at the smallest little thing that normally wouldn't bother her. Why yes, this was extremely annoying - thanks for asking!

But with Misaki, she'll just let out one little bark or two and that's it. There are no lingering yips and the only thing I have to worry about is her darting between my legs through the open door. Saturday she let out a surprised yip when the doorbell rang and then she raced upstairs to let out one full-on bark (which, no, does not shake the house). I think she's convinced sometimes people come in through the attic; not sure if I should find this cute or worrisome. It's cute because it's not true, but it could be worrisome if, well, it is true.

Anyway, I open the front door and it's a man from Scott's Lawn Service. He is completely confident in his pitch to me, assured I will take him up on it.

And why is that?

Well, honestly, our lawn is nothing special at all. It has patches of dead grass, weeds, all the fun stuff. I've tried to care in the past and I just can't maintain the excitement over working towards a putting green quality lawn. What's the point? The only time I ever step on it is to mow it anyway.

So the man (let's call him - oh, I don't know - Scott) makes his pitch, and the conversation went something like this (these are not exact quotes - I didn't record it):

Scott (thrusting a pamphlet in my hand): I'd like to talk to you about our very affordable lawn maintenance program. It's only a few dollars a month. I'm sure you've seen our trucks in your neighborhood.

Me (trying to hold Misaki back with my feet): Um, no, I haven't.

Scott (surprised): No?

Me: Uh-uh.

This part killed me. It's funny he should assume I have seen his trucks, when those trucks typically are out working during normal work hours. Those are the same hours most people are, well, at work. I wanted to point this out to him, but decided I'd rather keep this short.

Scott: Oh, well, we are all over. It's very affordable and I was wondering if I could have a few minutes of your time to talk about your lawn. (At this point he gestures towards my lawn filled with dandelions and in need of a mow.)

Me: I'm not interested.

Scott (surprised again): No? Are you thinking you'll just mow it and water it a bit this year?

Me: Pretty much. (I didn't say the watering part might actually be a stretch. I do mow it though.)

Scott: Well, okay then. If you change your mind, give us a call.

Me: Okay, bye.

And I closed the door. Now, before I closed it I got a good look at his face as he turned away. Oh my, did I see contempt? Have I been watching too much Lie to Me?

This slays me. At some point having a golf course quality lawn apparently became some kind of male measuring stick. If your lawn is green and lush it's apparently an indicator you are a strong man, one who can master his own corner of nature.

That's all well and good for some people. As far as manly indicators it's probably better than beating your kids and having the ability to shotgun 17 beers without throwing up.

But what people never seem to realize - and this isn't just with regard to "Scott" and the lawn - is that even if that thing is important to you, if you think that's a manly indicator, it doesn't mean I do.

I'm not saying I'm above it - that would be an outright lie - but I am saying the lawn thing I just don't understand. It's grass, who the hell cares? My lawn is just more natural, I suppose. Nah, I shouldn't even say that, because that would indicate I care enough in that direction.

No, for me, all I care about with my front lawn is I keep the weeds cut so they don't spread anymore than they do already when the seeds blow.

Is a man's lawn and the care he puts into it really a reflection of manhood? Or is it, instead, one (or more than one's) idea of manhood, and that has been then applied to all men? Watch a Scott's commercial and you'll see what I mean - a green lawn is right up there with bench pressing your own body weight now.

And what's my answer to all this? Shrug. I have other things I'd rather be doing.

Things To Do Before I Die

Most everyone understands the idea of the bucket list, the concept popularized even more by the movie of the same name with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. This has spawned an outpouring of what people are now calling "life lists" posted on blogs across the internet, presumably changing the name from "bucket" to "life" in an effort to divorce the idea from the reality of death. Wifey wrote hers, inspiring me to do the same.

Personally I don't care what you call the list. It all boils down to essentially the shit I want to do or experience before I die. Obviously this would be during life, right, so the title of said list really doesn't matter too much. And, admittedly, the things on any list are personal and unique to the person writing it - it's not like anything here can really be judged.

Why post it for the world? Part of my reason is similar to why I posted my intent to write a novel - stating a goal or goals outside of your own head makes them a little more real. Plus, by putting them here I can reference it from anywhere at any time, checking things of and adding new ones as they come up. Should be fun.

