My kitchen has turned into an abattoir.
My dog is at fault. Or rather, my friend Melanie, who recently decided that a raw meat diet was just the thing to cure her dog’s pesky behavioral problems. Since our dogs hang out together, my dog Sequoia had to follow suit.
It started when Clio spent a few days with us. I thought I’d feed Sequoia some chicken just to “see how he liked it.” What the hell was I expecting? Do women like ice cream after breaking up with their boyfriends? The chicken, bones and all, vanished within minutes of being placed near Sequoia’s jaw.
Melanie convinced me it would be the same price as kibble. (I forgot how bad she is at math.) As of this writing, despite the various co-ops we belong to and meat scrap discounts we’re in the know about, raw meat costs about twice as much as our designer dog chow. Not only that, it’s gross.
This isn’t just garden-variety meat. It’s hearts, hooves, necks, chicken feet, tripe. And my 80 pound dog, who should theoretically be fine with 1.6 pounds daily, chows down 3 pounds a day and still retains his figure. He should publish a diet book.
Meat has taken over my formerly vegan refrigerator. The stench of it hits me whenever I open the door, go in the backyard (where mealtime is relegated), or take the lid off the (what used to be innocuous) kitchen trash can. I spend a good quarter of an hour a day spritzing with vinegar. At this rate, I’ll be penalized a harsh fine for the eco-damage I’m causing due to overconsumption of paper towels. The things you do for love.
What gets me – more than the fact that there’s no turning back without causing permanent emotional damage to my dog – is that all this meat has been there all along, sterilized and processed and dried into the form of cardboardish kibble. Kibble that won’t offend our sensibilities. As a vegan, I’d rather have the carnage be up front. I’m keenly aware that keeping one carnivore as a “pet” means choosing which animal gets to live (with toys and affection and medical care) and which animal will be treated as food. Sanitizing that reality into palatable dog biscuits is more offensive to me than facing the blood and guts (no pun intended) of the issue.
Blood and guts are hard to face, though. I tell myself at least I’m using the animal parts left over from human consumption, and it least I’m not supporting unnecessary and un-eco-friendly processing. But I feel sorrow and disgust and just plain pain every time I handle my dog’s food. I haven’t solved this problem in my mind yet, or maybe ever. Next time I shop for pets, I will seriously consider getting a bunny rabbit.