The Adventures of Allie and Avery

Daisy and Dorian

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of fostering two eight-week old terrier puppies who were just transferred to Animal House from a southern animal shelter that was over capacity. They arrived at the shelter Thursday afternoon in a van full of other transfer dogs, having endured a six-hour drive that day and an even longer drive the day before. These sweet puppies were lucky to have ended up at such a caring facility where they would finally receive the care and attention they deserve: plenty of good quality food, medicine for the previously untreated worms they inherited from their mother,  and unending love from the various volunteer foster parents who are caring for them while they wait to be adopted.

           

A lot of work and money goes into each rescue dog that a shelter cares for; at Animal House, all of our dogs are treated as beautiful individuals with distinct personalities and specific needs. Dorian and Daisy, for example, needed special food and medication because of the neglect they suffered at the very beginning of their lives, and because of their young age it was necessary to find foster homes to care for these puppies as they need lots of love and attention and shouldn’t be in a shelter environment. In other words, the saving and caring for these two previously unwanted puppies required lots of money, volunteers, staff coordination, and supplies; and to anyone who loves and works with rescue dogs it is undoubtedly worth the work to provide for such precious little lives.

You can imagine my frustration, then, when a person or couple comes into the shelter and, not seeing any available puppies that are the breed or size they want, ask where the nearest pet store is because they know they will be able to find the perfect puppy there. Puppies in mall pet stores are almost always a product of the most horrific breeding conditions you can imagine; the puppy mills that supply these pet stores are generally unsanitary warehouses or industrial garages where female dogs live their lives in tiny cages being over-bred until they are no longer able to produce puppies and are either euthanised or dumped at a local animal shelter. Click here for more information on puppy mills and what you can do to stop them.

Shelters are working tirelessly to counter-act the litters of puppies sold by irresponsible breeders, people who refuse to have their dogs spayed or neutered, and puppy mills that supply pet stores. Most dogs that end up in shelters were once cute puppies that were purchased from a breeder or puppy mill, and after living with their new “owner” for a year or two become troublesome and inconvenient. Shelters like Animal House are designed specifically to reduce the number of dogs that face euthanasia in overcrowded animal control centers and it is heartbreaking to interact with wonderful, homeless dogs like Daisy and Dorian at our shelter every day, knowing that people are continuing to fund these  unethical breeding operations.

If you are considering getting a pet, please adopt one from a shelter or rescue. These dogs are just as sweet and their lives are just as valuable as a pure bred puppy from a breeder, they just have a little more life experience. Additionally, please consider providing a temporary home for a shelter dog by fostering them. Typically the rescue you are volunteering for will pay all expenses and provide you with all the supplies you need to foster a dog, including food and toys. Fosters are an extremely important aspect of animal rescue because they provide temporary homes for pets that are too young, too old, or too anxious to be living in a shelter environment and increase the shelter’s ability to care for more animals in need.

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Super Easy and Delicious Pasta Salad

Today I was insanely busy with my two foster puppies (read all about that adventure by clicking here!) and I needed to make something fast and delicious that wouldn’t require much effort but would give me enough energy to keep up with two eight-week old puppies; thus, I realized how delicious and fulfilling a simple pasta salad can be.

Allie and Avery’s Improvised Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

– Any kind of pasta, I used the fun bell-shaped Campanelle noodles

– Bottled Italian dressing (make sure to read labels and pick out an Italian dressing without cheese or other dairy)

– One or two tomatoes, depending on the quantity of pasta you’re cooking, cut into short, thin slices

– One green bell pepper, cut into short, thin slices

– Two stalks of thinly sliced green onion

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. I cooked 1/3 of a box of Campanelle in about a quart of water for 10 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a medium sized pan and heat on medium temperature. Add vegetables and stir frequently as they soften, making sure they don’t stick to the pan. You can add two or three tablespoons of water to the pan to ensure that the tomatoes will be soft after cooking. Saute the vegetables for seven or eight minutes, depending on how soft or firm you want them to be in your salad. Drain the pasta after it has fully cooked and pour into a large mixing or serving bowl. Next, pour the cooked vegetables into the bowl of pasta and stir approximately a cup of Italian dressing into the pasta and vegetables. Mix well and let the salad cool in the fridge for twenty minutes or so, then enjoy!

The Beagle Freedom Project

One of the most difficult transitions a new vegan can make is one toward more compassionate purchasing habits. The unethical testing of chemicals on animals is still a significant aspect of toiletry and cosmetic manufacturing, and it is often overlooked in the world of animal advocacy. I hadn’t really considered the importance of purchasing cruelty-free cosmetics, shampoo,  soap, and other products until I saw the following video from the Beagle Freedom Project.

According to the BFP’s website, beagles are frequently used in research labs because of their inherently “friendly, docile, trusting” personalities and their ability to survive in tiny cages. Every time I watch these beagles take their first steps in two years I am reminded of our responsibility as consumers to make proactive decisions. It’s vital to remember that for every product you purchase from a company that uses animal testing you are encouraging that company to continue abusing animals.