So here it is, my "shit-I-want-to-do-in-life-before-I-kick-the-bucket-list":

  • Drive a Ferrari
  • Hike on the Great Wall of China
  • Take a ride down the Amazon
  • See Victoria Falls from a helicopter
  • See an entire college football season in person (home and away)
  • Write a novel
  • Get novel published
  • Learn passable Spanish
  • Learn passable French
  • Go hang gliding
  • Catch my own Copper River salmon
  • Go marlin fishing
  • Live in a small town I can walk everywhere
  • Live in one place in Italy or France for at least a month, living European
  • Take an extended cross country road trip
  • Create a successful home garden
  • Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
  • See the Hawaiian volcanoes from above
  • Travel Japan without family help
  • Visit Machu Picchu
  • Take Wifey to Italy
  • Soak in the Blue Lagoon
  • Ride a zip line
  • Go to a home Bengals game
  • Attend a Super Bowl
  • Attend a Rose Bowl
  • Visit all the national parks
  • See Old Faithful pop
  • Pan for gold
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Stand on a battlefield (you know, years later of course)
  • Cross the Panama Canal
  • Create a coffee table book, doing all the writing, pictures, and layout
  • Learn to curl
  • Shoot a handgun (at a range)
  • Spend a weekend in wine country
  • Experience zero gravity
  • Make cheese
  • Make chocolate
  • Make ice cream to be proud of
  • Stay in a cave hotel
  • Visit the ice sculptures in Sapporo
  • Night dive with manta rays
  • Um, learn to dive
  • Fly over Belize’s Blue Hole
  • Tour a coffee plantation
  • Pet a tiger
  • Visit Vancouver BC’s Granville Market
  • Take an overnight train trip/tour
  • See oil fields
  • Pizza in Napoli
  • Scotch and Guinness in Ireland
  • BBQ in Memphis, Texas, Kansas City, and Carolina
  • Attend Cochon 555
  • Attend a Brewer’s dinner
  • Attend a winemaker’s dinner
  • Ghost tour in New Orleans
  • Pizza tour in New York
  • Visit Ground Zero, NYC
  • Go to Spring Training
  • Attend an Olympics
  • Immortalize the kids
  • Ramen in Japan
  • Return to Hiroshima for okonomiyaki
  • Pastries in France
  • Tapas in Spain
  • Sausage in Germany
  • Lamb in Greece
  • Try out entire 60 Hikes in 60 Miles of Portland book
  • Lay in the grass and watch the clouds roll by
  • Fly first class
  • See a tornado
  • Swim at the base of a jungle waterfall
  • See the Grand Canyon
  • Learn to use the GPS
  • Learn about beer
  • Learn about scotch/whiskey
  • Spend a week in DC visiting all the Smithsonians
  • Tour Il Collosseo
  • See the Greek ruins
  • Read all my unread fiction
  • Organize my sports cards
  • Create art
  • Invent something
  • Write song lyrics

Some of these things make sense to only me, some of them may need explanation, some of them may not even be realistic - but that's the beauty of a list like this, that it doesn't have to be realistic. Apparently, though, looking at my list, winning the lottery needs to happen first.

You know what sticks out to me? How one simple thing could actually knock a few things of the list. The coffee table book could immortalize the kids and even be considered art, if I do it right. Many of the things on my list intersected with Wifey's too - no wonder we are perfect for each other!

Anyone else ever done this?


I'm Going to Write a Novel

That's it, I've made a decision - I'm going to write a novel. I've talked about it off and on since I was a senior in college (holy crap that's a long time ago now...), so anyone who knows me probably will shrug and say, "And?"

So it's probably not a huge surprise I would make this statement, I get that. However, everyone is supposed to have goals, right? If you don't explicitly define your goals, the theories go, you will never reach them. My own corollary to the theories is that if you don't write it on the internet it can't possibly mean anything. Perhaps then that's my whole point in writing this post, so I can be held accountable.

If you read the blog, then you perhaps read the two old pieces of short fiction I wrote here and here. They are okay, but they were also written in college and looking at them now I can see a ton of ways I would have done them differently (and made them better). I've learned, over the years, from good writing and my own practice, here on this blog and in my other daily endeavour.

