Simone Says “Adopt Don’t Shop!”

“You may love your dog or your cat. But if you haven’t rescued that dog or cat from a shelter then you should know that if you bought your animal you had a gun locked and loaded pointed right at a shelter animal and when you made that purchase you pulled the trigger. Sorry, it’s true.”

-Simone Reyes, Animal Rights Activist

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IMG_5482-560x420In 2004, my husband requested a Bengal cat for his birthday. This was five years before I became a vegan. I was hesitant to act upon his request, but this was not because a Bengal cat is a pure breed which had to be purchased from a breeder. It was because I was attacked by a dog at age nine resulting in some pretty bad injuries. I lived most of my life fearing animals as a result of this incident, and I had no intentions of getting a pet any time soon.

After thinking about it, I realized that buying my husband the cat for his birthday might be a great thing, not only for him, but for my entire family. My children were about 7 and 9 years old at that time, and I felt it was my obligation to teach them to love and cherish animals. I did not want them to fear animals as I did.

So I apprehensively went with my family to the home of a “Bengal breeder,” and we purchased this kitten from the litter…

imageWe named him “DJ” after Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees. My plan had worked. My children fell in love with the new addition to our family, and they warmed up to other peoples’ animals as well.


image copyDJ brought instant love and laughter into our home. Although I anticipated that my kids would love him, the last thing I ever expected was to fall in love with him too! But I did fall in love, and I fell hard! My lifelong fear of animals dissipated with time, and my love for DJ grew more and more with each passing day. Throughout the years, I would often find myself staring at his handsome face.

image copyIf our family was having any type of disagreement, we would immediately stop bickering when adorable DJ walked into the room. I think it was because we considered him to be “the baby” of the family, and he always reminded us of our love for each other and our family unit.

image copy 2When I became vegan in 2009, I began reading tons of literature to educate myself about all issues relating to veganism. My newly acquired knowledge led me to become more compassionate for all living things and to feel more connected to the world around me. I became acutely aware of the many homeless animals in shelters who would be killed if they were not rescued. I learned that mixed breed animals are much healthier than pure breeds. I began to view breeders and pet shop owners as criminals treating animals like mere objects to be exploited and sold. I realized that I could have fallen in love just as easily with a mixed breed cat from a shelter as I did wit DJ, a pure breed Bengal.

Am I sorry that I purchased our cat as a birthday gift for my husband in 2004? Absolutely not! My love for DJ was, undoubtedly, part of the process that led me to become a vegan. However, I could never again purchase another pet knowing that there are so many desperate beautiful animals sitting in shelters who may be killed if not adopted.

Do you know the ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLaughlin? You know, the one which makes you weep every time you see the sad faces of the sweet animals in need of homes? Carry those images with you at all times, remember how you felt while watching that commercial, and follow your heart…

And remember that it’s never too late to change because changing is part of growing. I became vegan at 49 years old, and I have never looked back.

And please take the advice of the dedicated animal activist Simone Reyes“ADOPT DON’T SHOP!”

I was inspired to write this blog after reading the “Veggie Girl Power Interview”of Simone Reyes by Kathy Patalsky on the website Healthy Happy Life. I could, literally, feel Simone’s intense passion as I read her answers to Kathy’s questions. I also got goose bumps when I read Simone’s response when Kathy asked her to create her own quote. “Veganism is….” Click here to read Simone’s answer. In fact, I urge you to read the entire interview because I know that you will be moved, as I was, by the passionate, fierce and truly “one-of-a-kind” Simone Reyes.









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