Canine friends and their meals


          What a lovely Sunday 🙂  Glorious autumn colours and sweeping vistas in Arundel
Park after seraphic singing in the cathedral. Now home with tea in
hand and Begossy eating in the kitchen. He was a bit naughty in the
park – found a dead half-eaten rabbit and started chowing down on
it, then someone else with a dog came along so Begoss picked up the
corpse and pelted down the hill with it; it’s ears flopping down from
one side of his mouth and its mangled body hanging out of the other
side. These folks also had a puppy with them which raced after him
but got roundly told off by himself, which luckily gave me the
opportunity to grab him and put him on the lead. An hour or so later
as we were walking back around that way, another dog was running
along with a rabbit in its mouth, so I put Begoss on the lead again.
This dog was a 3 legged greyhound, moving astonishingly well and
sufficiently agile to have pounced on this rabbit and presumably
broken its neck in that swift accurate way greyhounds have. The only
dogs that trouble Begoss are greyhounds because he too closely
resembles a rabbit; same size and same grey colour. He can outrun /
outmanoeuvre just about every other dog, but has had a couple of
close run-ins with greyhounds – oh and not wishing to be racist but
those ridgebacks and large hounds can be quick nip and shake
merchants too. Nevertheless I never pick him up or react ahead of
time, and so far he has managed to fend for himself pretty well.

            I have never before had a canine companion who was even remotely interested
in dead creatures, but Begoss loves to roll in well rotted ones as
well as to eat anything not quite putrid 😦  I realised when he was
tiny that he was not a willing vegan: had tried him on all sorts of
foods as well as every commercially available vegan dog food. He
doesn’t like rice, other grains or cereals much at all, nor soya,
whereas when he’s at my friend’s house and gets cheese he’s a very
happy boy. The lady who runs thecoffee and  butty stall at Angmering
station always saves some bacon for him as she feels sorry for the
“poor deprived little dog”. My perspective is if he has found it
or been gifted with it that’s ok, but I cannot stretch my morals to
buying meat for him. Luckily he does like peas and beans, as well as
well cooked carrots and the stalky bit of brassicas, and bread (but
not wholemeal); so with a bit of wheatgerm and yeast flakes, and
mashed up nut roast mixed in, and some good oils, and some veggiepet
he keeps very healthy and extremely active. He won’t touch fruit at
all, in contrast to the chow  I had 25 years ago who adored all sorts
of fruit. She was very bear-like in appearance too, and never would
even look at meat, much to my Mum’s astonishment. Mum took it upon
herself to find something carnivorous that Sushi would eat, but to no
avail. I was deeply gratified!

Most days Begoss and me are out for at least 2 hours, with me walking 5 to 10
miles and him off the lead and running as much as possible. In
contrast Sushi did not relish the thought of walking much, especially
in wet weather, which shows how very different dogs can be. 35 years
ago I shared my life with an Old English mastiff called Nancye, who
was as gentle as a dove, and never ate meat . Indeed Begoss is both
the smallest, the most feisty, and the most carnivorous dog I have
ever lived with. Nancye was so fit and slim that I was frequently
asked if she was a Great Dane. We used to go out running together,
sometimes for 6 miles or more, and  I was careful to keep her from
getting fat, because these giant breeds usually die young from heart failure. I did not in those days
feel it was fair to make her vegan, nor know how it might affect so
huge a dog, so she had cheese on toast, or eggie bread a couple of
times a week. I often spent more time cooking for her than for

When my daughter Iona was small, we had a giant schnauzer named Sophie who
was lovely, but who got separation anxiety every day when I went to work.
I would come home to chewed doorknobs and carpets; she even used to
knock the plants off the windowsills and rip them out of their pots.
Iona  loved her but had wanted a little lapdog for ages, and chose a
pug as her favourite cute choice. I hoped that a small companion would keep Sophie happier too. Lily was the first pug : we ended up with 4 of them eventually, which were uncharacteristically
fit too, as I used to route march them everywhere because I was
getting fit enough to walk the Inca Trail. They never ate meat but at
that time we had an assortment of rescued  birds including 2
liberated Christmas geese, a turkey, 4 drakes and several ex-battery
chickens. Being vegan the eggs were a problem – I tried to leave
each hen a pile of her own eggs hoping to stop the incessant laying,
but these poor modern breeds are specifically bred to produce a
ludicrous number of eggs in a short lifetime, so inevitably we were
inundated with eggs. So, the pugs did sometimes have eggs mixed with
their vegan food, except during winter months when the laying
thankfully stopped. Commercial egg producers use various cruel
tactics to prolong the laying, such as forced moulting brought on by
several days of starvation, and artificial lights. A vegetarian
friend of mine, affectionately known as “Jen the hen” had a
traditional breed of chicken who lived to be 15 years old, whereas
these modern ones usually die of exhaustion by the age of 2 or 3, if
prolapse doesn’t get them first.

All of this writing about food, plus the lovely walk in crisp autumn air, has
given me an appetite so I’m off to the kitchen ……..broccoli with
seed cheese methinks, plus whatever veggies need eating. And that pineapple is not going to get any riper – isn’t this time of year grim for frugivores?  Must get
round to digging up my little blue potato patch before the first
frosts lock them into the ground. Enjoy your own dinner and please
please make it cruelty free xxxxxxxxxxx

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