It is not an understatement to say that animals have massively changed our lives for the better. The effects they create to our wellbeing is one of the many significant reasons why they deserve all the love and care of the world. So why not pay them back? Very timely for this episode is the upcoming National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen celebrate by bringing up this very necessary topic of adoption and how we could change the lives of many homeless and at-risk shelter animals by giving them a chance at living a happy, healthy, and protected life. They share their own stories that bring awareness to our relationships with animals, highlighting the importance of being conscious of the food we take and the products and even the language we use. Furthermore, Jason and Whitney greatly emphasize why we should adopt and not shop. They enlighten us on how breeders endanger animals and how we could, in turn, do our part to stop that from further happening. Save a life by adopting a shelter animal. Tune into this conversation to learn how.
Listen to the podcast here:
National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day: Raising Awareness About Adoption For The Well-Being Of Animals
This is a day that I’ve been waiting for quite some time.
Should I be scared or excited or how should I feel? I’m feeling mixed emotions when you say that. I feel like you’re going to lay something bizarre on me right now. It’s either going to be like, “That’s crazy,” or it’s going to be like, “Okay.” I feel like my reaction is going to be one or the other.
Can you take a guess about what it’s going to be? Where did your mind go?
My mind went to like it’s National Bedbug Day. We’re going to talk about bed bugs. We’re going to do a whole episode on bed bugs. It’s going to start off as bed bugs, then we’re going to talk about the proper sleep hygiene. That’s the first thing that my mind went to. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m thinking about how much I want to travel right now. When I travel or you and I have done road trips in the past, but we need to be mindful of bedbugs. My mind is very tangential.
Now I want to talk about that. You brought this to yourself. I thought that was interesting how we went on that road trip and we brought that bedbug spray.
There’s no sleep hygiene in general. It’s something I’m much more mindful of in general like preparing one’s environment for sleep, but especially while traveling. I feel it’s another level of mindfulness, from the bedbug spray to bringing your own pillowcases. The last road trip we did in San Francisco at the beginning of 2020 where you were so kind to bring a couple of white noise machines, that made a huge difference. This is a totally different direction than you wanted to go.
I was not planning this whatsoever, but we take tangents because these are conversations and it’s very real.
Welcome to our life. If this is your first time here at This Might Get Uncomfortable, welcome to our show and our brand, Wellevatr. This show is simply a mirror and a glance into our normal everyday conversations. When Whitney and I are together and not in front of a microphone, this is how we speak to one another. We’re very tangential. We are passionate about many different subjects of life, figuring ourselves out and going deeper. The tangentialness of this show is a reflection of how we live our lives.You always have an opportunity to change the way that you speak and the way that you act. and Click To Tweet
I’m also trying to pass the time while the construction across the street quiets down. For the show, we’ve created a studio for ourselves but now that we’re in quarantine that’s not an option. We’re at home. My favorite place to do this is infront of our window because it gets a lot of natural lights. There are interesting things outside that I can look at to remind me of what life was like before all of this. This is National Shrimp Scampi Day, Jason.
If they’re going to be anything more ridiculous than National Bedbug Day. The thing is though, what is this going to parlay into? How do we use this as a jump-off point for wellness, mental health and self-development? I’m very curious to see what your segue way is going to be from National Shrimp Scampi Day.
The backstory for the audience is that we have this spreadsheet where we write down ideas and we keep track of our episodes. We try to stay organized even though most of our episodes are very tangential and improvised, but they usually start somewhere and then they go somewhere else. I sent this spreadsheet to Jason and he saw I had taken a note of National Shrimp Scampi Day and he was like, “You were pissed off. You were annoyed.”
I was like, “Whitney, are you serious right now? National Shrimp Scampi Day, for real?” That was my initial reaction. You’re like, “It was a joke.” Now here we are talking.
I wanted to start this off with some laughter because it is a complete joke. I have no intention of doing a whole episode on National Shrimp Scampi Day.
Can I ask a very honest question? I feel like a small percentage of the episodes, we have used as a national day to parlay into Earth Day or significant things that we do want to talk about and share with the audience. Who pushed that through? Who was like, “That shrimp scampi, not just shrimp but the dish shrimp scampi needs to have its own day, make it so?” Who approved that? How does one get a national day approved?
I honestly feel like it’s probably not that hard. I’m going to look that up.
I would like National Orange Cat Day. I’m a fan of orange cats. I have an orange cat. I rescued an orange cat, which we could talk about that or not. I have a thing for orange cats. I love cats in general. I am a cat dad. I’ve been a cat lover my whole life. Orange cats in particular, probably because it’s a cat and my favorite color is orange. When you put those two things together, it’s magic. I would like to declare October 17th, National Orange Cat Day.
Why October 17th? Is that his birthday?
My cat orange Julius Bartholomew Wrobel, his birthday was in early April so we’ve passed it. Happy third birthday, Julius.
I’m trying to find the history of National Shrimp Scampi Day. I promised that we’re not going to talk about this much longer, but you did peak up my curiosity like who came up with this? It’s funny because there are a bunch of websites that are like summarizing each of the national days. They take them all very seriously. NationalToday.com has actual activities you can do to celebrate shrimp scampi. It’s like, “Create your own dish, eat out at a restaurant, invite some friends over.” I’d love to meet somebody who celebrates this day. I will say before we move on from this silly topic, we could give a shout-out to one of our favorite dishes of all time. It’s an important thing to talk about. We are vegans. Vegans can still eat shrimp because there is a delicious plant-based shrimp.
I want to preface this by saying that for all of the food innovations, culinary creativity and food technology, especially in the last decade that has come out, that has given us incredible versions of plant dairy, milks, cheeses, spreadable yogurts, spreadable cream cheese. We could go on and on. For me, the one category that I have seen that has needed the most creative attention and technological development has been plant-based seafood. There hasn’t been a lot that’s necessarily blown me away. However, there’s a restaurant that has been here in Southern California for many years now. They have one location in Fountain Valley and one in downtown Los Angeles called Au Lac. The chef there, Chef Ito, has taken a vow of silence for well over a decade. He doesn’t speak. He gestures and he’ll write notes to you.
He’s taken a vow of silence to honor the billions of voiceless animals that are killed in the meat and dairy industries every single year. He’s taken this vow of silence. This man as a chef, as a culinary artist, is one of the most innovative forward-thinking chefs I’ve ever met. He’s a hero of mine. There are very few chefs that I will put on a pedestal. The innovation of this human being is remarkable. He has created from scratch recipe because you can buy bagged vegan shrimp. It is a yam, the root vegetable. He takes a yam and he makes vegan shrimp. I believe it’s yam and konjac root. He combined yam and konjac root. It is the most realistic in terms of the flavor, but the mouth feel and the tender dense rubberiness of shrimp. It is the closest thing legit.Why should we be owning an animal versus choosing to bring an animal into our lives to take care of it? Click To Tweet
Whitney and I have taken friends there who are not vegan like Ross and a bunch of people we’ve taken too. They’ve tried it and go like, “I can’t believe how good this is.” Hands down, it’s the best vegan shrimp I’ve ever had. Carnivores, paleo people, whoever we’ve taken there, they’ve tried it and their minds were blown. To our dear audience, if you’ve never been to Au Lac especially if you’re in the midst of the pandemic tuned into this, you can maybe get takeout out. I don’t know if they’re available for takeout, but when the restaurants do reopen, go there and get the yam shrimp. It is absolutely mind-blowing. I wish they would sell it in stores. I wish they would have that in the frozen section so we could buy it because it’s unbelievable.
