Hey everyone. So I just got back from a two-day (which was supposed to be three-day) weekend camping upstate for the Russian song festival "Garmoshka." It was a truly wonderful experience and if anyone speaks Russian (or has a translator), check out the website: Garmoshka. I think the pictures and videos from this weekend will be up in a month or so and you should check it out. It's an absolutely amazing experience!
As a vegan, it's always a challenge to go camping, especially when with meat eating family members, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. I didn't even have to pull out the eggplant-in-a-box that I brought with me. All in all it was amazing.
There is something about which I need to vent, just a little. I had my dog, Charlie, with me. He's a miniature poodle, about 23 pounds, neutered. He's generally pretty good with other dogs, recently has taken a marked disliking to pugs, but usually dog-savvy. There was a couple who had their tents near ours and they had a gorgeous brindle Bullmastiff with them, unneutered and just brilliant to look at. My mother told me that they had said he was generally friendly, but would be kept tethered to the table, just to make sure nothing happened, and that we shouldn't worry regarding our dog, or us. I thought it was a nice gesture, especially because they have a large and intimidating dog (I love large and intimidating dogs as much as I do smaller and less intimidating dogs, but I believe that when you have a dog that may very well scare less dog-savvy people, it's your prerogative to be responsible for upholding a good name for the breed and being a responsible dog owner. This, of course, also holds true for owners of smaller dogs, but is just that much more pressing for a large-breed dog owner). So generally, I had a good impression of these people, they had a beautiful dog, in great shape, and they seemed to be responsible caretakers. Later on that day, I was playing with Charlie and I heard a commotion over by the Bullmastiff table. They really weren't very far from us, and as I looked over, it seemed as though the dog had lunged or jumped or ran at something and knocked over the metal ring surrounding the fire pit in which there seemed to have been embers. The (male) owner of the dog proceeded to knock the dog in his face with his fist, repeatedly, smacked him, kicked him, shouted, yelled, cursed him, shoved him around. After all this, he went to fix the fire pit ring, and then went over to the dog again, who was submissively swaying his tail, ears back, whites of his eyes showing, and cowering. Then it seemed the dog was in some pain (apart from nearly having his head bashed in) from the fire pit and had burned a good part of his jowls. All of a sudden the emotionality attached to dog-owning kicked in and everyone (the female owner finally got involved) was fussing over the dog with paper towels and compresses, making sure that he wasn't hurt. This kind of attitude towards animals is what enrages me to no extent. I should have said something, I should have stormed over there and gave them a piece of my mind, but I didn't. All I could do was hold my own dog and promise him that he'd never be so abused at my own hand, or any hand.
I don't really know what else I can say regarding that Bullmastiff. It's a pity that men like his owner feel that they need to resort to violence with their pets.
On a lighter note, I found a pretty good breaded eggplant in the frozen section of my local supermarket which, unfortunately, has a poor selection of vegan options. I cooked it with some whole grain couscous for dinner and it was quite delicious. I need to buy some potatoes to make an old favorite -- fried mushrooms, onions, and potatoes. Yum!
Until next time, I hope fewer animals are harmed and we can do what we can to ensure we don't support anything or one that may cause harm to them!