by Steve Liddick

For a long time my wife, Sherry, and I have been considering adopting the vegetarian lifestyle. In part because it is probably healthier. But even more than that it is because we love animals and feel that we should not be eating them.

We have concluded that we are guilty of murder by proxy. That is, we have hired someone to do what we don’t have the courage to do ourselves.

A nice young couple that travels around the country full time in their RV are examples of the value of avoiding meat. Olivia (vegan) and Kyle (99% vegetarian) Brady have a YouTube site at “drivin’ and vibin’.” They are living, rosy-cheeked proof of the health benefits.

My Facebook Friend Beth Chamberlain, herself a vegetarian, shared a YouTube video of a man who adopted a turkey to keep the bird from ending up on someone’s dinner table. The turkey apparently realized that his life had been saved and now gives his adoptive human regular hugs.

I think that was the final (turkey in the) straw that has pushed us over the edge toward vegetarianism. At least enough to give it a try.

It would be impossible for me to go entirely vegan and give up eggs, butter, and cheese. I think I would also reserve some seafood some of the time. I’m not sure what you would call that category. “Hypocrite” might describe it. After all, those are lives, too.

I know I would miss my bacon. We have a refrigerator and freezer full of meat right now, so Sherry and I have decided on a test run. We will stop buying all meat products immediately and each Wednesday and Saturday we will eliminate meat from our diet on those days. The goal would be to see whether we could sustain that diet over the long term–at the same time exhausting our meat stock.

Critics of vegetarianism argue that the human body needs meat or else some vital nutrients will be lacking from the diet. Vitamin supplements are needed for a meatless diet.

Practitioners of the non-meat lifestyle argue that horses and cattle are on a strict vegan diet and seem to do very well.

Whatever your position on the concept, lives are undeniably at stake and I believe all lives have value.

Thanksgiving and Christmas would be a whole lot different around here.

Maybe the next time I see a turkey I’ll get a hug.




by Steve Liddick

All I ever wanted in a dog was a big, goofy animal that sat when you told him to sit, and didn’t chase chickens. Truthfully, we didn’t want a dog at all. A house with three cats sharing space with two aging humans is already near capacity.

It started one night. You know how when it’s dark outside and you think you see something dark running across your back yard? Black on black. Kind like of Mafia hitman’s shirt and tie. Well, we didn’t know it at the time, but that was our introduction to a little Jack Russell terrier.

We didn’t see him in daylight until the next day, which was a Sunday. He had apparently escaped from somewhere. He had been running around for awhile and possibly mistreated in that time. He finally came to my wife. She brought him into the house, put him in her bathroom to separate him from the kitty herd. It was late in the day, too late to take him to the county animal shelter.

He turned out to be really friendly. He climbed up on my lap, cuddled under my arm, looked up at me with big, brown, wet, pleading eyes, and by Monday morning there was no way he was going to the animal shelter.

We took him to the vet to see if there was any ID embedded in him. There was not. What he did have was a fractured jaw, some bruises, and cooties. We figured he had gotten into a disagreement with a garbage truck or maybe got kicked by one of the equines we had at the time. We accommodated the fractured jaw by feeding him soft food. We couldn’t tell if he’d had his shots, so we brought those up to date. We had an ID chip installed and named him “Chip.” We also had him—ah—neutralized, so to speak.

To make a long story even longer, hundreds of dollars later we had repaired and taken ownership of a Jack Russell terrier with more energy than is generated by Hoover Dam. Just imagine a team of Jack Russells hitched up to a sled. They’d be a shoo-in to win Alaska’s Iditarod.

Chip occasionally gets super excited and races back and forth from one end of the house to the other. We call it “turboing” and we step aside for fear of getting bowled over by a 15-pound dynamo traveling at high speed.

Life in our household was changing dramatically.

Cats, as you may know, are relatively self-sustaining. They tend to go their own way pretty much, requiring only food, water, and an occasional lap. Otherwise we lived in peaceful harmony, making few demands of each other.

A dog is different. A Jack Russell dog is really different. He requires at least two walks a day because we can’t let him out on his own or he would be in the same dangerous situation we rescued him from.

Chip the Wonder Dawg, as I have taken to calling him, wrestles with Willow, the cat, who is the same size and weight as Chip. As far as we can tell, each is happy with the arrangement, neither fears the other, and nobody has gotten hurt.

The moral of this story is that a Jack Russell terrier is not a dog for older people. But the only way you will get him away from me is the use of lethal force.

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