Short and not so sweet with a few baby steps thrown in

My name is Mollie and I'm in recovery.

My name is Mollie and I’m in recovery.

If you’re looking for Sassy Cats, there was a celebrity edition yesterday. Mollie has recovered from her notoriety and is sleeping peacefully in a catnip haze. She was catting around last night (in the house of course). Too much celebrating!

Pet people and general animal lovers are among my favorite people. They get me when I whine about anything. They’ve been elbow deep in poop cleaning. They have had pets with urgent needs at 3 a.m. They’ve been walloped by an unexpected large vet bill because…well…you do what you need to do. Some of what we do doesn’t make sense to someone who isn’t an animal lover.

Pets are part of the family. Pet friends get the anguish of “the decision” and “the last trip.” They also understand the long grieving period afterward with the unexpected stream of tears over nothing.

I met a good friend for lunch this week. She had horses for a long time and had to put her last one down in the fall. We cried over lunch. Putting down such a big animal in a kind and humane way is no small feat. The horse was 33 years old and he had a good life. Still.

As she explained the process my innards turned to goo. I can barely stand the injection for a cat (nor can I allow my cat to go through it alone), let alone the humongous injection process and getting the horse down to the ground humanely and carted off with dignity. He was part of the family. You wouldn’t let your grandfather crumble to the ground, would you?

It made a big impact on me. Horses aren’t much different from the large animals we eat. I am not much of a meat eater and really I never was.

I like the occasional good steak or yummy ribs basted with barbecue sauce. A single strip of bacon can spruce up a tomato sandwich nicely. Eating any of it in large quantities would diminish the treat. The best part of food is always in that first bite. For me, meat is more like a condiment used to up the flavor.

Growing up, my mother had at least three meatless days a week. You would be amazed at what a woman who went through the depression can do in the kitchen to make nutritious meals. I enjoyed those meals.

Maybe I won’t make it to completely vegan ever, but this year I will focus on vegetables. Baby steps. I love vegetables and grains.

Some people do “word of the year” instead of resolutions. Typically I don’t do anything but perhaps this year my word will be “Vegetable.”




74 thoughts on “Short and not so sweet with a few baby steps thrown in

  1. You made me choke up just reading this post. As an adult, I haven’t had to experience making “the decision”. We had a close call with our dog during his first back surgery, but he came through (three times!) with flying colors. I did lose a parakeet that I got in college. He lived 9 or 10 years and I found him on the bottom of his cage one morning. I was surprised at how hard it hit me. I wouldn’t look at or clean his cage for over a week and did break down once unexpectedly while doing the dishes of all things.

    I went full vegetarian over 4 years ago. The only time I miss meat is on Thanksgiving – my favorite meal of the year. But other than that, it’s been easy. Before I became vegetarian, I did the baby step thing. I gave up pork and beef the first year. Then poultry the next year. I don’t eat fish anyway, so that wasn’t part of the “give up” equation. I don’t think I could ever give up cheeses, so I’m not sure I could be vegan. My brother is, though.

    Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have relatives who live on ranches who are vets. They have a spot were are couple of well loved quater horses were buried. Can’t kick them to the curb – just can’t. (Nor could I take a faltering one to the slaughter house because “it’s easier” Gut it up people. That horese carried you, now kindness expected in return)
    I love veggies! But still want a good lean steak/hamburger/salmon/ or shrimp once a week. Some of us need that to stay healthy. Different people thrive on different things – no scorn for anyon’es prefereances from me.
    (But in summer – mostly veggies seems right in hot weather!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • My friend buried one on her farm 25 years ago. Getting a backhoe and all that was even harder than finding a caring service to take and cremate or bury. She talked about the company which was run by two middle-aged horse lovers (but they did all large animals). They positioned the horse so it’s head wasn’t at the end of the trailer just in case something happened. They had a lot of heart for what they did. Nope never kick them to the curb.


  3. I’ve been a vegetarian for a few years now and I can keep a vegan kitchen at home, but have a very hard time when I’m out with others. The story of your friend and her horse touches me, too. One of my friends lost her horse in early December. Her horse was a rescue, which is is an incredible story on its own, but in early December she had to put him down. It was devastating. I wanted to send a sympathy card, and as I said in the message, I can’t think of a horse as a pet. A horse simply must be an animal friend and companion. “Pet” just doesn’t feel right. I know a lot of people who think I’m a little overboard with my pets. But I think I know something they don’t! It all evens out. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • My favorite story from your blog was that day you sneaked around to change so you wouldn’t wake (or make her aware) you were home. Hilarious and what I would do during my midnight bathroom runs so Jake wouldn’t start howling. We are both overboard with our pets but it’s what we do. We do know something they don’t. My condolences to your friend. Losing any friend is hard.