As I finished this tangent, I’m bolstered by the fact that this category is getting more attention. We know that through overfishing, there are certain scientists that estimate that the majority of sea life could be wiped out of the oceans by around 2050. We’re overfishing and wasting it. We’re killing tens of billions of sea animals every year for our food and our products. Having plant-based alternatives where we’re not decimating the populations of ocean life. Moreover, one of the reasons that I personally gave up seafood all those years ago when I was in my plant-based journey was because I was reading many studies talking about the mercury content, the PCBs, the dioxins, the neuro and endocrine disruptors in seafood. I thought that’s a whole mess of heavy metals and toxins that I don’t want in my body. I gave up fish initially, not for ethical reasons but because I saw the high levels of heavy metals and toxicity and didn’t want to put that in my body. The plant-based seafoods like this shrimp out there, high in protein, high in minerals do not have the heavy metals or the toxins or the PCBs. It’s giving our oceans a break by not supporting the over-fishing practices.
I’m glad that you’re on a rant because I’m laughing to myself at how loud it got all of a sudden. It’s like, “You wanted to record a podcast. We’re going to do all this construction. The police are going to fly a helicopter around your home for the next twenty minutes.” I’m sure it has nothing to do with me. It’s nothing personal, but life does this sometimes. I want to back up what Jason said and I did find out that Au Lac has temporarily closed. I hope that it’s truly temporary because it would be such a shame to lose their incredible food permanently.
It also is possible that restaurants like this are going to have to transition and get more creative. Maybe their food will be available in grocery stores or in a different form. I went to this cool entirely vegan grocery store called Besties, which is cool. They have a huge selection of interesting plant-based foods. I decided to try a shrimp that they had in their frozen section. I don’t know why I did this to myself but I went in thinking that it could come close to Chef Ito’s shrimp and it does not at all. I’ve tried a lot of different vegan shrimp alternatives out there and none of them compare to Chef Ito’s work. I think that there are some people that create very unique foods and Ito is certainly one of them with that. The whole reason I brought up National Shrimp Scampi Day is simply because you like to pronounce shrimp in a very interesting way and you have an interesting tattoo. I thought maybe you’d want to bring up before we move on from this topic and never address it again.
I do have a few more things to add. I do pronounce shrimps “squimps.” It’s because I dated someone many years ago and we had an inside joke about squimps. I have a tribute tattoo to her that has her holding a shrimp. Everyone’s like, “Is that a lobster?” It’s not a lobster. It’s a giant shrimp. I have to explain this. It’s the weirdest tattoo I have. I’ve also had a couple of laser sessions on it. Let me say this about tattoos. Getting a laser tattoo removal session is ten times more painful than getting the tattoo. One of the most excruciating physical pains I’ve ever had is getting a laser tattoo removal. It’s unbelievable how painful it is. I’ve thought about getting a large chest piece covering my chest because I talked to a couple of tattoo artists who specialize in cover-ups. They’re like, “It’s going to be cheaper and less painful for you to cover it up.” That’s one of the things I’m thinking about doing, getting a chest piece to cover it up.
We’ve spent fifteen minutes talking about National Shrimp Scampi Day. You thought this is going to be a joke.
It was but we’ve parlayed it into giving people all of the reasons why it is important to eat less seafood for the ecological reasons, for not bombarding your body with mercury, PCBs, and dioxins to all the reasons. I wanted to give a shout-out to two other companies besides Chef Ito and Au Lac that are doing some awesome innovations in terms of plant-based seafood. One is our dear friends and brothers, Chad and Derek Sarno and their company called Good Catch Foods. They have plant-based tuna. They have 3 or 4 different flavors of shelf-stable packaged tuna that is super high in protein.
I don’t know what the blend is. It’s soy protein and bean protein, but they have several different flavors. I have traveled with it. Anytime I go on a plane and I need to rip open a package of tuna, it’s great. I like to spice it up though with some mayonnaise or some mustard, make a tuna sandwich, but Good Catch Foods is a great company. They have national distribution at Whole Foods Market across the country. The other one that I want to give a shout-out to is Sophie’s Kitchen. They have some cool products. They have a vegan salmon. They have a smoked salmon alternative that’s good. I also believe that’s made with konjac root. They have shrimp too and crab cakes. I like their crab cakes.
Their breaded shrimp is one of the better if not the best that I found in stores.
Their shrimp and crab cakes. There are a couple of recipes for homemade vegan crab cakes made from hearts of palm that are phenomenal. I will find those recipes if you want to make vegan crab cakes from scratch at home because they’re phenomenal and super easy. I didn’t expect to riff on this for 17 minutes and 20 seconds, but we have somehow magically improvised this into a useful informative episode.
Somebody might have turned it off the second that we said National Shrimp Scampi Day. They’re like, “I’m done with this episode. Forget that. They’re weirdos.” They’ll never come back. We may have lost somebody for life.
These are the risks we take on This Might Get Uncomfortable.
I’m going to move into another national day. This one is not a joke. This is incredibly timely, which is why I decided to bring it up. April 30th is National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day. I thought it was a great time to talk about adoption, which we’ve dabbled in on the show here or there. Our focus of this show is mostly on wellness. If you haven’t heard us say this before, we take a very holistic approach to well-being. It’s not about taking supplements, getting sleep, eating the right food, drinking water, exercising, those are all certainly important.
When we say holistic, we mean that a lot of our choices in life, if not every single choice that we make in life ultimately will come down to our well-being. It will impact our well-being. Animals have a massive effect on our well-being as well as the well-being of the world. When it comes to making an adoption, you can make a huge difference on the well-being of an animal as well. Jason, I’d love for you to share your story and then we can talk more about why adoption is important, how you can celebrate this day and how you can find a shelter animal. I have some interesting statistics for this day. I thought it was a great topic for us.
It’s wonderful because this is something that we’re extremely passionate about for all the reasons you mentioned. Number one, to give homeless and at-risk shelter animals a chance at living a happy, healthy and protected life. Also, sharing some stories from my life of all the animal companions that I have at my home and the specific situations where I was facing depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and how they helped from a mental and emotional wellness perspective. It is a foundational element of the show here that we love to talk about.
I’ll share a little bit about a story. I got a message from our close friend, Brittany Littleton, who runs our favorite animal rescue organization here in Los Angeles called Little Love Rescue. You can check out their website and Instagram if you want to check out their adoptable animals of which they have dozens and dozens. The reason they have so many now is because of the pandemic that’s going on. All the aftershocks of COVID-19 with many people losing their jobs and becoming financially unstable, people have been abandoning their animals. When I say abandoning, I mean putting them on street corners, dumping them in boxes in front of the veterinary clinic, dropping them off at Brittany’s doorstep because they know that she’s an animal rescuer.
