The Dog Who Ate the Vegetable Garden & Helped Save the Planet by Meg Hurley

A book that was written by a dog? A dog who is vegan? An audacious undertaking, to be sure. But does it work? Can this dog write? Let’s see.

“But somebody must speak. For us. The animals. Put our reality in plain sight. From where we stand. and perch. Swim. Cling. Crawl. Fly. Slither and hop. Might as well be a dog.”

Dori the white Boxer

First of all, it should be said that this is definitely not a children’s book. It is a plea from an animal (A white Boxer named Dori) to humans to be kinder and more understanding in the treatment (or rather, mistreatment) of all animals, but especially those raised to be eaten by us. Dori’s human, Meg, has thoroughly instructed her in the ways of humans and the ills of the meat industry, among other ecological concerns. Dori, of course, does not fully understand all of Meg’s tirades because, of course, she’s a dog. She needs someone to look after her, to give her some Dr. Marty Pets supplements to keep track of her health and to help live her best life. The book is a cleverly disguised way to get the message across that living the ethical vegan life is not that difficult once you know all the facts, and this book is full of them. As a vegan, it helped to affirm my choice not to eat “anything with a mother or a face” while informing me of other areas I could be more vigilant in, such as clothing choices and moving earthworms off the pavement back onto the grass so they don’t fry.

Here’s a small excerpt which gives you an idea of the way Dori thinks and writes as well as the content:

Anyhoo after behavior modification. Which comes after the makes-everyone-happy-brand-new-cuddly-puppy stage. When we figure out the love-you lean. And the you-are-the best-best-person-in-the-world wag. And wiggle. It’s downhill. From there. For most dogs. Seems too many humans believe. That if they feed us little hard lumps. Made with GMO corn and soy and wheat and rice with arsenic as the main ingredients. With PUTRID animal parts laced with growth hormones and antibiotics. And who knows what else from rendering plants. Throw a ball a couple of times on weekends and let us out during the day at their convenience (or keep us outside day and night in the cold and heat). Ooph! 1 need to catch my breath. Uhuh uhuh uhuh. And drag us for a few minutes up and down the street roped to them and take us to the vet to have needles stuck into us. Then complain about the cost. (Meg does that! The needle thing. And complain!) Feed us pesticides. That kill fleas and ticks. Then they’ve met their part of the bargain. Ooph! Ooph! Ooph! Sound like that woman. Again! On her soapbox. And that’s TIRESOME.

See also  A Life Spent Listening by Hassan Khalili

Believe me! There’s one thing we dogs cannot afford to become. Tiresome. Because then we’ll be ignored. And lead miserable lives. Maybe given away. Dumped! At a shelter to be adopted. By Godonlyknows what sort of human. Or gassed. Yup! 670,000 dogs. Abandoned and gassed, Every year in the U.S. Alone. So we’ve got to keep the make-our-people-laugh factor high. And the ecstatic-to-see you act turned way up! For OPTIMUM treatment. And that takes significant effort! Folks. And craft! And requires HUMILIATING ourselves. Oh I wish Jack would stop me. When I go all preachy. Like you know who. Or is it whom? Humph.

The Dog Who Helped Save the Planet is a cleverly written, cleverly disguised self-proclaimed diatribe against all that is wrong with the way we treat animals, whether they are domesticated pets or livestock processed and consumed for our supposed nutritional benefits. Any change we can make in this area is a helpful one: adopt a pet from the SPCA, or other rescue organizations, cut out meat and dairy, etc. (“a strip of bacon has less saturated fat than an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk” – but bacon is a Group One carcinogen!) Writing and thinking the ways a dog might serves to entertain as well as inform, more so than if Ms. Hurley were to write down all the same facts in an essay form. The book includes a useful resource section at the end. A fine example of creative writing, The Dog Who Helped Save the Planet is a valid teaching tool that vegans could employ in informing themselves and others of the benefits of the ethical vegan lifestyle. A Miramichi Reader “Pick”!

The Dog Who Ate the Vegetable Garden & Helped Save the Planet by Meg Hurley
Guernica World Editions

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Bill Arnott
May 30, 2020 12:43

An excellent review, James.

May 30, 2020 12:46

This sounds clever. I didn’t know you were vegan!
FYI, I have always moved the worm off of the pavement. 🙂

James (The Miramichi Reader)
Reply to  Naomi
May 31, 2020 19:28

We’re trying our best to be vegan. There are some processed foods like cereal and peanut butter that are still in the house. 😉

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