How it happened
It was 1989 when I read “Diet For A New America,” by John Robbins. This was my first discovery of the world of suffering endured by the animals on my plate. I broke down in sobs and became a vegetarian in that moment. Twenty years later, I met Tara.
It was 1989, and I was sharing an afternoon with a friend at the Oregon Zoo. We stopped at the cafe for lunch. Staring down at the chicken nuggets that came in the shape of animals, I made the connection. Here I was, going to the zoo to appreciate animals, yet I was eating animals processed in the shape of animals. I looked at my friend and said, “I’m never going to eat meat again.” Twenty years later, I met Barnet.
These four words changed our life
It didn’t take long for us after we became a couple. It was March 6, 2010, and Tara had just finished reading an article by Ginnifer Goodwin. It was the very first time she really noticed the word “vegan.” Tara called out to me from another room and announced that she had something important to ask. We sat down right there in the middle of the hallway, and she said four words we’ll never forget: “Why aren’t we vegan?”
There was no good answer. We became vegan from that moment on. Out went the silk ties and scarves, the wool suits, and the leather shoes, belts and handbags. No more trips to the zoo. In came the amazing food, documentaries, protests, meetups, and visits to animal sanctuaries.
The Birth of Veebles
We loved those early vegan days. Whenever we went to a vegan restaurant, it simply felt “right.” We loved knowing that the owner would never use the money they received in ways that contributed to animal cruelty. We loved knowing that if we were to get into a conversation with any vegan business owner, they would have their own story to tell, their own “why.”
We started searching for other services we needed: a vegan housecleaner, a vegan hair stylist, and a vegan naturopath. It was tedious (really tedious) work. We knew there must be many vegans in our city that offered services, and we wondered how we could ever find them.
From conversations with vegans from all over the country, we knew we were not alone in our desire to find and support vegan-owned businesses. In fact, people were genuinely excited about the idea.
So now we have Veebles. It’s our greatest joy and privilege, our most heartfelt way of helping animals, and the happiest way we know of to support our friends who also carry this compassion in their hearts.
What I like about Barnet
- Barnet’s quirky sense of humor gets me every time. I don’t think he’s ever gone through a day without saying something truly funny. Once, several years ago, he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. He kept the EMTs in stitches by insisting he would only allow Dr. House (from the TV series) to take care of him, and that they must fly the good doctor to Portland immediately.
- Barnet is a songwriter. He’s written some beautiful serious songs, but it’s the spontaneous ones I love most. Gus, his favorite cat, was honored with at least a gazillion songs. Now our Gracie is the lucky recipient of his musical attention.
- Of course, one of the things I love and value most in our relationship is that Barnet has the same compassion in his heart as me. We often joke that we are the same person. As you might have guessed by now, the heart on our logo is no accident.
What I like about Tara
- Tara was “given” her name by a respected teacher during her younger free spirit days. In Eastern mythology, the goddess of compassion is named Tara, and this fits her perfectly. Every seemingly unattended dog or child must be verified as safe, no hurt bird or squirrel shall ever be passed by, and ants or spiders relocated from our home must be transported with absolute care to prevent hurting their little legs.
- Tara collects hearts. Each hike or trip to the beach will result in at least one or two heart-shaped stones returning home in her pockets. If you ask me, I think Veebles is her way of collecting more hearts. I like that about her, I really do.
- Tara is so funny (often unintentionally). In fact, we’ve saved hundreds of her quotes over the years. Some favorites are:
“If I’m ever in a coma, you have to hire someone to pluck my eyebrows every day.”
“I’ve got the ice cream, I’ve got the pie. Nothing else matters.”
“I just need a day to shop uninterrupted by myself.”
“I only have three hours to eat and shower.”
“Here, try this. It’s disgusting!”
What we like about Gracie
- She’s been vegan since the day we adopted her from the shelter.
- She snuggles with us at bedtime and lets us dress her up in doggie pajamas.
- She loves her sweet potatoes, apples, peanut butter, watermelon, cauliflower, and bananas.
- She warns us when squirrels trespass in our yard, when the dryer beeps, when UPS has delivered a package, and when people dare to walk half a block away.
- Most importantly, she teaches us to love, to greet each other with joyful enthusiasm, and to take lots of time out for fun.