Why do I think I can succeed? People seem to enjoy my voice (of course, maybe they are lying to me, never know) and I do have extensive writing experience, though much of it is a little more newsy and analytical. Still, I'd like to think I brought a little bit of personality - flavor, if you will - to all of my previous writings that made them more entertaining.

Plus, I'm me - I'm different, unique. My voice is different, my point of view is different. We are all a product of our experiences and relationships. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in the world with a University of Oregon degree in Japanese who studied in Italy and has spent time in a NBA locker room (hey, I could be wrong), so my experiences and interpretations of events are going to be slanted differently than anyone else's because of unique life experiences.

They also say goals should have parameters. Maybe if I say by the time I hit 35? That's an explicit parameter, but still gives me time.

See, now I have this goal, but how the hell do I go about accomplishing it? The smart ass among you will probably be thinking "Well, how about start writing?" Easy enough. Of course, with 60 hours a week of work and home life, there isn't a lot left to go around. (I could say that's the reason it's not done yet, but that's not necessarily true.)

After making this decision, I realized I don't exactly know what to do next. I have some ideas I think will be good novels. How do I pick which one to start with? Is it whichever one is foremost in my mind on the day I open a new Word document? How do I choose? If there is one I like a little more than the others, do I choose that one, or do I save it for after I inevitably become a famous author? (Yes, that was tongue in cheek.)

Perhaps I shouldn't be scared of this, but I am: What if I take my best idea, write it, and no one wants to publish it? How do I move on from that? Does it become a one shot deal? Do I spiral into depression? It's funny, just the other day on this blog I follow by Tawna Fenske she talked about the average number of manuscripts an author has to write before they get published. The average, she said, was seven, though it is of course different for everyone.

Seven? SEVEN?! I am having a hard time getting my mind around writing one novel, and if I'm average I will have to write six no one will ever see unless I email it to them?! Damn, want to talk about depressing. Out of this is where my question about saving an idea comes in. The flip side of the conversation is why save the best idea? Why not just write it, and if it's so damn good maybe I won't have to have six hidden manuscripts.

Of course, if my writing this blog had taught me anything, it's that if I continually write about Misaki I will have plenty of readers. Maybe I should just do that instead?

Thinking about average won't get me anywhere though. Besides, if I didn't think I could buck the trend would I be much of a writer? I mean, no one who tries to get into this whole writing thing thinks it will take them six books to hit the jackpot.

The upshot of all of this is it's time to get started. Another upshot is I have what I feel is a very good concept for an entertaining piece of fiction. Now, if only that were enough to send me on my way...

I have questions, so hopefully I'll be able to get this in front of an author or two and perhaps they can give an answer or two in the comments.

In no particular order - and I realize all of these are subjective and the real answer is I need to figure what works for me - these are the things I'm wondering:

1 - How does one work writing a novel around having a full-time job? Any tips you might have?

2 - Have you ever saved a novel idea? (Probably a better question for unpublished authors, or published authors looking back at a time before they were published.)

3 - If you have two or more good ideas, how do you choose one? Or do you feel multiple paths out?

4 - The use of outlining, timelines, character maps, and the like is going to be different for everyone - what do you do?

5 - How important are personal experiences to writing a novel? For example, if my character is going to be shooting a handgun, do I make it a point to go to a shooting range and feel the heft and kick of the weapon in my own hands? And more importantly, are these experiences tax deductible? (Honestly, I would think the answer is yes, but it may not be.)

6 - Do you ever worry about a character in your novel too closely resembling someone in your own life? Have you had to re-write because of that?

I've got more questions, but I think they will present themselves as this project goes along in more clarity. It's going to be a process, that's for sure. If you feel you have an answer or a suggestion to one or more of these questions, I'd love to see it in the comments!


What Is A Shiba?

When we picked Misaki up the breeder warned us our life was about to change a little bit. No, not just because we would now have a little bundle of crazy to add to the three other bundles of crazy to replace the quite large bundle of crazy, but also because she was a Shiba. Shibas, we were told, catch people's eye because they are relatively rare. People will come up to you and want to pet the Shiba, to ask questions about it.

This concept was a little foreign to us. We aren't the go-out-and-meet-people type, and plus we had Ruby, an Akita who was more likely to inspire people to cross the street than come over and say hi, which was fine with us.

