When I think of sharing I think of the people I share my life with, my every day experiences, the good times and the not so good. And when I think of the people I share my days with I also think of the non-humans I'm surrounded by. In the seven years I've been vegan I've felt a growing responsibility towards all the animals that suffer because of people's careless and ignorant attitudes.
Inevitably I think of my oldest dog, Bert. He came to me when he was ten years old and is fourteen now. I'd never shared my life with an animal before, and I remember the day I met him and knew immediately he was coming home with me.
I decided I was going to offer a home to a dog about five years ago. It felt like I had the time and the space to offer. My friend had a shelter so it was the obvious place to go. He introduced me to about seven or eight dogs but for one reason or another I wasn't the right person for them. Then as I was leaving someone said "What about Bert?" Bert had been there for two years and no one wanted him because he was so old. As soon as I saw him I knew. He came sloping out of the kitchen and sat down in front of me, looking at me intently. I looked back and slowly he moved closer. I have never been as sure of anything as I was of that look. He knew he was leaving with me just like he'd seen the other dogs leave.
From the day he arrived I realised my life had changed. I had this beautiful creature sharing every minute of my day with me. He came everywhere and was loved by everyone. He taught me that slowly is the way to get things done and all food is good food.
I lost him recently, to old age and kidney failure. I miss him more than I can believe. I have other dogs but Bert was different. It was a privilege to share his last years with him and I will always be grateful. He taught me about dogs and about gentleness.
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