My Anger Is Rising…

So recently some things have come to my attention. As I have been getting ready to add a new family member into my home (a dog to be specific) I have been researching constantly the best way to treat a dog, train a dog, feed a dog, etc. And I have decided to take the route of positive reinforcement and clicker based training for multiple reasons.

There are amazing benefits of using positive reinforcement with your dog, including:

  • A better bond with your dog. People who yell, hit, smack, or otherwise physically or emotionally intimidate their animal weaken their dog, and force them to submit. Instead of putting their ears back out of happiness, they do it out of fear and submission.
  • Longer lasting results. Sure, beating a dog to submit to your will might work, at least at first. The long term effects can include anxiety, distrust in other humans, aggression, and of course, rebellion.
  • It is science based. Studies show that positive reinforcement is a much better way to go.
  • Cesar Millan is a thing of the past. Almost everyone who owns a dog these days knows that Cesar’s techniques are ineffective, outdated, and plain abuse. He has used shock collars, hitting, submitting with force, and psychological intimidation to control the poor animals. Every owner on his show is just plain stupid and ignorant.

But since I have done so much research, it has come to my attention the neglect that so many dogs face in my area and around the country. Many dogs are neglected a simple WALK which they need for mental and physical stimulation. I see some trapped with nobody there in their yard for 14+ hours with dirty food and hot water (It’s been extremely hot right now where I live) and one of my neighbor’s dogs even forces his poor dogs to sleep outside, with only two beds for THREE dogs, in extreme weather, which has caused me to wake up at 3 AM from their anxious barks.

And that, is not okay.

That makes me furious. The fact that people are so ignorant and psychotic. Would you treat your child the same way? What did that dog do to deserve a life shunned in their yard?

Even as we speak at 9:55 PM their dog is still barking, and has been for the past 20 minutes straight. Not only is that a nuisance to the neighbors trying to sleep but just plain cruelty. I don’t care how damn busy you are, your dogs deserve attention and love, just like your kid.

And, this same neighbor literally uses a shock collar on his dogs to keep them from escaping, which they have escaped about 100 times over the past three years. AND HE WONDERS WHY THEY WERE ESCAPING. THEY WERE TRYING TO GET A BETTER LIFE. Imagine that you are secluded to a backyard the size of a small patio, in 100 degree weather, with absolutely nothing to do for 14+ hours (sometimes your owner doesn’t even come home) and if you even try to escape, you get electrocuted. That poor dog has even escaped twice already WITH THE SHOCK COLLAR ON. She was SO desperate that she just didn’t care about the pain. Now that makes me sick.

I have told multiple people about this neglect but all they say are “Oh, sorry.” Why does nobody seem to care as much as I do? How would you feel if that was you? How would you feel if that was your child?

And the owner has always made excuses, but knows fully well how he treats his animals. I haven’t even seen him pet them ONCE. He has even defended himself multiple times, saying how he’s owned pets for years and that he knows what he’s doing. I think it’s pretty obvious you don’t, dude.

In the end I guess that this is what is considered normal. Leaving your dogs outside all day with nothing to do, (DOGS ARE INTELLIGENT CREATURES, LIKE HUMANS, THAT REQUIRE DAILY MENTAL AND PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND IF NOT GIVEN CAN HAVE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES.)

I’m not even going to get into how aggressive his dog is and how she has already bitten 3 people. That’s another story. I guess he just doesn’t care if he puts his neighbors at risk…

My main point is… animals need more rights. I am tired of seeing them chained, electrocuted, suffering, bored, barking constantly, and treated like they are toys that the owners can pick up whenever they like. I am tired.

I need more people who care, who can stand up, and who can petition to give more animals rights. Because they don’t deserve the lives that they leave. No animal, big or small, mean or nice, does.

Thank you so much for reading.

Volunteering at Animal Sanctuaries

So as most of you know, I am vegan. Not plant-based (vegan DIET,) but vegan. I have nothing to do with the exploitation and torture of animals. (No animal meat or products, as well as no animal clothing like wool, leather, or fur, and no products that are tested on animals.)

I feel like part of the vegan journey involves meeting some of the animals you save daily and helping them and their caretakers. That is why I decided to volunteer at some farm sanctuaries. The first one I went to was located in Silverton, Oregon.