There’s been a market increase at least here in Los Angeles of people abandoning their animals. It’s extremely sad and unfortunate with the state of things financially and economically, but it is what it is. First of all, she has dozens of adoptable animals if you are looking to foster or adopt a companion. I wanted to put that out there. She sends me a message that there was a cat down in Garden Grove, which is about a 45-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles near where I live. She said there’s this cat that is bleeding, injured, and afraid. It’s stuck in a corner. A friend of hers who lives down there had messaged her a video, “Can anyone go and transport this cat and bring it to the vet?”
I dropped everything. You and I were working that day, Whitney, and I had things on my to-do list. I was like, “There’s nothing on my to-do list that is more important than me making sure that this cat does not suffer and die alone. I got in my car. I drove 90 miles an hour down to Garden Grove. I found this woman who had alerted everyone to this cat. The cat was shaking and crouched in this corner behind this Chinese restaurant and there was a trail of blood leading up to this cat. It was covered in blood, covered in urine, covered in feces. I’m like, “This is a bad situation.” I put my gloves on. I got the cat carrier out. I approached it very slowly and was like, “It’s okay.” I was making sure that I wasn’t freaking out. I was making sure that my energy was calm and loving so that it would respond to that. I was breathing with it and patting it on the head. It let me gently pick him up. He didn’t resist. He didn’t try to bite or claw. I put him into the cat carrier and zipping him up was easy. I drove him another 45 minutes to the Sherman Oaks animal hospital where they work with Little Love Rescue.
The agreement they have with the rescue organization is for any high-risk animals that need surgery or procedures to save their lives, they’ll do the procedures and the surgery and then build them later to make sure that the animals are cared for. It turns out that this sweet little boy has a broken pelvis and had internal bleeding. He was urinating pure blood. He had a ruptured bladder. He’s in surgery. I’m going to check in on him. The final bill came to $3,500. We’re raising money to pay back the vet right now where a lot of people are donating because Little Love Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
In 24 hours, we raised half the money. We are still looking to donate to Little Love Rescue because they have thousands of dollars of vet bills of animals that they’ve rescued. If anyone wants to donate who’s tuned into this, their Venmo is Little Love Rescue. They have a PayPal account. They have a Cash App account. It’s all Little Love Rescue. Little Love Rescue is near and dear to my heart. I know it is to you, Whitney, because we’ve known Brittany for many years, almost a decade now. We know how hard she works for the animals. It’s a two-person operation and very small.
I adopted my dog, Bella and my kitten, Julius from them. I do whatever I can to help them out. There are many animals suffering. There are many animals that are battling for their lives. If we can give them good homes and we can donate to these animal rescue organizations, it’s not something that I do professionally, but it’s something I’m extremely passionate about. If I can donate time, energy, and money to help these animals, it’s something I have to do. It’s so deep in my heart and soul to do this. I know that was a long description of my rescue mission, but it’s something that in my heart, I felt a lifelong connection to animals. It’s something that no matter what and until the day I die, I’m going to do everything I can to help them.
It’s interesting because there is lack of awareness in general about what’s going on. I’ve had a lot of eye-opening experiences myself when it comes to animal adoptions. The more I learn, the more passionate I become about it. It’s also tempting to judge people for not adopting animals. There’s also the case of you, Jason. You’ve rescued five of them, but I don’t know if any of them have technically come from a shelter.
None of them have technically come from a shelter. Out of the five that I have, the original to the OGs that I call them Lynx and Clawdia, they were rescued from a woman who literally goes to the highest risk shelters in LA. She will extract the animals that are scheduled to be euthanized. She’ll pay the fee and take them to her house. She sends out emails to her close friends and her network of people saying, “I have these new animals. I adopted them. They were going to be euthanized.” Lynx and Clawdia, my first two, I went to her house, who was a dear friend of one of our best friends, Ele Keats. That was me adopting them from this woman’s house. Figaro, the third one, was rescued off the street. I picked him up off the street. He was thrown out of his house and abandoned by his family. Julius was adopted from Little Love Rescue and then Bella was adopted from Little Love Rescue. None of my current companions did I physically go to a shelter and rescue them. They were all from rescue organizations or from the street.
Animals can come from many different places and people can choose to get them from breeders. It’s similar in a lot of ways to your food choices. It’s about raising your awareness about where things come from. We talked about this in on another episode about violence and how it takes a lot of awareness to realize that animals are not on this planet for us to consume, for us to use, and for us to have for our pleasure. One thing that I’ve worked on over the years is avoiding the use of the word pet unless I need to. We can talk about that. We can go in a lot of different directions here. It is National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day. I don’t know who exactly came up with this yet. I’m going to read a bunch of different sources.If we acknowledge that animals are sentient beings with the capacity to feel, we can extend empathy, compassion, and rights toward them. Click To Tweet
It’s a good point to start on and it’s all about what the meaning means to you. The reason I stopped using the word pet is because I’m trying to be very conscious of my relationships with animals. I chose to go vegan, which means I’m avoiding animal products at all costs. If you dive deep into our consumerism, it’s almost impossible to completely avoid using animals because animal products show up in all sorts of things. Tires are a big thing that comes to mind. What else comes to mind for you, Jason, in ways that we inadvertently use animal products in our lives?
You took the first choice out of my mind because being such a car enthusiast, it is one of those conundrums ethically where I know that animal fat and animal products are used in the galvanization process of creating a lot of rubber for tires. Not every manufacturer uses it. Years ago, my friend Gary Yourofsky told me that Michelin had specific models of their tires that didn’t use animal products in the galvanization process. Overall, if we talk about automobiles, there are a lot of aspects of products, perhaps the shift knob on your car. I don’t have leather seats in my car, but there are leather pieces inside of my car that I’m a little bit like, “I wish that wasn’t there.”
The auto industry is one of those things where as a vegan, it’s very challenging sometimes to find not only leather-free option but a fully animal-free option. Bless Tesla, he’s an incredible Tesla owner and I’m a huge fan. I hope to have one soon as well. The thing that I loved was they announced that their Model 3 and their Model Y, their brand-new SUV would have completely leather-free options. It doesn’t mean that there are not animal products in the tires or perhaps in some of the fluids in the car.
The fact that a company like Tesla is having two of their full product lines, the 3 and the Y, be leather-free is a huge step forward. In terms of other things, I know that sometimes there can be things in homeopathic medicines and supplements. This is another thing that is super important that I’ve made mistakes by not label-reading is sometimes when I’ve taken a homeopathic medicine or supplements, I neglected to see that there was some derivative of lactose in those pills or perhaps there was gelatin in the capsules. The supplement industry and the homeopathic medicine industry is another area where you’ve got to do your research. If you’re looking to avoid animal products completely, you’ve got to read labels. I’ve made the mistake of assuming and not being a strident label-reader. Oftentimes, I’ll get home and be like, “I didn’t see the lactose derivative,” or whatever it is. You’ve got to do your research and read labels.
