Today is our little furry baby's birthday! He is 9 today and although he will obviously not be able to read this email as he doesn't have his own laptop...and is a dog...I still wanted to show him a bit of cyber love as he is a massive part of the Newman family!
Ted joined our family 9 years ago, long before we were vegan. I had done all my research and spent months trying to find a kennel club assured breeder. Obviously, knowing what I know now, I would only ever adopt an animal. However, I cannot change the past and I wouldn't want to either. I hope we are giving him the best life possible and that he is happy he came to be part of our family!
Ted came into our life at a very difficult time and has helped us through various painful times over the years. Not only this but he literally got my husband over his lifelong fear of dogs. He also opened him up to the idea of loving an animal which was a whole new concept to him - coming from a family who had never had any pets.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” ― Anatole France
This quote is so true. I have seen the transformation with my own eyes through Pete. He also says he has Ted to thank for starting him off on his vegan journey.
When people live a life disconnected from animals, without being taught about compassion and being in relationship with them, it is easier to be sucked into the conditioning that animals are merely here for humans. However, the moment you connect with an animal, it can literally unlock something. In Pete's case, it brought about a whole new mindset and love towards animals and sewed the seed that would lead to veganism a few years later.
This is why it is fundamentally important to teach children to care and protect animals. It makes me so mad when I see children mishandling and being rough with their 'pets' (in fact, since going vegan I have gone off the word 'pet' - it seems to just separate them from us further and reinforce the idea that we own them) especially little ones who are completely vulnerable and at the mercy of those excited fingers! It is down to us as adults to teach children that this isn't okay. If we don't instill compassion and respect towards animals in our children from an early age, it is more likely that they will grow up to become adults who 'objectify' animals and view them as resources rather than sentient beings.
If we allow them to, animals can teach us so much.
"Animals are the bridge between us and the beauty of all that is natural. They show us what's missing in our lives, and how to love ourselves more completely and unconditionally. They connect us back to who we are, and to the purpose of why we're here." ― Trisha McCagh
Animals truly are gifts to us. Let's not betray them. Let's stand together and protect them and let's raise kind kids who want to do the same.
Happy birthday little Ted. Thank you for all the joy, love and laughter you have brought to our lives. Whilst we are on this planet we will dedicate our life to helping your animal buddies as much as we can!
Tina Newman - Mum of 2 and author of the children's book series Vivi the Supervegan; fighting for more compassion and peace in this world.