|Photo courtesy © Cameron O'Steen.|
Oreo was a sweet, beautiful baby boy cow I had the honor of getting to know at Animal Acres. Oreo, along with his friends Cocoa and Peanut, had been rescued from what can only be described as hell on earth - a nearby veal and dairy facility. After being ripped away from their mothers, Oreo, Cocoa, and Peanut spent their first several months barely alive, and sadly, Oreo was so bad off that when the amazing people at Animal Acres found him, he had already developed a terrible lung infection. But despite all of this, Oreo acted like a happy, curious baby - like most babies - enjoying the beauty of each day and palling around with his fellow calves in their safe, comfy new home at the sanctuary.
Last weekend, Steve and I took my dear friends from NYC, Molly Glenn (of The Vegan Everything) and Dan Truax, to Animal Acres, and I got to spend time with Oreo and his friends. Kisses, cuddles, and hair (aka "straw") nibbling abounded. I was in love with this little guy, so much so that after three hours at the sanctuary, Steve had to literally pull me away from him. I was hooked. And Oreo was to blame.
See, I'm a big fan of the underdog - the beings in this world who need the most love and support, and who happen to be the ones who receive the least of it. Be it a worm, a cockroach, a pigeon, or a pig, I love standing up for the creatures who most strongly need another creature in their corner. So, while Cocoa and Peanut were just as much fun to be around, I was most attached to little Oreo, and most hoping his weakened lungs would heal as he found more peace and health at Animal Acres.
Oreo passed away early this morning. And I'm still a bit of a mess over it. But I know this for sure - I will continue to live vegan for the rest of my life because of Oreo. I will continue to fight for the babies in this world who need our voices to help them and protect them. I will continue to tread as compassionately as possible. Oreo will be a daily reminder that my calling here on earth - to help people connect to their compassion and to go vegan - will never be finished.
I will miss you, Oreo. Thank you for giving me kisses, nibbles, and cuddles. Thank you mostly for trusting me and everyone else at Animal Acres to treat you with kindness after you had been shown nothing but abuse and neglect at the hands of my species. Thank you for inspiring me every day to continue living my best life. I love you.