I am a dog. I am just a dog…. Wait no.. No no no. I am not just a dog. I am so much more than just a dog. I am a beagle dog. I am a rescued dog. I am an aarrooing dog. I am a funny dog. A busy, nosy troublemaker dog. I am a sister dog, a daughter dog and a therapy dog. A snuggle bunny, a hole digger and a zoomie dog. I’m a pull all the stuffing out of all the toys dog. Like all the others who are just a dog we know what’s important. Noms and love. A home, a warm bed, occasional hikes, longish lasting chewies, belly rubs, vitamins and moving your vowels daily in the back yard and not on the floor in the house. When I go out at night I like to try play a game called find the skunk… I still don’t know what that is but one day I feel I’m going to find out. But my sister Raven tells me to chase, so I do, because I am a dog.
You would think that the list of what I am and what I need ends there right? But wait there is more. Look beyond what is obvious and dig a little deeper. I am a former research dog. I am an ambassador dog. Ambassador dog. Juno the ambassador dog. That sounds so important. To just the dog it is not important and most days it means nothing to me. I just go where Mommy takes me happy to make you smile. When you pick up your compassionate shopping guide it matters not to me what you buy. I am in this moment and not in the moments two years ago in the laboratory. I never think about those days but I know that you should. You should think about those days when you are spending your hard earned moneys.
This past weekend I attended the New York City Vegetarian Food Festival. I met about a bajillion people most of whom wanted to rub my belly or scratch behind my ears. I love the attention and will flop over for a belly rub for just about anyone so an event like this was bliss for me. My new nickname is Juno Queen of Chelsea! The warm welcome I received from every single attendee who stopped in for a visit was more than I ever could have hoped for. Your tears both of sadness and joy where so heartfelt and appreciated. Thank you all from the bottom of my beagle heart for understanding why we all need to be conscientious shoppers and try just a little harder to change the world by bringing our compassion full circle. Thanks for listening to my Mom go on and on about animal testing. She’s hoarse today from talking so much. Personally it’s all blah blah blah but I know she does it because she loves me and all the animals just that much. So for that reason I let her blah on and on as long as my belly is being rubbed or my ears are being scratched.
I want to thank my aunts Ann and Marti. Your dedication to improving the lives of animals is what we admire in you the most. We couldn’t have done it without you. Well that and your snacks!! Thank you to Nira and Sarah and all the volunteers who worked so hard to bring so many people together. I hope we can come back next year!
My blog would not be complete without a few mentions of people who touched us in their own special way. Mostly we didn’t know their names but we will remember their words and actions forever. There was a constant parade of kids who wanted to pet me. Some as young as 9 years old who had already made a pledge to be compassionate to animals in every area of their lives. I hope they grow up and rule the world. There was a little baby girl named Juno who spent the whole time “petting” and drooling all over me. I didn’t mind she smelled like food and I loved her. There were the kids who wanted to give me their allowance so that I could bring my message to other places so that everyone would know about being compassionate towards animals. There were people with tears because they never knew a beagle who was a former research animal and tears for all that I endured. But maybe the most lump in my throat story came from a man who was there with his family. He was a construction worker and was hired by a large metropolitan airport in New York to pour concrete for a new area in one of the terminals. When he found out that the concrete was being laid to house crates for animals in holding while they waited to be transported overseas to testing labs he did something that many people may not have dared. He walked away. Walked away from a large contract and a lot of money for his company. Mr. Man I am sorry I never got your name but know that if the world had more people like you no animals would ever suffer again. So thank you for your compassion.
And finally to all of you who chose me as your favorite part of the festival. You restore my faith in humanity that together we can make a difference, one laboratory animal at a time.
Luv n Wags,
Juno at the New York City Vegetarian Festival