The same thing can be said about vaccines and not to get into a heated debate about vaccines. That’s one of the reasons that some people choose not to take vaccines or avoid them at all costs is because there are a lot of animal products used in vaccines, depending on what you’re taking. You can research and find a cleaner vaccine. There are some different companies that make alternatives. You can request them sometimes or go to different doctors or medical facilities to choose a vaccine that’s more in alignment with yourself. There’s the animal testing that goes on. That’s been one of the more interesting elements of being vegan. It’s starting to raise your awareness around how we’re using animals. To come back to the pet topic, I read or heard years ago that the word pet can be considered not as compassionate because that’s implying that the animal is in your life for your purposes.
I’m not sure if I’m being super eloquent about explaining that. Maybe you can dive into this too, Jason. Instead I was encouraged and have continued to use the term companion animal, which puts me and my dog, Evie, more on the same level. To me, it’s a version of respect. I’ve tried to go out of my way whenever I’m aware of it. I’m not always perfect as Jason is saying, “Even as long-term vegans, the two of us still accidentally do “non-vegan things.” With the word pet, I tried to be aware of not using it because I want to encourage people to be mindful of their conscious language. For me, companion animal feels like a very respectful and compassionate term versus pet. It’s like, “You’re my pet, I own you.” That’s another thing like “owner” that people will use with their animals.
You can go to an extreme perspective if you would call it this. How is that any different from slavery like saying we own a human being? Why should we be owning an animal versus choosing to bring an animal into our lives to take care of it? Caretaker could be a better word than owner or more compassionate word. Companion is another thing. You can say, “I’m this animal’s companion.” You are taking care of each other. You are loving each other. You are coexisting together. Technically, you’re making decisions for this animal. You’re choosing what food you give to it in most cases. You’re choosing when this animal goes out for a walk or what cat litter you give them. We do confine these animals in a lot of ways. Even that, I try to think about my dog a lot and how she’s living. Is she happy?
Some people see that as extreme, but I feel like it’s very important to make all of these considerations, not just how we’re bringing an animal into the world. Are we adopting it? Where is it coming from? Are we choosing to get an animal from the shelter versus from a breeder? What does the rest of its life look like? How is that animal living? What food are we giving it? Are we giving it filtered water like we give to ourselves? Are we giving it enough time outside? Does it have enough space? We talked about this again in the other episode about violence. Jason was talking about this bunny or rabbit that lives in his neighborhood. Do you have an update on that story, Jason? Have you given that any more thought since we discussed it on the show?
I walked by and the cage is gone and the bunny is gone. I have no clue. My mind could go to a million different places, but as we like to practice the state of being present to things. I have no idea. Did they leave him inside? Did they move the cage to a different part of the yard? Did they eat him? Did they give him away? I have no idea. I have no clue. The bunny is not in the location where he usually is in his hotch. I don’t know. I have no clue. They had them in a sunny spot. It could be a million different possibilities, but the bunny is AWOL. He is Absent Without Leave. I don’t know where he went.
It sounded like you wanted to chime in on the word pet.
I do and you mentioned conscious languaging. I want to give a shout-out to our mutual friend, Dani Katz, and her wonderful book that talks all about the energetics behind the meaning we assign to words. The euphemisms, colloquialisms, the vibration and the energy of the language we use based on the meaning we assign. To me, if I use the word pet, it’s what I do to my companion animals. I pet them on the head. I stroke them. I give them love. To refer to them as a pet, to compound what you said, it feels as if I am placing them on a level that is beneath me and I am their overlord. That’s how I feel when I use that word like, “It’s my pet.”
Whereas if I refer to them as my companion or I refer to myself as their parent. In all seriousness and some people may understand this, some people may not. It’s neither here nor there to me, but the people that I talk to who get this, got it. I regard them as my children. I love them, care for them, nurture them, caretake them and protect them as if they were my children. That’s how I feel about them. I have such a deep connection and soul love for these animals that I feel like I’m their parent in all seriousness.
When I say that, it doesn’t mean that I am here to dominate them or oppress them or try to impose my will upon them. Although if they’re doing something dangerous like my boy Lynx is breaking into the cabinet and trying to eat chocolate, to prevent him from dying, I’m going to stop him from eating the chocolate. It doesn’t mean they have complete free autonomy all the time. As a parent would do with a human child overseeing their safety, making sure they’re okay, caring for them, providing food, shelter and love.
If anything, I feel it’s more of a parent role. That’s how I feel about them, which people might say, “You’re still placing yourself on a higher level of wisdom or oversight.” I don’t see their lives and their importance as being any more or less valuable than a human life. That is one major thing that in my philosophy of human rights and animal rights as conscious sentient beings with the ability to exercise will, have freewill, and experience pain through a central nervous system. I see animals as having basic rights.
To see more and more countries enacting laws that are punitive against people who hurt or kill or enslave animals, it bolsters me to see more countries banning circuses. I know that was a tangent here, but humanity is waking up to the fact that animals are sentient and autonomous beings that have the ability to love, experience emotions and feel pain. If we acknowledge that they are sentient beings with the capacity to feel, then we can extend empathy, compassion and rights toward them. I’m very passionate about extending more protections and rights towards animals in general.
Coming back to this national day of National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day, I pulled up a website and there are some good statistics on this. This is coming from an article posted in May 2019 on Basepaws.com, which is a DNA testing website for animals, which I’ve thought would be fun to do, especially for Jason not knowing the history of his animals. It’s curious but also seems a little gimmicky.
Is this the 23andMe for animals?
Somebody who I met was talking about the results that she got on this. She’s listing out all of these qualities of her cats. It seemed a bit exaggerated. Part of me was like, “Is this a gimmick? Is this whatever place that she got her results from making up things?” It’s a little bit easier with something like 23andMe because you can go and connect with relatives and cross-reference things. When it comes to our animals, it’s hard to cross-reference them. Another tangent is Jason adopted his dog, Bella who is a French bulldog. She was used as a breeder dog. We have wondered and wish that we could see photos or somehow track down her puppies or know what she was like as a mother. That makes us a little sad. We also wish his cat, Figaro, who he adopted when he was about a year old. We wish that we could have seen Figaro as a kitten.
The other thing too, looping back to the importance of this phrase, “Adopt, don’t shop.” The intention here is not to judge any of the audience or any friends of ours who have chosen to buy from a breeder. There are two considerations here that I think about that I want to extend about breeder animals. Number one is if you think about the idea of a puppy or a cat mill, they call them a puppy mill or a cat mill where they’re keeping these animals in often close conditions without enough air ventilation space to move.
They’re breeding puppies and cats by the dozens. That is one thing that I am 100% equivocally against, these puppy mills and cat mills. It’s often horrific conditions, completely profit-driven and not thinking about the well-being of the animals at all. For smaller breeders, I’m not trying to make a sweeping generalization, but if I think about the free will and the autonomy of a sentient being and someone forcibly impregnating an animal to sell their puppies. What I do as a person from a sense of empathy of one sentient being to another, to think about being in a situation where another being is forced to be impregnated.