And well, it's happened. Everyone stares at Misaki, not just because she's cute but because she's rare. We can feel the eyes as we walk by on the street and hear the conversations between people about the dog. Most people have no idea what she is.

So, be that as it is, I am taking it upon myself to give the world a crash course on what a Shiba is and what a Shiba is not, replete with pictures to compare and contrast. Enjoy!

A Shiba Is...

Shibas come originally from Japan (Misaki herself was born there) and are the smallest of six original native Japanese breeds, the largest of which is the Akita. You may note from the previous pictures of Misaki and Ruby they look very similar - this is not a coincidence. The name "Shiba" means brushwood in Japanese, a shrub that turns red in the fall. (More fantastic explanation for language geeks like me here.)

Misaki at Cannon Beach, apparently quite happy

The breed comes mainly in three colors: red (like Misaki), black and tan (sort of like a doberman, but with lighter tan and softer transitions), and sesame (a hybrid of the two). Red Shibas are by far the most popular, and even though all three colors are accepted by the AKC red Shibas almost always do better in the show ring. They do also occasionally appear all white, but that's rare. The whites also are not recognized as legit by the AKC in the same way melanistic Bengals (all black with spots barely visible, like a "black panther") are not by TICA - but are still super cool.

Shibas are compact bundles of muscle. I'm pretty sure Misaki has not a shred of fat anywhere on her body, and were she my size she could kick my tail with two paws tied behind her back. And an eye closed. They also have double-layered fur coats to protect against intense heat and cold. This also means they blow their coats a couple times a year to clear out the dead fur in the undercoat, covering your entire house in a soft layer of fuzzy.

They are generally aloof towards people not in their pack (Misaki, contrastly, likes people) and aren't fans of other dogs, even other Shibas, especially of the same gender (this is just like an Akita, too).

Originally Shibas were bred in Japan to hunt and flush birds and small game. Our little pup already has her first kill at our house in less than one month - more on that at a later date. They first came to United States in 1954 in the arms of a U.S. serviceman (I know, big shock there). (Here's some more discussion of their history.)

You will probably also hear them called "Shiba Inu" instead of Shiba. In my mind, as one with a degree in Japanese, this is pretty silly. Inu is Japanese for dog. I will never refer to a Shiba as a Shiba Inu, on the principle that it's redundant. It's funny Shibas ended up being registered as Shiba Inu with the AKC. Why? Well, Akitas are also referred to as Akita Inu in Japanese just as much as Shiba Inu (which is to say not nearly as much in modern times), but in the U.S. it's just Akita. Who knows why...but the whole point is calling a Shiba a Shiba Inu is kind of silly.

Okay, now you know what a Shiba is - let's find out what a Shiba is not.

A Shiba Is Not...An Emu

A what?! Yeah, this happened. Wifey and were taking Misaki for a hike in Hoyt Arboretum right after we got her and were stopped at one point by two women who thought she was the cutest thing ever. They asked to pet her, and we obliged. The first lady asked what breed she was, so we told her. They petted her, and then both our little groups moved off in separate directions.

As the two women walked away we heard the second ask the first about the breed - apparently she didn't hear. The first lady said Shiba, and then the second said this:

"Oh! A Shiba Emu!"

Wifey and looked at each other, not quite believing our ears - it was all we could to do keep from laughing until they were out of earshot.

"Did she call Misaki an emu?!"

"Yes, yes she did."

Now, it's likely the lady meant "inu" instead of "emu" - the vast majority of the world isn't keen to the nuances of Japanese language pronounciation. I get that. However, that doesn't mean I can't laugh about it.

So here you go:

Misaki, at her home jungle

Emu (from the Wikipedia)

Not a match.

A Shiba Is Not....A Basenji

Wifey and I were at a pet store on Burnside called Meat (very cool place, and right next door to Heart Coffee Roasters, which we love) getting some treats for Misaki and probably the cats too, can't quite remember. A woman was getting some items for her own dog and was so sure of herself when she asked us this:

"That's a Basenji, isn't it?"

This wasn't a question, more of seeking affirmation. At the time I had no idea what a Basenji looked like - had to look that up later - but I was pretty sure it looked nothing like a Shiba. After we explained Misaki was a Shiba, the woman just looked confused, like she couldn't fathom the fact she wasn't staring at a Basenji.

