Our household is a vegetarian one.
Was. Our puppy refuses to buy into it.
For the first time in our pantry's history, foil-sealed fortified offal sits next to our soy milk, and I am making an uneasy, temporary peace with meat.
The meat issue was one I grappled with when deciding to get a dog, because I view what my pets eat as an extension of my own consumption. But dammit, I need something fluffy and cuddly in my life, and my beloved just doesn't cut it in the furry stakes. Besides, someone told my beloved that he'd better either get me a puppy or get me pregnant, us being newlyweds and all, and I think that contributed to his acquiescence regarding my baby animal yearnings.
For a while, we considered rabbits, which ticked the boxes of cuddly, furry and vegetarian, and I became quite taken with the idea of coming home to a house-rabbit lumbering around on our floorboards.
Then I noticed just how many of our treasured, ground-level objects are made of wood or other delicious chewable materials, and remembered that rabbits teeth don't fall out - they get worn down.
So a little redhead carnivore called Etta joined our lives about a month ago, and she has definitely sated my need for furriness, if not uninterrupted sleep.
I say carnivore, but actually dogs are omnivores, and capable of living healthily on a flesh-free diet, while cats are true carnivores, and I've heard they will actually die if fed exclusively on commercial dog food.
We found a vegetarian dog food called Veganpet, made in Melbourne. Animal-free! Mostly organic! Human-grade food! Complete source of nutrition! Suitable for puppies! Given the tick of approval by our trusted family vet! Seriously, this stuff is so good that I've considered serving it as a bar snack.
Etta, however, was weird about it from the start. She would pick up a kibble, walk away with it, sit down and crunch it, then lose interest in the rest of the bowl. We tried soaking it, hand-feeding her, but she just wasn't eating enough to convince me that I wasn't going to end up with a stunted midget-dog. She didn't dislike Veganpet, I think that the large kibble size just made it hard for her to eat. Besides, as I came to realise, the soy protein just wasn't quite dead enough.
"She LOOVES her puppy Pal!" enthused my Mum, her work-day puppysitter. "You should see her waggy tail when I bring out the foil pouch!"
I felt inadequate. My human-grade organic kibble was no match for my Mum's remnants of cow and/or turkey.
There was no doubt about it though, Etta would go nuts for any food that used to have eyelashes.
I know this is a kind of gross thing to take into consideration, but I am also averse to picking up poop made from dead things. Dog poop is gross in any case, but at least it was vegetarian poop, you know? Looking at those pungent little piles, I just think about the cow that went into that poop, and how sad it would be if it knew that's where its destiny lay. (That's if it was a anthropomorphic cow.)
Anyways, we've decided to take it slowly and supplement her diet with meat while she's growing, and wean her off it later down the track.