Yes, they raise their puppies or kittens for a period of time, but then giving them away. From a gut feeling right now and this is not even a heady thing, there’s a part of my gut that goes, “There’s something not right about that.” That’s my opinion from personal perspective. There’s something that’s not okay about forcibly impregnating another being and then selling their offspring for profit. It doesn’t feel okay to me. It’s never felt okay to me. It’s the same feeling I get of the dairy industry.The simple act of having an animal on your lap can reduce the stress chemicals and hormones in your body. Click To Tweet
There’s something I’m involved in, which is a fourteen-day non-dairy challenge with the organization Switch4Good. One of the big points of our ethical consideration around dairy products is that the female cows are forcibly impregnated to give birth to make milk. In order to make sure that the milk is sold for profit, as soon as the calves are born, the calves are taken away from their mothers so that they don’t suck the milk that’s being sold for human profit and human consumption. There’s something to me that is ethically wrong and ethically dubious about impregnating an animal, taking their babies away and then profiting off the life of that animal. There’s something to me that is ethically wrong about that. I’m on a rant right now, but to get biblical for a second, there’s a part of the Bible because I’ve read the entire Bible. I was in a philosophy of a religion class in college and I read the entire Bible.
One of the parts of the Bible that I think in terms of our human society and human culture that I feel is misinterpreted is the part in Genesis where God gives us dominion over the animals. Everyone’s like, “Dominion means domination.” It’s like, “No, dominion does not mean domination.” That is one of the most misinterpreted parts of the Bible in terms of subconsciously how we’ve been taught to treat animals. Dominion means we can do what they want. We can do what we want with the animals, but dominion means sovereignty. We get to control them. We get to do what we want.
We’ve misused that word. It could mean domination. It could mean control. I like to prefer the definition of dominion as oversight or protecting or caretaking rather than controlling them. I know that was a long tangent. From how we treat and how we care for our companion animals to how we consume or not consume or support animal products or industries that exploit animals. If we think about them as conscious sentient beings, it is important that we employ a sense of empathy over how they are treated across the board. It is very important that we use empathy.
Empathy is a big part of our well-being as well. We’re extending to others what we would like to receive ourselves. Being aware, getting out of your ego, and not being selfish about your decisions. This is always an important thing to reflect on, how we are interacting with any creature out there. We talked about violence and animal abuse in past episode, which can be a heavy subject matter that we don’t get into too much gruesome detail. We talked about the importance of getting out of our ego and having consideration for a creature outside of ourselves.
Coming back to the website Basepaws.com where I found a blog post, according to this website and The Humane Society at the time, 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States every year. That is often because abandoned animals arrive at the shelters at a faster rate than they’re being adopted. That’s one of the major reasons why it’s important to consider adopting from a shelter. I thought you were going to touch upon this, Jason, when you were talking about your adoption and why you had adopted animals. There’s often this notion that you won’t get a good dog or a good cat or whatever animal you’re choosing to adopt if you get it from a shelter. There’s going to be something wrong. They were treated poorly. They were abused or they’re not going to be as attractive. They’re not going to be pure bred. There will be something wrong with them. There are all of these interesting concepts that people have.
In some cases, it may be true that an animal was abused and then they were brought to a shelter. Maybe they had some deformity and somebody didn’t want them. That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong. That doesn’t mean that they will love you any less or that you’ll love them any less. It doesn’t mean that they won’t be what you define as a good companion animal or a good pet if you choose to use that term. That’s important because that’s one of the big reasons that people get animals from breeders. They think that they’re going to be higher quality. That was one of the things with your decision to adopt Bella, Jason. You were very clear that you wanted a French bulldog, but only if you could adopt her. I’d love to hear more about your experience with that process and getting a highly coveted animal such as a French bulldog, which is a very popular breed of dog.
I’m glad you brought this up, Whitney. I feel much like there are other misconceptions around adopting animals. There are many of them. This is one of the biggest ones though that if I adopt a dog or a cat, they’re going to be antisocial. They’re going to be overly aggressive. They’re going to somehow bring their trauma into my house. There are a lot of deeply held and baseless misconceptions around shelter animals. I’m glad you addressed that. In terms of Bella, I did want a French bulldog for a long time. The thing that I hesitated was that it was incredibly difficult. I remember going on Petfinder.com and there were a few Frenchie rescue organizations around the US that I would check in from time to time.
It’s obscenely rare to find an adoptable French bulldog because they are one of the most coveted animal breeds right now and have been for years. The breeders are charging pretty unbelievable prices for a purebred puppy. For Bella, who is classified as a pure blue. She’s a blue Frenchie. A puppy of her pedigree, would range anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. You can understand from an economic perspective why a breeder would want to use her, which she was as a breeder dog. If she has a litter of four puppies and they’re sold for $5,000 each and they’re pure blue, that’s a $20,000 profit. You can understand the economics of why a human being would choose to do this for a business. I get it.
Do I think it’s ethical? No. Do I understand why people are doing it? Yes. For my search for a Frenchie, I knew that from an ethical perspective. I didn’t want to support that and I’m not shelling out $5,000 for a puppy. On principle alone, I’m not going to do that. It turns out that in 2018, I was driving. I couldn’t see the text. She sends me this barrage of texts. I see call after call after call. I’m like, “What is going on? I know that if get repeated calls and repeated texts, my natural instinct is something’s wrong. I’m looking at it. I’m like, “What is happening?”
I remember I stopped the car and I looked. You’re like, “You have to call me back right now.” You sent me this flurry of this little blue Frenchie’s face looking like, “I don’t know what’s happening here.” She had this weird look on her face. She’s like, “You have to go to Little Love Rescue right now.” Sure enough, Little Love Rescue had Bella, this pure blue Frenchie, for adoption. It was like one of those moments where I’m like, “I can’t do it. I’m not ready.” I had moved into my house. It wasn’t even a month that I was here at my house that I’m in now. It was like, “Am I ready for a dog?” Through talking to you and also realizing how many years I had been talking about it and the rarity of it, I was like, “If I don’t adopt this Frenchie, I have no idea when.” It could be years before another Frenchie comes up for adoption. That’s how rare it was.
It was the combination of realizing I had been calling this in. You were like, “If you don’t do this, you’re crazy.” Also knowing that from Brittany and Little Love Rescue, they were caring for this animal. They loved Bella. The day that I met Bella, she ran right into my lap and started licking me. We have the pictures to prove it. Immediately I was like, “This little gargoyle, you’re coming with me.” Once I met her, I was like, “This dog is going to be mine.”
That’s such a beautiful story. I remember my mom is somebody that has wanted to get purebred dogs off and on. Most of our dogs growing up were purebreds. We did go to the shelter frequently. There was one in Massachusetts called Buddy Dog. It was always heartbreaking going in there because you would see all of these sad dogs that looked lonely and it smelled weird in there. It was a combination of feeling joyful to see these animals but also bad because you go in and you wished that you could rescue them all. I don’t remember if that’s a kill shelter. I don’t think it is, but I have all these visceral memories of going in there as a child.
What was interesting is I don’t know if we ever rescued a dog from there because of what my mom’s feelings were. We did once get a dog from a pet store, which he likely came from a puppy bill. I remember even then, there’s this idea of it’s not going to be as good of a dog because he came from a pet store. It’s almost a classism thing. It’s not quite species, which is something else we’ve addressed. It’s like making judgements about where an animal comes from. It’s not that far off from making judgements about where human beings come from, how they were raised, thinking that because of their family history that they’re going to be a certain way.