It was a little bit of a drive as I live in Portland, but it was well worth it.

So, me, my mother, and sister drove all the way there, and embarrassingly, we were a bit late. (My mother is slow at getting ready…) The owner welcomed us kindly and showed us around. The farm must have been more than 20 acres. It was beautiful. They had over 10 goats, many chickens and roosters, turkeys, cows, a cat, and ducks.

My family started off helping muck out the stables and replacing the floor with fresh hay. It was a little difficult for me because I have bad allergies, but it was so worth it to see how happy the ducks were when they got to go into their new and clean room. I also collected the duck eggs from the ground and we placed them into a bucket. I will state here that I’m not sure if they sold the eggs or threw them away, but from the looks of it, I think they were selling them. While I am in love with this sanctuary, as a vegan, I will state that I do not support that. Not just because it’s “cruel to the ducks” but because it is cruel to the consumers. Eggs, as most people know by now, are not healthy, in fact they contribute to obesity and heart disease because of the high amount of cholesterol.With that being said, I do not support the selling of eggs, especially if this is a vegan sanctuary. (The animals were saved from the meat, dairy, and egg industry, and the owners are vegan.)

After that, I washed some feed bowls, and then we were free to pet and play with the animals. It was incredible being so close to the animals. I just felt such a connection as a vegan. I felt so proud to say that I am helping these animals, and that because of vegans, animals are cared about, and worth something.

I also got to be about 3 inches away from a turkey that was supposed to be for Thanksgiving dinner. It saddened me because seeing him in person was so touching. He was absolutely beautiful, and the fact that somebody wanted to harm him was beyond cruel. They kept making a “thumping” noise in their throats to get my attention. It was adorable.

Lastly, my favorite part of the visit happened. I told one of the owners that I read on their website that they have cows and a bull. I politely asked if I may see them, because my absolute favorite animals are cows. She said, “Of course! Just call Hershey’s name, and he will probably come to you.” We walked over to the cow pasture, and there he was. I was so happy to see him. Hershey was rescued from the dairy industry. He was ripped away from his mother at birth so that humans can drink his mother’s milk, and he was to be sold for veal. Luckily, a kind-hearted soul purchased him for $7.50 and sent him to the farm sanctuary. Hearing his story, and seeing him in person really changed me. I was so proud to be vegan in that moment. He slowly walked over to us after some coaxing, and we fed him some hay from his trough. Hershey had the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen. I was so happy.

I went home feeling positive and proud to be vegan.

The next week, I decided that I wanted to check out another animal sanctuary in Oregon because it was so much fun. I found another one located closer this time, in Newburg, Oregon. I RSVPed and went there the very next day. I was, once again, amazed at the beauty of the countryside. It was around 30 acres, which was so great. This sanctuary had goats, cows, chickens, turkeys, geese, alpacas, a peacock, and some sheep. We arrived, and it was a bit hot that day. We were greeted by a very kind woman, and she showed us how to rinse and wash the feed bowls and pools for the geese. After doing that for 30-45 minutes (in the extreme heat might I add) we were free to pet and socialize with the animals. Of course, I had to go see the cows. My sister and I walked over, and we were greeted by some beautiful bulls and a few cows. They were all right in front of us, eating at their trough. I grabbed some food and started feeding them, and I pet them. They were so sweet. I must have spent 20 minutes just petting them when I realized I was the only one there. I bid farewell to the cows (reluctantly) and then walked over to where my sister was petting the goats. On the way there, I saw silky chickens for the first time. And they were beautiful! After socializing with the animals for a while, we finally went home.

Today I was supposed to go back to the Newburg sanctuary, but I had a ton of work to do so I decided to stay home. My sister and mother are there having fun while I write this.

In the end, I found new meanings to my life, and the joy that I felt seeing and helping these animals cannot be explained, although I tried. If you are vegan, vegetarian, or willing to learn, I highly recommend you look up a local sanctuary. You definitely won’t regret it.

Thank you for reading.

I am proud to be vegan

I noticed that some vegans I have met are actually afraid to call themselves vegan. Maybe they are afraid of being bullied or ridiculed. Or maybe they don’t want to be known as a “pretentious” psycho vegan. While I understand where they are coming from, it insults me, as a vegan, that this lifestyle is something to be ashamed of.

