Meat Free Athlete & Mr. Shenanigans Q&A | Adopt Don’t Shop Series

This first interview of the Adopt-Don’t-Shop Series on TheVeganJunction is with Anne-Marie, of Meat Free Athlete, and her rescue Mr. Shenanigans!

Adopt Don't Shop Mr.Shenanagins_AMC_walk

What are your names?

Hey, I’m Anne-Marie aka AMC, and my little guys name is Mr. Shenanigans. 🙂

How and when did you meet?

About 8 years ago, I drove by the animal services shelter in my area while I was out running errands. I was still mourning the loss of my rescue dog that had passed away recently (at almost 16 years old), and honestly, I didn’t think I was even ready (emotionally) to adopt another dog yet, but something made me really want to go into the shelter and see who was in there. I went in, and they had a 1 year old jack Russell who was rescued from abuse and neglect. They wouldn’t tell us the details, but we knew he didn’t come from a good environment. They brought him to a small yard outside to meet us, and he was so shy, but also really happy and full of life. He kept jumping up and giving me kisses. I knew he was meant to be with us, and so I told them I wanted to adopt him.

Did he have any health or psychological difficulties when you met?

His health was good, but he had some emotional scars from the abuse and neglect he experienced in his first year of life. If someone walked up to him quickly and tried to pet him he would duck down, as if he was anticipating being hit. Or, if people would talk or laugh loudly, he would get scared. He had a lot of trust issues… understandably so! He’s 9 years old now, and he’s improved so much! He’s so happy and secure at home with all of us in his family. I was able to see him go from a shy, insecure, scared dog, to a confident, happy, and bratty little man! Although still to this day, when meeting someone new, he still likes to be able to smell them and check them out before they go ahead and start petting him. I just explain it to new people meeting him. I think that he will probably always want to feel like he has some sense of control during new interactions, and that’s completely understandable! It’s my job to let people know that about that when they first meet him, and it allows him to feel the sense of control and security that’s important to him. Once he gets introduced the way he feels comfortable, he opens right up and lets his guard down. 🙂

What was the “adoption” process like?

The adoption process involved an interview and filling out a long questionnaire about my experience with dogs, rescue dogs, and the type of home I would be bringing him in to. I’ve always adopted dogs. My mom always taught me that we shouldn’t buy from breeders when there are animals needing homes in shelters. I’m so grateful that she taught me that lesson at such a young age because it stuck with me. The interview with the shelter went well, and I was able to take Mr. Shenanigans home that night.

How long did it take for him/you to adjust to your new life together? And what was the transition process like?

He adjusted pretty quickly! I think he learned early that I loved and respected him, and that he wouldn’t be hurt by me. We have built a really strong bond over these past 8 years. He’s super loyal, and I have no doubt that he knows how truly loved he is.

Mr.Shenanagins_AMC_kiss

Mr. Shenanigans getting a kiss

Has it been a rewarding and worthwhile experience?

Having Mr. Shenanigans in my life has been so rewarding! I can’t picture him not being around. He’s a part of our family. He’s so beautiful and I love him to bits!

Do you have any favourite activities you like to do together?

He loves walks! It’s by far his favorite thing to do! He goes for 1-2 good walks every day. He’s just so happy out on walks, and I love getting outside with him.

Does he have a favourite toy or “cuddly-thing?”

His favorite toy is a “treat ball”. It has two holes on each side of the ball, and I stuff it with treats (cashews or green crunchy treats made of fruits & veggies). He bounces and throws the ball around to make the treats fall out… he loves it!

Adopt Don't Shop Mr.Shenanagins_window

Mr. Shenanigans looking out the window

Does he have any interesting or unique habits or traits?

He’s a really smart guy, and he can pick up new words, tricks, or habits really quickly. He’s also super stubborn and bratty… so you can see the look on his face when he’s “deciding” if he wants to do it or not lol!

Is there anything in particular that he typically eats? And is, or was he ever a finicky eater?

He’s always been a very picky eater, vegan food or not! A couple years ago I started trying to give him vegan dog foods, but he didn’t like any of the brand name bags. He refused to eat it. Then shortly after, he hurt his jaw and it started locking. We took him to the vet and they gave us two options; 1. Have his mouth wired shut and give him liquids while his jaw healed, or 2. Feed him soft food and keep all things crunchy away from him for a month. We didn’t want to have his jaw wired because he can be reckless (typical Jack Russell :P) and I was afraid he’d claw the wire out. I also didn’t want to give him canned dog food because that stuff is crap, and it also goes right through him. So, I decided to start making his meals, which are typically brown rice, tempeh, veggies, nutritional yeast (for B12 and other B vitamins), flax seed powder (for omega fatty acids), and gravy. He loved it, and I loved that I was able to feed him healthy home-made vegan meals. So, ever since then, he eats home-made, vegan meals. I then weaned him off his junky milk-bone brand treats, and replaced them with three new treats that are all vegan, super healthy, and nutrition-packed. He loves the meals and treats he gets, and his most recently vet appointment confirmed that his health is great, and the Dr. was really impressed with how great he’s doing in comparison to other 9 year dogs (and other Jack Russells) that he’s seen at his practice over the years.

Adopt Don't Shop Mr.Shenanagins_beach

Mr. Shenanigans at the Beach

Do you have any advice for others considering pet adoption or rescue?

Always adopt! Buying from breeders causes shelter animals to go un-adopted, and breeders exploit dogs, specifically the female, by forcing her into cycles of unwanted pregnancies simply so they can profit from selling her babies… not cool! If someone is truly set on wanting a specific breed of dog, there are lots of rescue organizations that specialize in the rescue of different breeds. So, definitely do your research and find those rescue organizations instead of supporting breeders! Adopting is rewarding for you and the animal you rescue! 🙂

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Thank you Anne-Marie and Mr. Shenanigans!

You can find more from Anne-Marie through Meat Free Athlete.

If you missed it, read the Adopt Don’t Shop Series Intro.

And find more from the Adopt Don’t Shop Series including Q&As with:
Vanessa (of Plant Based Muscle) and Chihuahua Fur Family
Banana TV
The Thinking Vegan
Lisa and Krishna
Q&A with KD Traegner of Your Daily Vegan
Q&A with Daria Zeoli

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