An important resource for the compassionate consumer is the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ Leaping Bunny program. Their website offers lots of helpful information, including a Shopping Guide that suggests several companies pledging that their products are cruelty-free. Another great resource for the conscientious consumer is the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which offers vital information about the harmful chemicals in major makeup companies like Revlon, Maybelline, and Covergirl. Want to know what hazardous ingredients can be found in your shampoo, nail polish, and cosmetics? Click here to see the ingredient list and hazard rating for each of the products you use regularly.

I’ll be posting more information on specific products as I research and test them out myself; until then check out the links above and consider helping to support the Beagle Freedom Project and other similarly-minded organizations.

Casper, the bath-loving dog!

I wish my dogs liked taking baths this much!

The Compassionate Valentine

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Though many people feel that Valentine’s Day is a capitalist marketing ploy designed to pressure people in romantic relationships to purchase cards, candy, and jewelry, I believe that it is an excellent opportunity to show all the people (and animals!) in your life how much you care about them. When I was growing up, my mom would always leave little presents for my sister and me outside of our bedrooms on the morning of Valentine’s Day as little tokens of her love; because of this tradition I have always believed that February 14th is about more than romance, it’s a chance to remind those who are important to you how special they are.

This year, as I am now trying to pursue a compassionate lifestyle, my boyfriend and I have decided to fore-go the traditional gift-giving aspect of Valentine’s Day in lieu of making donations in each other’s names. We have each chosen an organization close to our hearts to donate the money we would have otherwise used to purchase a material representation of our affections for one another. After much deliberation, I have finally chosen to donate in his name to an organization I have deep appreciation for: Farm Sanctuary.

Farm Sanctuary is an incredible network of people organized to care for abused and neglected farm animals, unarguably some of the least-regarded creatures in the world. Farm Sanctuary’s three shelter locations in New York and California house and care for hundreds of farm animals that have suffered at the hands of cruel food production practices and negligent “owners.” Through its advocacy and education programs, Farm Sanctuary is influencing the fate of farm animals throughout North America and bringing the truth about factory farming to public attention.

       

Farm Sanctuary saves all kinds of injured and abandoned animals.
Click on the pictures above to read some of their stories.

This Valentine’s Day, consider giving the gift of compassion to the people you love! Click here to donate to Farm Sanctuary’s amazing rescue programs.

Adopt a Farm Animal for Someone You Love

The Compassionate Consumer

One of the most difficult transitions a new vegan can make is one toward more compassionate habits of consumption. The unethical testing of chemicals on animals is still a significant aspect of toiletry and cosmetic manufacturing, and it is often overlooked in the world of animal advocacy. I hadn’t really considered the importance of purchasing cruelty-free cosmetics, shampoo,  soap, and other products until I saw the following video from the Beagle Freedom Project.

According to the BFP’s website, beagles are frequently used in research labs because of their inherently “friendly, docile, trusting” personalities and their ability to survive in tiny cages. Every time I watch these beagles take their first steps in two years I am reminded of our responsibility as consumers to make proactive decisions. It’s vital to remember that for every product you purchase from a company that uses animal testing, you are encouraging that company to continue abusing animals.

An important resource for the compassionate consumer is the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ Leaping Bunny program. Their website offers lots of helpful information, including a Shopping Guide that suggests several companies pledging that their products are cruelty-free.

I’ll be posting more information on specific products as I research and test them out myself; until then check out the links above and consider helping to support the Beagle Freedom Project and other similarly-minded organizations.

Welcome!

Hi, and welcome to The Adventures of Allie and Avery! This blog is all about the journey to a cruelty-free lifestyle. Since I was a child I have felt the need to eliminate the consumption of animal products from my life, and I have finally decided to become a full-time, no-excuses vegan.

Though I have always loved animals, it was not until I adopted my first dog that I realized what a sincere and life changing connection can be created between a human and an animal. He was a neglected, abandoned, six month old mutt, dying of dehydration and a fever of 106 degrees when I found him and brought him home, and we have had an incredible first year together. While he has helped me overcome many aspects of the chronic anxiety I have struggled with my whole life, I have helped him overcome his fear of abandonment and illnesses that resulted from severe food allergies.

This is what little Avery looked like the day I brought him home. He had an advanced case of canine influenza, an upset tummy, and was underweight and dehydrated. He recovered after two weeks of love and medical treatment, but I can never forget what bad shape this sweet dog was in when I found him.

    

This is Avery a few short months later, almost fully healed from the terrible neglect he faced at the beginning of his life.

Avery and I found each other at a moment when we were both alone and in need of friendship, and since adopting him I have had to reevaluate my entire relationship with all animals. Certainly dogs, cats, and other companion animals are easy to love, respect, and care for, but what about all the other animals we are responsible for? The cows, chickens, pigs, ducks, goats, elephants, bears, gorillas, horses, and all others subject to humanity’s self-perceived dominion over the planet? I believe that it is our duty to consider each sentient creature we encounter the same way we would consider our own dogs and cats: with care and compassion.

It is because of this responsibility that I am committing to a life free from cruelty to animals. This means no animal meat or byproducts in my food, beauty supplies, or clothing. What a worthwhile challenge for the new year! I encourage everyone who has ever considered a transition to a cruelty-free lifestyle to check out my posted resources and give it a shot; it’s amazing how quickly you will experience the lightness of a clean conscience. More to come, Happy Veganing!

Allie & Avery

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