One time, I was at Whole Foods with my mother, and the cashier was ringing up our items. The cashier noticed that everything was vegan. What I love about Whole Foods employees is that they actually know about veganism and almost every single one that I’ve met is either trying it out or transitioning, which is amazing. However, this lady was saying that she is taking “baby steps” when trying out veganism, because apparently, “the food isn’t that great.” She says to the vegan. I was honestly confused. Vegan food is amazing. It is actually normal food. Hot dogs, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, burritos, etc. Except everything is not made from an animal. Woah! Excuse me if food made from plants is gross! Because animals are SO much tastier. Mmm. (Oh wait! Animals aren’t food.)

Anyways, my mom actually said that she was “trying out the plant-based diet” when she is VEGAN! Why is she so afraid to use the word vegan? She doesn’t eat meat, eggs, or dairy. She buys cruelty-free products, and she doesn’t buy clothing made from animals. (She does have some leather shoes, but they were from before she was vegan.) I was shocked. I said to the cashier, “Well, I’m fully vegan.” And the guy bagging the groceries literally said, “Well, I prefer to be called plant-based, because I don’t want to be a part of that vegan dogma.” I was about to rip his hair out. Does he even know what vegan means? The cashier stood there confused, and my mom grew tense because she assumed I would speak my mind to this ignorant idiot. I held my tongue because I was sick and tired of arguing.

Vegans are hated a lot in society. We are hated because we do the thing everyone dreads. We call out the flaws of others, and educate people about the truth. Okay, not all vegans do that, but the vegans who truly care about others do. We want people to be healthy. We want people to be educated. Some people are more open than others. Some people are surprisingly receptive, while others are immature and disrespectful. (You don’t want to know how many times I’ve heard “Mmm bacon.”)

I will admit, sometimes veganism can start arguments between friends and family members, and it can be quite dreadful. My mom took a while to warm up to veganism, but in the end she became vegan, which is something I never expected.

However, my dad HATES anything vegan. He even wanted me to be banned from saying that word. He is one of those meat-eaters who LOVE to stay in the dark about things. He will tune out anything when it comes to food. He actually told me that he would rather die of heart disease and eat meat than live a long life with veganism. (On average, vegans live 30 years longer than meat-eaters.) I mean, if that’s not brainwashed, I don’t know what is. The saddest part is, he doesn’t know how much he is torturing his body. Meat causes cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Veganism can REVERSE cancers and heart disease, if the disease/cancer is caught in time. Don’t believe me? Check out The China Study by Dr. Campell. (That is an online PDF of the book. It discusses the health benefits of veganism.)

In the end, the word vegan symbolizes peace, and love, towards every living animal. Veganism should always be worn proudly. I don’t know where I’d be without veganism. Veganism shaped me into the person I am today. I am now a more compassionate and educated human being, and everyone has the chance to be one too. Veganism is something that anybody can do! You have the power.

Thanks for reading.

 

My Period Story

A period is something that most women have to suffer once a month. I debated making a post like this because 1. my experiences are very personal, 2. I’m not sure if anybody would even be interested, and 3. most people seem revolted by the word period when it’s not used to describe a dot at the end of a sentence.

Well, in the end I decided that I should make this post for people who are either new to their period, curious about my experiences, or maybe you are having troubles.

I guess I should state that I have dysmenorrhea. Before you think it’s some strange disease, what it really is, according to the google definition, is: painful menstruation, typically involving abdominal cramps. This put me in the unusual category for women who experience periods. I didn’t just experience cramps, I experienced excruciating pain. Some of the symptoms included:

  1. Dizziness and even fainting
  2. Frequent vomiting
  3. Extreme menstrual cramps
  4. Heavy flow
  5. Inability to walk or sometimes even move (I am not trying to be dramatic)
  6. Thus, I couldn’t go anywhere for the first few days

It all started around age 14. I was watching The Pursuit of Happiness with my younger sister when I started to feel very sick and dizzy. My cramps started to get worse and worse by the second. I slowly got up and ran to the bathroom. I felt like throwing up but I didn’t. Confused, I laid on my bed in pain for about half an hour. I was too weak to try to do anything, and I weakly tried to tell my sister about the pain but she didn’t believe me.

