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.