I think we all have a shortlist of people we would love to meet and have dinner with if we had half a chance. People usually mention names like Nelson Mandela, the Queen or perhaps Einstein but most of us don’t usually get that chance in our lifetimes. I was so humbled and honoured to get the chance to meet the person who has had such a profound impact on the way I now choose to live my life. That person is of course Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I have blogged about her before. Colleen is one of the most well-known animal advocates out there. Her work and especially her podcast have inspired many people to not only become vegan but to feel happy and empowered in their choice to do so. She also teaches humility and compassion. It is all to easy when one becomes vegan to be judgmental of those who do not make compassionate choices. She reminds us to remember our own stories. It was 32 years before I made the connection between eggs, milk and the oppression of animals. When I speak with others, I try to remember this.
So, how come little old me was invited to have dinner with one of the world’s busiest animal advocates and her husband? Well, for about six months now I have been doing some volunteer work for Colleen to help give her the time to concentrate on her important work. As Colleen receives many emails it would be impossible to respond to all of them as they deserve to be answered to. The emails Colleen receives are wonderful. She often reads them on her podcast. Here is a recent podcast she did where she read some of the emails that she receives. I am privileged enough to get the read and reply to these emails and they give me such reason to hope that the world’s attitude to animals is changing. While everyone’s story of transformation is unique they have certain characteristics that are the same. Most people are terribly sad and shocked when they realise what they have been unknowingly participating in. They often have challenges regarding family and social situations yet nearly everyone describes how happy being vegan makes them feel. Not all emails are uplifting. Some report how this awareness causes such pain and sadness. When we completely open our hearts to the unnecessary suffering of animals the results can be incredibly difficult. It can lead to feelings of hopelessness and even depression. My job is to try to set the writers’ of Colleen’s emails on a more optimistic path and to try to focus on the wonderfully positive things that are happening at the moment.
So, how was our dinner? We had a lovely extended 4 hour dinner at an amazingly vegan friendly restruarnt in Berkley called Gather. Seb and Jack came along and we were incredibly excited to have her delightful husband David join us too. We talked about all sorts of things. Colleen said lovely things about the emails I write which made me feel very appreciated, we talked about our own stories, Seb made us all laugh and we showed each other pictures of our companion animals and spent way too long telling each other about the adorable things our kitties do and how much joy they give us.
I feel so honored and privileged to have spent a little time with Colleen and David. Such fantastic voices for the animals and just funny and nice too.