  4. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years. There is still so much one can eat. Now, being a vegan would be hard, I think, without dairy but that’s the way to get really thin! I won’t be going that route, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My husband and my youngest are both vegetarians. My youngest is a HUGE animal lover. I know vegetables are very good for you, but I have not learned to greatly enjoy them. I am doing better, but not enough to entice me to give up meat. Good luck in your endeavor though!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Love this post, Kate … and your word for the year! My husband and I eat vegetarian meals more often than not. I have a vegetarian lasagna in the crock pot right now. I agree that Janis should put the recipe for her vegetarian minestrone crock pot soup on her blog! (hint, hint)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ll count myself as one of your “elbow deep in poop cleaning” readers. This moves me because of my own situation right now, constantly monitoring old Dog Three and weighing the quality of her life versus her suffering. Wondering how long it will be before I have to make the call.
    But this has remained distinct from my own eating habits – I mean I have never associated the love for my own animals with the pleasure of eating well seasoned and prepared pieces of someone else’s animals appearing on my plate.
    I guess the question is – do we make pets of dogs and cats because they don’t taste good? Or does pork and beef taste good because pigs and cows don’t make good pets?

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is a conundrum. I had a pet chicken when I was a kid. It was during that time when they dyed them and sold them at Easter. He was a rooster and would walk around on my shoulder. When I started school my mom butchered him. She didn’t want him in the house for the winter and yes I would have insisted on that. I was distraught and refused to eat it. My brother ate him but he was a tough bird. He wasn’t bred for eating. Probably traumatized me for life. I don’t eat anything I name.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Do you know that eating colourful vegetables and fruit diet elevate our moods? I can relate to your mom about cooking up a storm. As for animals, we raise and give them names only to be eaten, not as a pet. Only when here in Canada that we stop eating our pets.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When we lived in El Paso, TX, 1976-1980, I rode along with a large animal vet on his calls for about a year. That was a sobering time for me. I am a horse lover and have owned 6 horses at varying times in my life. Putting down a horse humanely and with dignity is tough and takes a good vet and assistance. I thought I wanted to be a vet’s assistant but I didn’t have the heart for it or the courage.

    I could easily live without meat except for the occasional hamburger. I do love chicken but could certainly live without it. I pretty much don’t eat meat… I do kid about cheeseburgers in comments, but they are few and far between. I also like salmon. I don’t think I will ever make it to completely vegan either. I am going to borrow your word, Kate. And I am going to try to eat better this year… I am going to try. I will be checking out Nancy’s recipes and I would be interested in your minestrone. I have a canned minestrone that I like but too much sodium.

    I love the pet blogging community! I really enjoyed this post, Kate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your kind words. I don’t have the heart for it either. I can’t even volunteer at the shelter. Whenever I go I end up in tears. I would need major drugs. I try to help in other ways — donations of stuff and money, adopting (probably more than I should!), whatever I can.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a story about the other side of grieving. My dear friend with three cats died suddenly in November. One cat went to a family member and my daughter and 3 granddaughters adopted two of the cats. Of course the cats were grieving. Since November 15 the one cat has been living in the furnace room ceiling in my daughter’s home. She knew she was coming out to eat and use the litter box but couldn’t coax her out. Yes, we tried a live trap. The other cat was known to have a bad temper and has been re-named Stormy. Stormy has become much more lovable during the time she was “only” cat. Shadow finally emerged last night and my daughter was able to block the entrance to the furnace room ceiling. Apparently Shadow (the older cat) is terrified of Stormy. So, these cats are still mourning the loss of their first “human” pet. We hope that Shadow can assimilate into the love that these four little women will shower on her.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cats don’t do change well and everything changed. There is nothing left to ground them like their human. Kudos to your daughter and her kids for their patience. I hope the two cats can find peace with each other too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Daughter just called and Shadow has found a hole in the ceiling over the furnace and has again retreated. Sigh. Daughter is frustrated, but she’s a tired special ed teacher with 3 daughters to raise. Oh well.

        Liked by 2 people

        • EILEEN: Sadly, I’m highly allergic to cats, so can’t have them, but my late father indulged himself freely once all the kids had moved on. Tell your daughter to be patient.

          My Dad rescued an extremely shy/scared cat from his vet’s “DEATH ROW” – so named (and labeled!) to encourage adoptions by people who brought in their dogs and cats for treatment or well-visits. My Dad couldn’t seem to leave without bringing home another cat – eventually numbering SEVEN indoors (plus one Shih Tzu – a pup from one of mine)

          NO, I’m not a breeder but I do have to live with purebreds if I hope to breathe. This was an exception, and an exception to the point of my comment, but for anyone concerned I place two of the pups carefully and without charge. Grieving after doing so, I decided to keep the third, Tuxedo (solid black except for white ruff and paws) – who joined Bandit (black &white with a black mask over his otherwise white face) and Tabitha (colored like a tabby cat) in our merry apartment-dwelling band. Years ago now, and despite going to homes where they were loved and cared for, I still regret not being able to keep them ALL.