After looking up Basenjis online they are a similar size - perhaps taller but around the same weight. They also have curled tails, but not with nearly the fluff of a Shiba, and their faces are very different as well as their coloring.

Here you go:


A Basenji

Not a match.

A Shiba Is Not...An Akita Puppy

Over and over we get asked whether or not Misaki is a puppy. People are shocked when we tell them she is six...years, not months. We call her Pups in an endearing way, but we did that with the 90-pound Akita as well. People seem to just assume because she is small that she must be a puppy, and I think a lot of that has to do with people being slightly more familiar with the concept of an Akita than a Shiba - they don't realize these two very separate breeds essentially look exactly the same.

We were walking here in the neighborhood a couple weeks back and an older lady stopped to pet her. She cooed over her, then finally asked how old she was. "Six." She was a little odd anyway, so we took the opportunity to leave while she still had a glazed and confused look on her face.

The funny thing is before whenever we'd tell anyone our dog was an Akita they never had any idea what we were talking about either. Many thought they knew, then they'd describe something very different. I would finally tell them an Akita was something like a Siberian Husky, only twice the size. Then people would be stunned trying to imagine a dog that size.

I somewhat blame the movie Hachi - starring Richard Gere - for the idea that a Shiba is really an Akita puppy. In that movie, for the scenes where Hachi - the main character, an Akita - was a puppy, they actually used an adult Shiba. I think it was probably because Akitas are hard enough to train that training a puppy would be impossible, but Akita puppies don't look anything like a Shiba adult. They are fluffy all over, with none of the crispness in coloring of an adult. Shiba puppies are the same way.

Here you go:

Misaki as a puppy in Japan (via Sanshou Shibas)

Ruby as an Akita puppy

Misaki as an adult Shiba

Ruby as an adult Akita

Not a match.

A Shiba Is Not...A Fox

This is probably the most common comparison we hear, Misaki looking like a fox. You know what? In truth, she does a little bit look like a red fox. Sort of. The shades of red and white are different (Misaki's white is a tad on the cream side) and foxes have black tips on their ears, feet, and tail. A fox tail is much fluffier as well, and doesn't curl like a Shiba's. Misaki also would kill a fox in a bodybuilding competition.

We've overheard the comparison a lot, especially with kids. Perhaps the funniest one was just the other day. We were nibbling our goodies at Mississippi Marketplace when a couple walked by with a small boy on the wife's shoulder. He was facing behind her, and she didn't see Misaki as they walked by. When he saw Misaki his eyes became as big as saucers.

"Mom, look! Is that a fox?!"

Mom was in the middle of a conversation with Dad and didn't want to really pay attention to what the kid was saying, so she did what a lot of Moms do in that situation.

"Yes, honey, it is."

The boy was literally in awe. He thought he was looking at someone's pet red fox!

The family left and I didn't see them again, but somewhere in Portland there is a small boy who thinks another family has a fox as a pet. That would be cool, but no, Misaki is not a fox. Although, sometimes when she curls up to sleep she does look like one.

Another girl, college age, was convinced Misaki was part fox. While we were in Cannon Beach I went into a place to get some ice cream while Wifey waited outside with Misaki. The girl asked multiple times if Misaki had fox in her, and was confused by Wifey repeatedly saying nope, no fox.

Here you go:

Misaki, all curled up asleep

Red Fox (via wildlifeonline)

Not a match - almost, but not quite.

A Shiba Is Not...A Cartoon Character

It surprised me the first time, but it's happened so many times since it barely registers. People come up to Misaki and say something along the lines of "she doesn't look real." This isn't meant as a negative; it's a compliment (or, at least, we think it is). She has also been referred to as a cartoon character, which I also took to mean not quite real.

I think it's because of her expressions, because of how she looks like she's trying to convey something to you. It makes her seem almost mystical, like a being capable of things that cannot be explained. Or, as we usually call it around here, "crazy."

Shibas are represented quite often in Japanese anime and children's books, usually as a symbol of a protector (however, I urge you to practice restraint when Google Imaging "shiba anime" - remember the first rule of websurfing that all things lead to porn, some faster than others).

Here you go:

Misaki, looking very zen and "not real"

Shiba Wanko (from Andrea's Random Lil' Blog)

A Shiba Is Not...A Vegan

Not sure I need to cover this again - 'nuff said.