It’s like a nature versus nurture thing. It’s fascinating when you think about it. It was a huge breakthrough for my family and my mother when they adopted a dog. Sometime in the past years, my mother rescued a dog from a Florida shelter. He’s become one of her greatest companions of all time. He went through some abuse. It took him years to fully trust people again. He and my mother bonded very quickly, but it took him a long time to trust any other human being. Now he’s a little love bug, but he’s had a lot of struggles because of his history. Jason has his cat Figaro, who he rescued off the street. He didn’t come from a shelter that we know of, but Jason doesn’t know his history of those eight months and what his life was like before that.
You have to be incredibly patient with some of these animals. A lot of people aren’t willing to do that. They want to get a fresh and untainted animal that they can track their entire history. They know where they were from the moment that they were conceived to the moment that they hold them in their arms. The same can be true with human beings deciding to have their own children or to adopt a child. It’s that risk of not knowing what somebody’s history is and that fear of what’s involved. It’s an important thing to consider because oftentimes when you choose to get an animal from a breeder, that could technically mean that one animal is now euthanized as a result. It’s not maybe directly as a result of your decision, but in a way indirectly it is.
That means that there’s one other animal that doesn’t have a home because you chose to get an animal that was bred. It’s a heavy thing to consider. It’s very similar to other aspects of being vegan for me. We’ve talked about this throughout the episodes of how Jason and I have gone through so much over the years, and learning different ways to effectively communicate our belief systems to people. I’ve certainly had periods of self-righteousness where I’ve talked to people, “How dare you get an animal from a breeder. That means that an animal was euthanized.”
I’ve noticed that when you say that to somebody, if they’ve already made the decision to get an animal from a breeder, it doesn’t change them. It’s not like you can return that animal, take back and bring that other animal that was euthanized back to life. If you order meat at a restaurant, if you send the meat back to the kitchen, it’s wasted. It doesn’t mean that the animal’s life is going to be changed. Making these decisions has a long-term ripple effect. Maybe you already have a dog from a breeder, but your next dog, your next animal could be one from a shelter or maybe you continue advocating for it. Maybe you spread the word more. Maybe become more active in the community and say, “I didn’t make this decision because I didn’t know any better.” Instead of trying to change the past, I’m going to see if I can influence the future.
I also want to loop back to one point that we touched on at the very beginning, which was some of the health benefits of having a companion animal. It’s not only saving a life by adopting a shelter animal or an animal from a rescue organization. There are several rescue organizations that we mentioned like Little Love Rescue, which is our favorite here in LA. There is the Best Friends Animal Society. Here in Los Angeles, there’s No-Kill LA. There’s also Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. If you want to go to a rescue organization or no kill shelter, those are four of the biggest ones that we love and support here in the Southern California area.
I wanted to talk again about the mental, emotional and health benefits. We’ve done a lot of studies that the simple act of having an animal on your lap, rubbing an animal or stroking an animal, having an animal close to you, be it a cat or a dog, has the ability to reduce the stress chemicals and stress hormones in your body. If we’re going through something like global pandemic and an economic crash, that’s one of the biggest things that we can do for our mental and emotional wellness through stress and anxiety.
When we’re going through stressful times, when we’re panicking, when we have anxiety, our body gets flooded by two stress hormones. One is cortisol, the other is adrenaline. By simply having a companion animal with you by your side, going on walks, stroking them, petting them, playing with them, it has been clinically shown in studies to reduce adrenaline and reduce cortisol, to elevate your mood, to help boost neurotransmitter function like serotonin specifically. We know that from a neurochemical in a hormonal perspective. Having a companion animal to play with, to interact with, to sleep with, to play with is beneficial for your mental and emotional health.
Moreover, having Bella here as a dog and taking her out 3 or 4 times a day on walks is helping me get Vitamin D. We know that Vitamin D3 specifically when you get it on your skin from the sun has been shown to be a mood elevating vitamin. It’s important for our mood and our mental health. By taking her out on walks every day, I’m getting that Vitamin D. Having a companion animal in your life is good for your overall health. It’s been shown in study after study to do this.
Thank you for bringing that up. As you were sharing that, I was looking through the blog post at Basepaws. I thought this was an interesting point coming back to this idea that a purebred animal may be better quality. Some purebred animals are known to suffer more health problems than the term that we use as mutts, the animals that are not pure breed. Coming back to the French bulldog, I’m curious now that you’ve had this wonderful dog in your life, you’ve been able to witness how she struggles with breathing.Having a companion animal in your life is good for your overall health. Click To Tweet
Bella, your dog also has an interesting body type that we’ve often wondered was the result of breeding. Sometimes dogs can become malformed or something. Even in Bella’s case, it looks like she might have some hip problems or her body may have struggled because of the amount of times that she was forced to give birth. That’s interesting too that some people don’t consider the long-term effects, but specifically looking at these animals that are bred for their appearance like flat noses, they’re absolutely cute.
I often think about, why do I love French bulldog so much? Whenever I see a French bulldog, I go a little nuts. They’re so cute. I have that reaction to a lot of dogs and animals in general. I love looking at animals. I certainly have noticed how certain breeds capture my attention. If you look at the history, sometimes they are designed to create that reaction and that makes them more profitable. For you, Jason, what have you noticed with having a French bulldog? Has that changed your opinion on the breeding and how that might affect her health?
The funny thing is if we go back to this idea and I want to say she’s turned four years old in the spring. She hasn’t had any major health problems so far, but I noticed that if I take her out for an extended walk in a day that’s hotter, an 80, 90, 100-degree day, her breathing gets compromised quickly. I’ve taken her out on hikes here in Los Angeles. We have some amazing hiking trails and a ton of wonderful nature. She can’t hike or walk for long periods of time because of her breathing passage. She’s what they call a brachycephalic dog, which is the short nasal passage and the flat face.
There was a huge story that came out a few years ago that a French bulldog puppy died on a flight. You have to be mindful of brachycephalic dogs and cats. We see those Persian cats that have flat noses. We see pugs and French bulldogs. We have to be mindful of their temperature. If they’re in a situation that makes their breathing compromised, it can be deadly for them. I’m always mindful of her airflow and her breathing ability. I’m making sure she’s not in a compromised position in terms of her temperature. You mentioned her body. I call her Stubbs Magoo because she’s stubby small. I call her a mini-Frenchie because she’s the smallest full-grown French bulldog I’ve ever seen. That could be a result of overbreeding. It could be a result of God knows what.
If you track the history and I wanted to make this point. This whole idea of perfectionism, eugenics and people wanting like a purebred. The origin of a French bulldog is an English bulldog and a rat terrier. It’s not even a pure breed because it’s been the mix of two other breeds. Speaking on a technical perspective, the only pure bloodline that hasn’t been hybridized would be a wolf. That’s initially how we purport the theory of how we domesticated. Our predecessors, perhaps it was Neanderthals or ancient humanity domesticated wolves and the bloodline of all of the various dog breeds we have now can be traced genetically back to wolves.
