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In Loving Memory: The Story of Moose

Moose today, a happy and healthy rescued greyhound

Update: This was written and posted in 2011. I’m reposting because Moose passed away on June 3, 2013. Moose was rescued from a research lab. Animal testing stinks. It’s the cause of much suffering. Learn more here. Never buy products tested on animals and always choose adoption over buying an animal. Rest in peace, dear Moose.

When I first met Moose, a gentle Greyhound, he slowly walked up to sniff me. Then he slowly turned and walked away. I guess you could say he just wasn’t into me. It was obvious he wasn’t your typical dog. He didn’t bark or run up to the door when I arrived. He hesitated. He moved slowly. Moose didn’t act like a regular dog.

The Lab

That’s because he’s not. He lived in a research lab at Iowa State University for four-and-a-half years as a test subject in the racing chemistry lab — receiving regular injections of drugs. Just like in human sports, performance enhancing drugs are sometimes used in the greyhound racing industry. And just like in human sports, they are illegal. Research labs like the one at Iowa State pump Greyhounds with these drugs to find the threshold for testing “positive” for the illegal drugs.

People breed Greyhounds to race. It’s likely, although the specifics are unknown, Moose was not a good race dog, so his people sentenced him to the research lab where he lived until his “uncooperative” behavior was his ticket out of jail. Proof that being a rebel isn’t always a bad thing. Fortunately the research facility moved Moose to a local animal shelter rather than euthanize him. When I contacted the shelter about adopting a greyhound, the clerk who responded said it is rare that they have greyhounds for adoption. Fran Horvath* of Skokie, Illinois adopted him after being alerted that a Greyhound was at the Iowa shelter.

We often hear about the inhumane treatment of race dogs. We don’t typically hear about other greyhounds related to the same industry but used for experiments. Moose lived in a research lab and mostly confined to a cage. Although the lab personnel said they walk the dogs daily, this did not seem true. The pads on his paws were as smooth as a day-old puppy when Fran adopted him. “He could pee in a cup on command and they (researchers) were proud of that”, says Fran.

The early days, learning to play but still skinny.

Coming Home

She knows because she called the school to gather information on him after the adoption. “Moose didn’t have any affect. When I looked in his eyes, they were blank,” says Fran. “He was broke. Unfamiliar with grass, bugs, flies, cars, airplanes, doors and stairs, Moose was clueless about living in a home. Everything was new to him and very scary,” according to Fran.

Moose adapted slowly. In the beginning, he lived in his crate in Fran’s bedroom. Regardless that he could come and go as he pleased, he only left to eat and go outside to do his business. Early on there were many times he didn’t eat all. After a year, he began to trust Fran and her kids. It took Moose a bit longer to accept Fran’s husband. It’s been 6.5 years since the adoption and Fran has seen many improvements. She says,

“Moose spends time with the family now as opposed to hiding in his kennel day and night. If we are in the living room, he follows. When I go to bed at night, he follows. He asks for food and enjoys treats. He was completely unmotivated by food for years. What dog turns his nose up at food?

He plays with toys and collects hats that he steals from my son, Mike. He didn’t know what to do with a toy for the longest time. One day he started carrying one of Mike’s hats in his mouth and took it outside. Now Moose throws them up in the air and catches them. He pounces on them. As soon as any one of us comes home, he goes to his toy basket and very specifically picks one to take outside. Every time, no exception.

August 2011: Fran and Moose

It took several years to get him to walk to the end of the block. At first we walked out the front door and came right back. Eventually he would walk down the sidewalk, which is maybe 20 feet. Slowly, he walked further and further. This was over several years. Very slow going. Now he walks to the end of the block and back. He actually asks to go for a walk and won’t stop nagging until you take him. He cautiously enjoys it.

Now he takes an interest in seeing who is at the door. For the first few years if someone came over he would hide in his kennel. He loves to look out the window and see what’s happening outside,” says Fran.

Love Makes all the Difference

Moose is one of the lucky ones. Here’s how to help other greyhounds:

  1. Learn more about the perils of the greyhound racing industry at Grey2K USA or The Humane Society of the United States.
  2. Do not support dog racing. Say no when invited to the tracks by friends, family or co-workers and let them know why. (Avoid horse races also.)
  3. Adopt your next dog from a shelter or rescue group. To adopt a “retired” greyhound, check out The Greyhound Project to find a group near you.
  4. Raise awareness and share Moose’s story with everyone you know. Most people don’t know this side of dog racing. Forwarding this story to just one person will help. They may send it to another and so on. That is how the power of one works.
  5. For general information on animals used for experimentation, click here.

*Fran Horvath is a friend and former yoga student of mine.  She owned and operated Ethical Planet in Evanston for several years. Her new venture is Greenout Cleanout, offering sustainable estate cleanout services. Find her out online at greenoutcleanout.com. If you have specific questions about greyhounds, Fran offered to share her knowledge. Email her at fran@greenoutcleanout.com.

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Tips for Healthy Living

Over the years I have become healthier by choice, not because of some grave diagnosis, but because I wanted to feel good on a regular basis. Plain and simple. When I look back, I smile at my evolution and it continues to surprise me.

Here are a few tips for healthy living that I have learned over the year. Perhaps you will find one or two of these ideas useful.

