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Title: the importance of vegetarian pets and a meat free household
User: Nava Gauranga dasa Date: 2007-05-22 10:59:29
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krsna!
Jaya Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga!
All glories to the assembled devotees!
My devotional life began to awaken gradually after my initial contact with Swami Gaurangapada. For years before our meeting I had interest in Hare Krsna lifestyle (I first stayed in an ashrama whilst backpacking the U.S. in 1992). But until meeting Gurudeva my understanding of the philosophy was very basic.
A few years before I had received shelter of Srila Gaurangapada ,I was given a gift of a small Jack Russell/Fox Terrier dog from a friend. I got the dog as a companion. Looking back I would decide wisely next time whether to own a dog or not, being a practicing devotee. The animal takes quite some energy, and my devotional life was not developed at the time of receiving the dog. Much has changed in my spiritual practice since then.
So over the last couple of years I have realized my committment in taking care of this spirit soul (my pet dog - Boise). And how to incorporate owning an animal into my Krsna conscious lifestyle and household.
The first priority I realized was to make this household totally meat free (for this household is actually Krsna's residence). I tried for several years to wean my dog off the meat product (dry food) and feed him vegetarian leftovers, but each time his weight loss was very drastic, as he would not take to the change in diet. So each time I failed in my attempt.
But as time progressed, after meeting Guru Gaurangapada, I realized more and more that weaning my dog to vegetarianism was of utmost importance. I guess the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantraraja's were gradually clearing my heart of offences and helping me see reality clearer.
Eventually I began to study more and more about how to make a dog vegetarian in habit. Many people had advised me not to do this, some even considering it cruel to to feed a dog vegetarian diet only. But their concepts were actually unfounded - dogs can be vegetarian! A local veterinarian told me that she knew of one vegetarian dog, which was her clients pet, who lived to the old age of 22 years old. And dogs do definately relish eating vegetarian food!
I came across a vegan pet food supplier on the net, http://www.veganpet.com.au,: "http://www.veganpet.com.au," and ordered my supplies of their product. It has actually worked out cheaper to feed my animal vegetarian food (buying it in bulk for 12 months supply), than feeding the dog meat product. The myth that people use, including myself at onetime, that it is too expensive to buy vegetarian pet food product is unfounded and incorrect. By feeding the dog a combination of vegan dry food (in minimal quantity) and prasadam remnants (as the bulk of the animals diet), over all this is much less expensive than meat based product bought from the local supermarket.
Within one week of gradually introducing this vegan product in my dogs diet, he was totally weaned. And the most amazing thing after this was, he took a great liking to prasadam! Before this he had no taste for these dishes, but once he was weaned onto the vegan dry food, he took quickly to prasadam.
So basically the end of the day is a very spiritual moment for me now. I spend great care in preparing nice wholesome vegetarian preparations for Lords Gauranga-Nityananda. Basically my preparations are simple; vegetables, rice, dhal, and milk products. The offering is the focal point of my days spiritual activities. And taking the remnants is my sustenance to continue a healthy Krsna conscious lifestyle. There is much to be grateful for in receiving the Lord's remnants.
So each night Boise - the dog (who is actually spirit soul like myself), also partakes of the Lord's remnants. I often think of Lord Caitanya's kindness to animals, he even liberated them! And in my own consciousness I wish to perceive the equality of all living entities as servants of our Lord.
So after some years of difficulty of owning a pet, I have gradually learnt how to be responsible and practicle, in incorporating my whole household in Krsna consciousness. Infact since I have created a meat free house there has been so much internal growth in my spiritual life. The Lord pressed home very clearly to me ( by the grace of the mantrarajas) the importance of having a dog as a vegetarian and having a totally meat free house. This decision has radically changed my spiritual situation and consciousness. I cannot stress how important this decision was for my spiritual growth and well-being, and also for the well-being of the dog (Boise).
I really recommend having a totally meat free household, and vegetarian pets, if any of you have not yet come to this decision. Cats can be more difficult to make vegetarian, as they need special attention and balanced diet, and can fall very sick if the diet does not contain the correct nutritional balance. But there are products available so that this transition can also take place. http://www.veganpet.com.au/content/vegan_cat.php: "http://www.veganpet.com.au/content/vegan_cat.php" is one example of a vegetarian cat food supplier, and how to make a cat vegetarian safely.
All the best in your Krsna conscious endevours...yours...Nava.