If we talk about purebred, Frenchies aren’t even a purebred because in the late 1800s from what I understand looking at Wikipedia and articles, they wanted to cross-breed English bulldogs with various terriers in France. It’s a hybridized breed anyways. What is a purebred anyway? It’s this colloquial term we use to be like, “He’s in the Westminster Dog Show. He’s a purebred. He won the triple crown.” It’s this ego bullcrap that people do to be like, “My dog is a champion and I paid a lot of money for it.” I know I’m being a jerk right now. It’s like get out of your ego. There’s no such thing. Stop this crap. Having a specific breed of dog does not make you a better person.
Coming back to the ego side of it is why are you choosing something? Are you doing it so that you can bolster your ego, so that you can increase your status? One of my friends’ mothers breeds beautiful cats. They are Bengals. They are gorgeous cats. Her cats are insanely sweet, but in my opinion, it’s excessive. Part of the reason that she does it is because she enjoys how beautiful they are and their personality is, but also taking them to cat shows and that’s become a huge part of her life.
From one perspective, you don’t want to take away that joy from somebody. If this becomes a huge source of pleasure for somebody, but on the other hand, what is the impact of that pleasure? What is the ripple effect or the long-term effect of making a choice because it makes you feel good? Is that for the right reasons? You look at the dog shows, which are fun to watch, the Westminster Dog Show. It’s a bunch of people parading around their purebred dogs. I don’t know as a fact, but I imagine that they’re all purebreds. Maybe that’s part of the qualification. That starts to encourage other people to want to get that exact same dog. It’s an interesting heated subject.
Ultimately, what we’re trying to do here is to raise your awareness and give you a new perspective to make your own decision because nobody can change your mind. You are the only one that can do that. You are the only one that can take information, process it and decide what you want to do with it. It comes back to when you receive new information that goes against your behavior, that perhaps gives you a reason to feel maybe shame or embarrassment or judgment, that’s also a great opportunity to decide what to do. Sometimes we feel a lot of shame around our choices.
Let’s say you have a purebred animal in your home and now you’re feeling like maybe you wish you hadn’t done that. You wish that you had adopted from a shelter. First of all, recognize that each day we’re learning new information. Each day we’re changing as human beings. That doesn’t mean that you should love your animal any less. That doesn’t mean that you should be bullied or that people continue to criticize you because we’re not going to change the past. Maybe you could donate money to Little Love Rescue or another organization out there. Maybe you can do something for one of the amazing shelters. There’s so much that you can do now instead of wallowing in shame or embarrassment or turning that shame of embarrassment into a defensiveness standpoint and saying, “I’m doing this for this.” You can list a bunch of reasons and justify your behavior and maybe you do have a good point.
It would be interesting to talk to somebody who’s against adoptions. There have got to be people out there that are strongly against it. I’d be curious why. Maybe some time, Jason, we should bring guests onto our show that disagree with us so we can have an interesting discussion. I don’t like to debate, but I’m curious like what is the other side of this? Why are some people into breeding animals or showing off their animals? Is this something that I could possibly understand? That’s always an important consideration to get out of our own heads, our own perspectives, our thought bubbles, and try to understand other people. That’s one of the most compassionate things that you can do because it’s easy to disagree with somebody. It’s easy to surround yourself with yes people who think the same way and live the same way as you do. It’s also important, especially in cases like this, to try to relate to somebody or at least try to listen to them. Give themselves a chance to share instead of debating, arguing and trying to force them to think the same way that you do.
That’s an interesting point you bring up because perhaps there’s an opportunity for us to understand some contrarian perspectives from what we believe in, our belief systems, our theories and our perspectives. Perhaps we can bring in some flat earthers and people who don’t believe climate change is real. People who believe that eating animals is necessary for the balance of our ecology or people that believe that having purebred animals is superior or more beneficial than shelter animals. This is a very interesting thing. Maybe we can do a whole new pivot point here on the show. Let’s bring in contrarian perspectives and have an open-minded discussion. That’s super interesting that you bring that up. I’m curious to see, maybe we explore this and do it.
Who knew where we would go after starting the show off talking about National Shrimp Scampi Day. You never knew that this was going to end this way. Did you, Jason, or the audience?
We are not titling this episode National Shrimp Scampi Day.
I have been brainstorming some different titles so I’m curious what it will come down to. I wanted to end with a couple more things on the subject of National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day. I thought you would appreciate this, Jason. In that article that I was looking at. It’s a thorough well-formatted article. That’s why I keep bringing it up. There was a quote in here that said, “Recent research has shown that the soothing sounds of a kitty can aid your body because their purrs fluctuate between 20 to 140 hertz, which is a frequency range that’s been proven to be medically therapeutic.”
This reminds me of something I read years ago about the reasons why the ancient Egyptians worshiped and deified cats. It is interesting that you bring up about the vibration and the hertz range of their purrs. It can literally be healing on a cellular level on a perspective of vibration that the ancient Egyptians knew the healing properties of cats. That’s one of the reasons why they deified them in their religion.
Maybe it explains why you love cats so much. The last point that we could have mentioned, but I am reading this now, is that adopting animals is much cheaper than shopping for them in most cases. Jason, I know that you found this to be true with your dog, Bella. I forget how much it costs to adopt her.
It was $500. As I mentioned before, the average price for a pure blue puppy is between $3,000 and $5,000 on the open market.
That’s almost 10% the cost. Remember, how there was a bidding war for her. That was fascinating too. Will you tell that part of the story?
From what I understand, because there are other people who are aware of the incredible rarity of an adoptable Frenchie in general, Little Love Rescue, Brittany had told me that they received dozens of applications. People were trying to outbid each other. I do recall that one couple had either bid $2,500 or $3,000. Brittany said to me, “I know that this money could be a huge help for me right now as a two-person independent nonprofit animal rescue organization.” Technically, she sent me a text and said, “Do you want to come and pick up your dog?” It was amazing.
When I got there, she said to me, “I know you’re going to take the best care of this animal. I know she’s your dog. I know it’s not as much money as I could get for my organization, but I feel like you’re the right choice.” That made my heart feel so good that she chose what she felt in her heart was the best option for Bella rather than taking the money. As a life lesson that there are many situations in life, whether it’s a career choice or it’s a situation like this where it’s very tempting to take the money even though our heart or our gut is telling us that there’s a better choice elsewhere. It made my heart feel so good that Brittany chose me even though I was nowhere near the highest bidder for Bella.
It’s such an interesting process. I remember how we could start to fight with one another and it becomes this whole competition for an animal. This even happens when relationships break up. It’s deciding who gets to keep the animal. In the case of one of our dear friends, she has two previous partners and all three of them share the dogs. They take turns with the dogs.
Three different people co-parent these two dogs.