  1. Behave in ways that feel good. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.
  2. Sleep 8 hours each night. Minimum 7 hours. Do an experiment and pay attention to how you feel after six hours of sleep vs. eight hours. See if your mood and energy level improve with more sleep.
  3. Meditate. Take time each day, even if it’s only for five minutes, to be quiet and still. Just sit and breath.
  4. Get organized. Clear out the crap in  your life. Even if you live with someone who is messy, you can get your own stuff organized. Do what you can.
  5. Eat mostly whole foods.
  6. Minimize alcohol and caffeine.
  7. Get active. Don’t just exercise. Find a physical activity you truly enjoy. (Turn off the TV. At first you might miss it, but that will pass.)
  8. Stretch your body regularly. Call it yoga or just plain stretching. Either way, just do it. You will be thankful when you are old.
  9. A few close friends is better than a lot of kinda-close friends.
  10. Simple moments make me happier. For instance, a picnic is better than a fancy restaurant. I can focus more on who I’m with rather than get caught up in all the fanciness.
  11. Drink a lot of water.
  12. Smile more. Notice how you feel when you smile. It feels good, right?
  13. Dress for the weather and bring layers. You can be fashionable and comfortable. (Wear a hat when it’s cold and mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves.)

I often think of healthy living as taking care of my body, but it’s more than that. Be sure to take good care of your mind too.

What tips do you have for healthy living? Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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Dear Omnivores, Cooking for Vegans is Easy!

This page originally appeared last Fall. I was inspired to write it after a conversation with my boyfriend. As I have mentioned, I left my corporate job recently and on my last day, my team had a going away lunch for me. As the only vegan at the table, the topic of cooking for vegetarians and vegans came up. I think it is fitting to repost this as the It’s Easy Being Vegan audience has grown quite a bit since Fall.

When do you think “so and so” is going to invite us for dinner, B asked while cooking vegan mac & cheese.

You’re going to have to get a new girlfriend before that’s going to happen, I said.

Continue Reading →

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Update: Vegan Yoga Instructors and Retreats

Yoga with a View

Update: I have learned of a couple more vegan yoga instructors and retreats since I wrote this Ask-A-Vegan post below.

  • Jasmine Tarkeshi from Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in San Francisco (and New York). If Jasmine had a DVD (hint, hint), this would be the one I would recommend.
  • Dharma Yoga in New York City (DVDs available)
  • VegNews Yoga Retreat in Mexico (I attended last year’s retreat and it was AWESOME.)
  • More instructors listed on the The Compassionate Cook website under resources (wellness practitioners).

Hi Christine,

Thanks for your helpful website. Can you recommend some vegan yoga teachers on DVD? I would just like to follow and support someone in line with my perspective.

Mike in Arizona

Hi Mike,

Thanks for writing. This is a great question! As a fellow yogi, I understand why this would be important to you. I wrote about this several years ago in terms of why veganism goes hand-in-hand with yoga. Surprisingly there aren’t as many vegan yoga instructors as you would think.

Sharon Gannon and David Life of Jivamukti Yoga are dedicated vegans and master yoga teachers. A few years ago I attended a yoga retreat at Esalen where Sharon and David taught yoga and inspired yogis to eat compassionately. They have a yoga studio in New York City but  you can buy their yoga instruction DVD’s and CD’s at their online boutique to use at home. They also offer a teacher training program once a year and you can find certified Jivamukti instructors all over the world.

Sharon Gannon wrote Yoga and Vegetarianism and you can watch her give a talk on this subject here. Another book that may be of interest that I’m reading is The Inner Art of Vegetarianism by Carol Adams.

In the recent Food for Thought newsletter by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, she sent out a call for vegan wellness practitioners including yoga teachers. She will be building a list. This will make it easier to find instructors in your area, because there are vegan yoga instructors, who are not Jivamukti teachers, such as myself.

Lastly, for all the yogis out there, the World Peace and Yoga Jubilee combines veganism and yoga into a weekend festival. Although I haven’t attended (yet!), it sounds amazing and you are sure to find your tribe there.


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Making Vegan Easy Week 23 Round-Up

Vision Board Snapshot

Seven more tips for living an easy vegan life. Enjoy!

Tip #155: Practice 5-minute activism.

Your voice counts. Do it now.

Tip #156: Eat to Live.

Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, was on the Dr. Oz show last week. His guidelines for losing weight work. Plus, you will eat healthier than ever if you follow his plan.

Tip #157: Share your recipes with others.

If you often cook with local ingredients and have a recipe of your own that rocks, then enter this contest ASAP. Sunday at the farmer’s market I noticed that the longest lines were for bread, cheese and meat. This contest is an excellent opportunity to get people focused on veggies.

Laptop with a Message

Tip #158: Spread the word.

Use message stickers and wear t-shirts to raise awareness for veganism. Here is my newly decorated laptop.

Tip #159: Get the “Eat to Live” Cliff Notes version here.

Read the rules of Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live program without reading the book plus you will find a bunch of eat-to-live-worthy recipes.

Tip #160: Summer’s here.

Learn how to grill vegan-style.

Tip #161: Give gifts that keep on giving.

A vegan cookbook would make a great graduation gift. I also think John Robbins’ Healthy at 100 is a nice, inspiring option.

Hey friends, have you shared these tips with your family and friends yet? If not, do it today. Join me on Facebook to read these tips daily and to learn more about what’s going on in the vegan world.

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