A Shiba Is Not...A Coyote (update 8/9/10)

Covered that here.


What a Silly Question

Over the holiday weekend Wifey and I spent some time hitting up some of the city's foodcarts and found ourself at Mississippi Marketplace in North Portland, as we usually do because when we need something sweet we go to The Sugar Cube.

As we nibbled the goodness from Kir Jensen's cart - vanilla bean panna cotta with fresh strawberries and honey, and a ginger snap cookie ice cream sandwich with caramel - we took a seat amongst the crowd at an empty table. We had Misaki with us, who doesn't seem to mind the crowds too much and after a few minutes laid down under the table to people watch, just like we do.

Wanting a little something for later, I walked over to Garden State for an Italian-inspired burger and a couple of arancine. After putting in my order I came back to the table, just as a middle-aged man walked over to Wifey and Misaki. He seemed nice enough and asked if he could pet the pup. It's funny, we used to adamantly never let anyone pet our dog when it was Ruby, but then again Ruby was a little territorial and we simply wanted to avoid any possible incident. Misaki, on the other hand, loves having random strangers give her pats on the head. So we said sure.

The man stooped down to a knee and started showering Misaki with all sorts of compliments, telling her how intelligent her face looked and how pretty she was. He remarked the look on her face as she people-watched really made it seem like she was processing a lot of things, moreso than most dogs. Of course we agree, but in the interest of politeness we decided to smile and nod. He asked us all sorts of questions about her, about whether or not she shed (I think all dogs shed, it's just a matter of degrees, isn't it?) and what the breed was originally bred for (hunting small game, if you must know).

I was only partially paying attention because I had one eye on the Garden State cart so I wouldn't miss my burger when my name was called. Wifey answered most of the questions, but then he asked one that really got my attention. First he asked if she would be interested in a dog treat - maple and something. We usually discourage this, since 95% of the time she won't eat them from a stranger out in public anyway. Plus, she's just generally picky about her treats, and most treats - quality doesn't seem to be a factor - she simply won't be interested in noshing. The man then remarked the treat was vegan, as if that should sway the decision for us.

Then he asked us the craziest question I have ever heard about a dog: "Is she vegan?"

Um, what? Excuse me? Did I just hear that right? Did you ask me if my DOG was VEGAN? Are you insane?! Isn't making a dog vegan animal abuse or something? Canines eat meat. That's what they do. In the wild, they hunt animals. They don't look for soy subsitutes or stick to green things. That's just plain wrong!

I think our reaction put him off for some crazy reason. We didn't say any of those things, at least not out loud in his presence, but we did laugh and so oh no, this little one loves meat. Hopefully we said it politely enough while also still emparting a sense of silliness that the question even was asked.

As it turns out, the man was watching the vegan foodcart there at the Marketplace while the guy running it went somewhere for something. I have no idea if he himself was vegan, but likely he was. Perhaps he was insulted, I don't know.

My personal feelings on veganism are hey, whatever you want to do. However, I love my meat. Wifey loves it. Oh, and the dog? She especially loves it.

I've heard of dogs being forced vegan by their owners, which is just something I can't comprehend. Why would anyone do that? If a person wants to be a vegan, hey, go for it. That's a personal choice based on a belief system. However, a dog can't make that choice. They aren't going to understand the reasons behind becoming vegan (I'm not talking about allergies here) and given a true choice a dog will never, ever choose a vegan meal over meat. Seriously, try a taste test, see what the dog eats.

A dog's health isn't determined the same way a person's is - they depend on a different mix of proteins, vitamins, and all that other good stuff you get in food than a person. If you really, truly love your dog, why would you change their diet like that?

I understand that may make it difficult for a vegan person to own a dog. It would be hard to have strong feelings against meat and then have to serve it to your canine, a canine who you may count as one of your best friends. I can understand wanting to make the same choices for the pup as one does for his or herself. And hey, dogs are great.

But I just don't see making a dog vegan as the proper way to reconcile those feelings and ideas. Anyone else agree with me here?

No sir, my dog is not vegan. No dog I have any control over will ever be forced to be vegan. I don't believe any dog should ever be forced to be vegan.

Hopefully no one asks me again...apparently it riles me up.