It’s very sweet but they’re also going to such great lengths. It becomes like what food is which parent giving them and how are they taking care of them. It’s fascinating. I hope that this episode gave the audience a lot of different things to reflect on and your relationship with animals. I want to come back to that point we made a few times, which is compassion is so much more than your personal choices. I feel like compassion is at its strongest when it does not include the ego as much as possible. The ego is a very challenging thing to manage. I don’t know if we are ever fully egoless, but if we can be aware of when our ego is rearing its ugly head and the judgements that can come with that.You are the only one that can change your mind. You are the only one that can take information and decide what you want to do with it. Click To Tweet
If you’re reading this and starting to feel a little bit self-righteous or getting fired up and maybe angry, resentful, bitter towards people that you know that aren’t adopting animals. You’re thinking about the statistics and how many animals are euthanized, it can bring up a lot of anger or it could bring up some shame. If you’re feeling any shame right now for your decisions and yet you continued to read this episode despite any tough emotions that are coming up for you, I encourage you to reflect on that and not be too hard on yourself or hard on other people. It’s also good to check in with people, to have an open dialogue with somebody and do your best not to get judgmental or self-righteous in those conversations.
Maybe you’re sitting in the car with somebody reading this and the two of you can have a discussion. Maybe you can check in with somebody or try to approach conversations differently. We don’t have the ability to change the past, but we can change how we react in the present and that can also be changed in the future. If you’ve found yourself being judgmental towards somebody about a topic like adoption, whether it’s an animal or a human being or any subject matters that we’ve discussed, maybe it’s about shrimp, maybe you’ve found yourself self-righteous when you see somebody eating seafood in front of you or it could be the opposite. Maybe you feel critical of somebody because they’re choosing to eat a plant-based diet. Criticism and judgment, these things come up in our lives in many different ways and perspectives. I want to continue to encourage you to be mindful and know that can constantly be shifting. You always have an opportunity to change the way that you speak, the way that you act and have a more open mind.
I do want to apologize for being a little bit spiky when I was going on my rant about judging people for their egoic choices. He who is without sin cast the first stone. I make a lot of ego-based choices still. I feel like I’m trying to be more mindful of that, but I wanted to apologize if I did offend anyone who happens to go to the Westminster Dog Show or who buys a purebred animal. I did get a little bit spiky and to piggyback on what you said, Whitney, it’s about being in non-judgment of people and trying to move toward not being egoless. That’s impossible as we have identities here on the planet. No one is ego less completely, but to operate from a spirit of service and non-judgment, compassion and empathy is something that I continue to strive to do.
I’m not always perfect at it and I never will be perfect at it. Maybe it’s realizing that we are all constantly learning, evolving, and growing at our own pace and at our own rate. To judge someone, even ourselves for not being in a certain space of awareness or compassion or proactivity to me is akin to looking at a newborn baby and going, “Why aren’t you walking yet?” They’re at where they’re at. From a space of self-compassion and compassion to others and non-judgment, remembering that everyone, and I do believe this in my heart, that with people’s state of being and their knowledge and their awareness, that everyone is doing the best they can in the moment with the knowledge and awareness and wisdom they’ve garnered. I wanted to apologize for that and remind myself that I have to believe and I do believe that everyone is doing their best in the moment.
It’s funny because I didn’t feel triggered by what you said. It’s possible somebody else was and maybe they’re no longer tuned-in as a result, we don’t know. Somebody could be triggered by anything that we say. It’s interesting, in our conversation with Luke Storey, we touched upon the desire to try to please everybody and to apologize for ourselves and become very self-conscious about how we affect other people. Apology is an important critical skill. I also think that we talked about this in our April Fools’ Day episode. We talked about pranks and apologies and the ego that can come in owning up for things. We’ve definitely discussed it before. We discuss a lot of things here. One thing that I’m fascinated by is communication.
We talked about conscious languaging here and being mindful of what we say to other people, but not overly mindful to the point where we’re afraid to offend somebody no matter what we do. That can also cause you to be afraid to speak. It’s a balance between being aware that something you may say can be controversial or offend somebody, but also owning up to how you feel and your feelings are valid too, Jason. It’s a very tricky thing and sometimes we need to speak the way that we want to speak and try to put out some positive energy and hope that people understand us. Know that not everybody is going to understand or relate and some people may be offended, no matter what we do or say.
Speaking our truth and we talked about this in the Luke episode as well, the philosophical concept of a subjective personal truth versus universal truths. We got deep into that. We definitely got into a lot of aspects of philosophy and we got deep with Luke. It was one of the deepest discussions we’ve had, not in terms of duration but contents. We talk a lot about personal truth and universal truth. I definitely never feel the need to apologize for my personal truth. Sometimes I’ve observed myself when I get passionate about a subject. Sometimes I feel that passion can swing a little bit into anger and judgment depending on the level of passion I feel.
I’m aware of that for myself. I felt the need to comment on that. In closing, I wanted to talk a little bit lastly about this deep belief system, this misnomer that a lot of people have that a shelter or a rescue animal is somehow less valuable or not as pure as a pure breed or a breeder animal. I remember reading when I adopted Clawdia, who is a black Maine Coon cat, that the euthanization rate for black cats and black animals is much higher at shelters because of the superstition we have around black cats and black animals. We could get into a deep rabbit hole about racism but we’re not going to go there. The superstition and the isms that we hold in our society are misplaced.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a black cat or a black dog or any black colored animal or human being. We have these deep generational set of beliefs and racism, speciesism and black animalisms that are total bullcrap. To think about this animal, Clawdia, and I’ve had many black animals in my life. There’s no difference whatsoever in their level of love, care, affection and cognizance. It’s another opportunity we get to look at these deep superstitions and belief systems, and questioning if they’re true and they’re real.
The biggest thing that Whitney and I are certainly passionate about is on our path of growth and evolution, which hosting this show and giving it to our audience, is to question who we are, question our beliefs, question what our values are and what is true and meaningful to us. I know over the course of my life, I have found and continue to find that a lot of things I believed were true, that I believed were real, if I get into the origin of those or the history behind those beliefs or where they were implanted by society, family, religion or peers. I have found that dozens or maybe hundreds of things that I believe to be true are no longer true and relevant for me. As truth seekers and as wielders of self-awareness, we encourage our audience to be on that journey with us.
For all of the resources, you can go to our website, Wellevatr.com. Please subscribe, share the wealth, share this with your friends. We love to see it on Instagram Stories and all the social media platforms. We are on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @Wellevatr. You can go to our website and get all of the great free resources there. We have our eBooks there so you can continue your inner journey. We have two amazing paid programs called Wellness Warrior Training and The Consistency Code. With that, we thank you so much for being here with us. We love you. We appreciate you. We also love hearing from you. If you want to send us an email, it’s [email protected] or you can always shoot us a DM. We’ll be back again soon with another deep dive. With that, we bid you adieu.
- Au Lac
- Good Catch Foods
- Sophie’s Kitchen
- Little Love Rescue
- Instagram – Little Love Rescue
- Gary Yourofsky
- Tesla Leather-Free Interiors
- Books by Dani Katz
- Word Up! Little Languaging Hacks for Big Change
- Past episode – Activism: Bearing Witness to the Suffering that Exists in the World
- Blog post – National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day
- Buddy Dog
- Best Friends Animal Society
- No-Kill LA
- Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation
- Past episode – The Pranks We Regret
- Instagram – Wellevatr
- Facebook – Wellevatr
- @Wellevatr on Twitter
- Wellness Warrior Training
- The Consistency Code
- [email protected]
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