          Back on point now ==> Missy, this particular cat hid out for almost a year – Dad rarely saw her at all for many months – but eventually she took to hiding under my father’s favorite lounge chair, peeking out to watch as he loved on the other cats with him at the time. Eventually, all by herself, she hopped up on his lap without any coaxing what-so-ever. He says she ended up being the most loving cat he ever lived with.
          (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
          – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
          “It takes a village to transform a world!”

          Liked by 1 person

  11. I live meat-free since 14 years… but we eat fish and seafood. I once agreed to go with a friend as she had to make this decision for her horse… I was there to support her…. but at the end she was the one who brought me home… it was just horrible…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Planning more meatless meals is a great idea, Kate ~ better for you, better for the planet, and better for the animals you would otherwise be consuming.

    If you need any ideas, you can search the category “Vegetarian Recipes” on SLTW. Yesterday I made Pineapple Chutney for us and as a hostess gift for a neighbor. Today, I’m cooking up a big pot of curried veggies to serve over rice with the chutney ~ potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, green beans, garbanzo beans, and broccoli.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I like chutney but not so fond of curries although it may be just the ones I had. Recently we ate out at a seafood place and the side was a sort of stewed vegetables. I could have had that as my main dish! There were raisins in it but it only added the occasional touch of sweetness and it took a while until I figured out they were raisins (and not cranberries or other berries). Vegetables sometimes take more work or planning. Our go-to winter dish is a minestrone soup chucked full of vegetables and very little meat. For the chicken soup, I keep out the shredded chicken and just put it in my husband’s soup leaving mine filled with noodles and vegetables. I still use chicken broth but like I said baby steps. I will check out your recipes. Thanks for the tip.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Overall, I find cooking with vegetables to be less time consuming since I don’t have to worry about thawing meat, cross contamination with meat juices, etc. ~ making a Thanksgiving Dinner without turkey is almost “fast food.”

        But I tend to lean toward recipes that just require chopping and dropping with no fussy business. I am a lazy cook. 😀

        There are some really good Veggie stocks out there ~ our favorite is Better Than Bouillon. It’s in a jar that you refrigerate after opening. We also like using Knorr Vegetarian Bouillon cubes.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. The older I get, the less I like meat. Unfortunately, husband/ chef is total carnivore. He has no problem eating animals, nor any animal parts. Chicken feet? Yum. Sheep’s brains? Bring it. Unlike those of us brought up on packaged meat, far removed from the mooing, breathing animal source, he has always gotten that he eats animal parts and accepts that.

    Yet he loves his dogs, too.

    Humans are walking contradictions. Or, as Whitman rationalized it, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself/ I am large, I contain multitudes.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am a HUGE (or is it YUGE) contradiction. If I ate according to my values, it would be potatoes and tomatoes and I wouldn’t have any teeth. The little I know about Asian cooking is that they don’t waste anything. They figure a way to make it tasty. If you started eating chicken feet as a kid, it would be natural. My Dad ate things like pickled pig’s feet and lamb’s tongue. As a kid, he’d give me a slice and I thought nothing of it. Now it gags me. The other thing I can’t do is eat stuff that looks like the animal except for chicken (because I grew up with it). I was at a pig roast once and only ate the potato salad. Totally grossed out.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. That’s exactly right. “You do what you have to do.” Or another way to look at it is, you do what your pet isn’t capable of doing on his own. Cost is completely irrelevant. I love my fur babies. Smile when they are happy, and grieve when they die.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cost is irrelevant. You don’t blink twice about a big bill for a surgery if there is a chance yet you think twice when paying that for something for yourself. I have many friends who lost their pet after spending thousands of $$. In his last year, Jake was expensive. I donated his last $150 medication to another pet because he only used it twice.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. That’s a good plan, Kate. A recent blood test I had came back with a slight uptick in cholesterol. The doctor wasn’t alarmed thankfully, but I think a couple of veggie meals a week wouldn’t hurt. Euthanizing a horse sounds very complicated. – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    • Much more complicated than I knew. You don’t think about it until you do. How do you get a standing horse down. What do you do after he is gone? We went to a Mexican restaurant this week. They have great enchiladas and I love their cheese. No meat at all and it wasn’t planned. Of course, I’m not sure big cheese is a way to control cholesterol. Good luck to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True… but some interesting trivia, when spelled backwards (Agabatur) it is still lower on the list (and probably a Hungarian plant species)! To appreciate the significance of this, you have to acknowledge Celery breaks the rule. It is low on the list… but then Yrelec (Polish plant species) becomes the highest on the list! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

          • Since going gluten free, I have learned to appreciate celery for dipping – or stuffed with peanut butter. I still don’t like it in my salads, but can’t imagine leaving it out of soups.

            Once I left college, I was never again much of a meat eater myself, initially because I was a struggling actor for many years. Now it’s just what I like – as well as a welcomed budget-stretcher. Fortunately, I’ve always been crazy about beans and rice – Cuban black beans, Louisiana red, mostly meatless chili over rice – bring it!

            Liked by 1 person

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