The pain went in phases. First, it would start off kind of dull and achey, and then full on pain for about 6-12 hours. Then there wouldn’t be any more pain for the rest of the week, besides the occasional ache. It doesn’t seem bad when I describe it like this, but the pain was so unbearable that I was positive that I’ve never experienced pain like that ever. Multiple times I was in so much pain that I tried to contact the police. I didn’t because A. I was too weak to find the phone, and B. my mother would’ve gotten angry.

So, this went on for about a year, and I missed school so frequently because of the pain that I was almost truant. In total I lost about 30 days of school. Finally I decided that this wasn’t normal, and that I should go to the doctor. My doctor then diagnosed me with dysmenorrhea, and prescribed me with birth control. As you probably know, birth control does a variety of things. It can help with severe acne, severe menstrual cramps (obviously why I got it) and of course, it can help to prevent pregnancies. (Not that I needed that.) My mom allowed me to have it but as soon as we got home, she hid it and said that it “wasn’t safe.” I wasn’t angry at first, but once my next period came around, I was furious. She couldn’t understand the pain that I experienced, but I guess she was just trying to make sure I “didn’t get cancer,” according to some article that she had read. Actually, birth control prevents ovarian cancer.

So, with pain and no birth control, I learned to live with the pain. Sure, she purchased some “homeopathic remedies” but of course, they weren’t nearly as strong as birth control would’ve been.

Finally, after 2 years of pain, I went vegan. I didn’t go vegan because of this, I actually went for health and ethical reasons. But the best thing ever happened to me.

When my period came around, there was no pain. No cramps, no dizziness, no nothing. I was so shocked and ecstatic. I had heard stories that veganism was good for menstrual cramps but I didn’t quite believe them… until it happened to me.

Month after month went by, and still no pain. As my diet went on, however, and I ate slightly less vegetables and whole based foods, I experienced more cramps. I still experience cramps to this day, but not NEARLY as bad as I used to.

I will be forever grateful for the vegan diet and lifestyle. Who knew veganism had so many benefits?

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Things vegans and atheists have in common

I made a post a while back called “Are all vegans ‘atheist liberals'” where I talked about the confusing stereotypes that vegans have and such, so it seems quite funny that today I’m going to be relating what we have in common.

First off, I’d just like to say that I am not an atheist, but I am not exactly religious, which you probably already knew if you follow my blog.

I realized that both vegans and atheists get a lot of hate. We are such a minority in America, or even in the whole world. Vegans are constantly surrounded by annoying ignorant meat eaters, and atheists are surrounded by annoying ignorant religious people. I realized that after becoming vegan, I knew how atheists, (or any other minority group) feel to be made fun of or discriminated against. Of course it’s not on the same level as racism or feminism, but it can really put a negative impact on your life.

Veganism has really affected my life, and I’m glad (and quite shocked) to how different I see the world now because of it. I can relate to people I have never been able to relate to before, and I got to experience a whole new life.

The next thing I’d like to talk about is how we (vegans and atheists) view things. Obviously this is not true for everyone, but I noticed that vegans and atheists tend to have a more realistic view on life. They don’t believe in sunshine and fairy dust or that the world is a land of butterflies and kissable kittens. We view things realistically, and even negatively at some times.

I am not positive all the time, and I do feel disgusted by humanity quite often, and I can relate to people who agree.

I don’t know if what I’m saying makes sense. This just randomly occurred to me yesterday while I was just sitting and pondering how I’m feeling, and thinking about how our world works.

As always, thanks for reading.

 

Life as a Vegan is Actually Hard

Going vegan is like a transformation. Not many people realize this when they go vegan, but they do soon enough. Not once did I expect the endless jokes from family, stereotypes, and misconceptions about veganism, and that they would be so prominent in my observations. Not once did I think people would react so strongly to going vegan. It’s like they looked at me as if I was an alien, or strange foreigner.

I will admit, I see where they are coming from. The myths and rumors about veganism are so common in the media that we are all labeled as freaks.

If you act like you don’t care around meat (when you really do,) not talk about veganism around friends/family (but you really want to,) and not act disgusted about the meat aisle in the grocery store, then people will say, “Wow, I’m so glad you’re not one of those vegans.”

