For as long as I can remember I have always loved animals. As a child we always had dogs and once on my own I adopted two cats who became my fur babies.
A primary attraction to my husband was his similar love for animals. Our compassion not yet fully awakened, we both ate meat and dairy and my husband ate seafood. I had always been troubled by my consumption of animals – yes, it tasted good, but deep down I just knew it was wrong and so did my husband.
After several years of marriage we both decided to try being vegetarian. We avoided flesh for a good six months but then fell back into old habits. Six months later we recommitted to it and this time it ‘stuck’. Sadly, we still consumed dairy and eggs and my husband still ate fish. Our lives continued this way for five years, during which time I lost my mother to cancer and my grandmother to pneumonia.
Shortly thereafter I attended PETA’s Helping Animals 101 Conference in Philadelphia. It was a two day conference where I met vegans, watched heart wrenching under-cover videos about the dairy and egg industry, and participated in my first demonstration – a Ringling Bros circus protest. I came home from the conference inspired, as if I had finally found my calling in life. I told my husband that I wanted to go vegan right then and there. He supported my decision but I didn’t pressure him to do the same. I was very happy when he came to me a few days later and said he wanted to become vegan as well. That was April 2005.
Now, 9 1/2 years later, I couldn’t be happier. Not only have I adopted a lifestyle that reflects my ethics, but I have become an activist and a voice for the voiceless. When it comes to speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves my personal shyness gets shoved aside. I have hosted and participated in protests against fur stores, circuses, foie gras and even McDonald’s. I have spent vacations volunteering for PETA at their Norfolk, VA headquarters and have hosted and attended several Walk for Farm Animals for Farm Sanctuary. Presently, my husband and I staff tables for Mercy For Animals at VegFests covering at Richmond, VA, Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Delaware, Philadelphia, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
I live each and every day for the animals. And I have been rewarded for it to. Not only has it been uplifting for my soul, but my physical health has improved as well. I had been on sinus medicine for years before going vegan but afterwards no longer needed it. I have more energy and my cholesterol has never been lower.
I surround myself with vegan friends both in my personal life and on social media. Although both my parents are deceased, my remaining family members – and those of my husband, have not been as supportive. They begrudgingly accept our choice, but they never lose an opportunity to remind us to respect theirs. But I continue the fight and lead by example. And I will continue for the rest of my life…..always for the animals.