Submitted by Cleo Mees
For me becoming vegetarian has been part of a bigger process of becoming aware of the animals in my world.
I don’t know whether it’s just a part of growing up, or whether it’s happening because I made some close friends who care about animals, but for the past two years I have been on a journey of gradually becoming more and more aware that animals think and feel, and that they have the capacity for loving relationships.
When my family dog died last year it affected me much more than I expected. An image entered my head, and it is the same image that undergirds my decision not to eat meat. It is the image of a birth: the first perception of air and of light, the warmth of mothers milk; the satisfaction of a full belly. And with those first sensations, the awakening of that universal drive: to live, and live fully.
my dog is looking for a place to die.
he never liked the rain but this morning
they found his cubby empty
and him, sitting in the downpour
barely visible between the trees.
overlooking his estate.
ten years ago a day began.
two eyes opened and beheld it.
it was the first day.
there was air and light,
a tall sky.
a consciousness was born
and with that consciousness
a will to live.
there was mistreatment
a dark infancy we never knew much about,
a birthday wish, and then
the arrival at the wide house on the edge of the bush
where people yelled — but not at him,
only to hear each other down the hallway.
a new beginning.
he would spend winter afternoons lying on the landing,
looking out the window.
we weep on the phone, mum and I
I leak at yoga
I sob in the street
how do you tell a dog you love him?
the throbbing realisation of how much he means
and how easily a teenager took a soul for granted.