What is that supposed to mean? I can’t care about animals? I am forced to not be disgusted at a corpse being chomped on in front of me?

People don’t realize how hard it actually is to be vegan. You have to deal with idiots weekly, smell meat, see meat, watch meat on TV, etc. You might think I’m exaggerating by now, but remember, meat is not food. Meat is not an object. Meat is the dead corpse of a once living being…

I’ve seen numerous videos of how animals are tortured and slaughtered, and seeing them burned into my brain has an obvious effect on me. It’s extremely hard to act normal around meat, but I have to.

So, this post goes out to the strong, brave vegans who deal with dumb meat heads daily and see corpses as if they were raining from the sky. I really need to give you props. Not once did I realize how hard it actually is.

I’m proud to be vegan, because this journey has made me stronger, and it will continue to strengthen me. I will live knowing that every plant-based meal I eat will not be harming a sentient being who wanted to live.

Meat eaters need to stop seeing meat as an object. THEY are not objects.

Thanks for reading.

Little Short Story

 

(I have been pondering publishing this short story for a while now because I find it kind of silly, but I want to hear some opinions! Please let me know what you think.)

You could say I’ve failed in life. Mid twenties, messy brown hair, beard growing in, basically jobless, and 12 tattoos decorating my body. That basically describes me, you know, in a nutshell. I always concentrated in school (not really,) and I always yearned to pursue writing. I took philosophy, creative writing courses, and completed a liberal arts degree in college. I had such high hopes for myself. Pretty ironic that I ended up a bar tender.

Okay, I wouldn’t say that I’ve entirely failed. Sure, my social life is down the drain, I text my mom once a day, and I avoid human contact in public as much as I can, but hey, at least I am sort of good at writing.

It was 11 pm, and I was straining myself to think of the next chapter for my sci-fi novel. I cracked my knuckles and placed my fingers against my ancient typewriter that I got from eBay. The words weren’t flowing to me tonight. Eh, what the hell, might as well step outside for a smoke. It was kind of breezy outside, and the Portland streets were pretty bare, except for the occasional hybrid or mini van passing by. I lit my cig and proceeded to smoke when something caught my eye. Across the street, my eyes laid on this woman. At the exact moment, our eyes joined. She flashed a smile so bright that was visible, even from across the street, and in that moment I knew I had to talk to her. She looked so strange yet so familiar. Who was she? Describing her, she had long flowy black hair, rounded frames, and what looked like a shiny leather jacket. I blinked a few times, tore my eyes from hers awkwardly, and instantaneously advanced in her direction. I was so mesmerized by her that I actually almost got run over by some truck. What the hell? It came out of no where. As soon as I turned back to look at her, praying that she didn’t see, she was gone.

 

I looked hard for her, wondering why she could have left so soon, but reluctantly decided to return to my studio apartment. Thoughts of who she could be filled my head and corrupted my mind.

That night I didn’t sleep.

The next morning, okay fine it wasn’t morning, the next afternoon (2 p.m. to be exact,) I woke up with a clouded head. Why was this girl still fastened in my mind? I don’t even know her… Some freak I am.

I poured some cereal and splashed some hemp milk in the bowl, quite messily. I felt like I was hung over but I hadn’t had a drop to drink yesterday. I ate my breakfast in silence, enjoying the breeze coming through my narrow window, and inhaled the smell of the city.

I sat down on my cushion and tried to progress my novel, but it just wasn’t working today either. All of a sudden, I abruptly stood up, paced to the door, and went outside. It was odd, and I felt as if my body was moving itself. Five minutes later I found myself across the street to where she was last night. Of course, she wasn’t there. Why am I even here? In front of me was a 7-eleven, so I decided to just buy a pack of cigarettes while I was there.

“Hello, how can I help you?” Said a pimpled short teenager in a drone voice.

“Just a pack of any cigs, please.”

I looked around the store, letting my eyes gaze upon all of the foods that could eventually kill you. Cheetos, hot dogs, milkshakes. I felt a little sick. I turned back around and took the pack from the cashier, and then handed him a ten.

“Thanks.” I sighed. No thank you back? Man, the service is terrible everywhere now-a-days.

I rolled my eyes, and headed towards the door. At the same time that I reached for the handle, somebody else did too. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was her.