Hey folks!

I hope you're all making it over the hump splendidly!  I am happy to introduce you to another guest blogger today- Dallas Rising!  Dallas is a fellow VegNews Street Team member!  I think she has an amazing journey that I'm very excited to share with you!  Today, I will be sharing Part I of her story! 



The first time someone explained veganism to me, it was like I finally had discovered who I was always meant to be. I had always done my best to protect and help animals, but I didn't yet know just how many ways I could do it. When I learned about veganism, I felt like I knew who I was and had a word for it that summed it all up. I was fifteen years old.

But I had been on a path to discovering veganism since I was just a tiny person. My earliest memory is of me on a plastic wading pool with a few other kids, and we were splashing and playing. Then I saw a bug in the water, struggling to swim. I remember feeling very strongly about that bug and I knew I had to do something to help. I tried to get my hands under the bug but the water was moving and shifting the bug all over the place. I remember feeling very mad at the other kids because they didn't stop playing so I could help the bug. And this kind of set the tone for the rest of my life. I was the one who cared about the drowning bug, and no one else did.

I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was twelve years old because I was worried that I would run over ants on the sidewalk. I kept looking down under the bike instead of out in front, where you need to look to find balance when you're moving. I would bring dead animals home from the side of the road for a proper burial. After all, no one would allow a dead person to just lay on the side of the road, so why should any other animal? I also did several things that I wouldn't have done if I had known better at the time, but since I loved animals so much, the adults in my life would take me to ride on an elephant or a camel, or to the zoo, or to the agriculture barn at the state fair. I had tons of pets as a kid; my cat Luna, gerbils, hamsters, fish, birds, guinea pigs, rabbits. Even frogs I had caught as tadpoles. But they wouldn't eat so I let them go so they could find food they liked.

I stopped eating meat when I figured out that meat was dead animals. I was ten years old. Shortly after going vegetarian, a friend at school told me about animal testing and showed me some leaflets she'd gotten from a group called PETA. There were pictures of rabbits with their heads lined up who couldn't move and the brochure said that people would put soap and makeup in their eyes, and listed companies that did this to animals. I took the list home, put a black X on all the products in our house that were made by those companies, and I went to tell my mom about animal testing.

I knew she loved animals, too. Especially rabbits. And we had guinea pigs, too. I was sure my mom would be as upset as I was about animal testing and wouldn't buy those products anymore. But my mom was raising me on her own and working ten hour days just to get by. I'll never forget what she said to me when I asked her not to buy products tested on animals. "I wish I could, baby, but I'm just too poor and too tired. These things are cheap, and they're at the store where I buy a lot of other things. I don't have time to go to a special store and money to pay higher prices for these things. I'm so sorry, sweetheart. I really am."

I decided that I would never be too poor or too tired to help animals....

Be sure to check back tomorrow to read the rest!

D's tattoo reading-"Do unto others"- symbolizing her first bug rescue

Dallas Rising lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Brandon, and their four boys: Max, Warren, Taz, and Milo, all of whom have tails. She is the Program Director for the Animal Rights Coalition, and abolitionist animal rights group, and co-host of Midwest Vegan Radio, a rockin' podcast about all things vegan ( to which you should listen - even if you're not into podcasts). She also trains in Muay Thai. Animal abusers beware!