One information beforehand: Gesa is NOT pregnant. But we did add another team member and are now an adventure trio: Gesa, Sebastian and … *drumroll* … Freya. Freya is a little furbaby aka an 8month old Shepherd-Mix. She’s a rescue dog from a shelter in Vancouver and we fell in love with her cute little eyebrows and almond-shaped eyes instantly.
Nope, it wasn’t a spontaneous decision – we had wanted a dog for a long time and kept postponing that plan year after year because we were not ready for the commitment. We lived with dogs in the past and are well aware of how much time and energy they require. Furthermore, we knew that travelling would become a whole lot different. But here in Canada, we felt like we finally had the flexibility and time to make that step.
Many people don’t want to adopt rescue dogs because of potential behavioural problems. They assume that these animals must have a kind of abuse trauma or that they were given away because they are out of control (due to a lack of training). That’s not always the case but there is some truth in these prejudices. And sure enough, Freya has a dark past we need to keep in mind: She was tied up in a backyard for the first 6months of her life and is therefore still pretty scared of many things, especially people. In dog training, you’d call her “under-socialized”. Imagine all you know growing up are concrete floors, bleak walls and infrequent meals and then one day, some people come and take you away and you’ll suddenly get confronted with a BAZILLION of new sounds, sights and smells!! You should have seen Freya’s face when we played classical music for the first time (she now is a huge fan of Chopin during her naps – classy!). Even our relatively quiet island life is still pretty overwhelming for her and we can only imagine how she feels… But our girl is up for the challenge: Freya is extremely smart, eager to please and still young enough to learn quickly. We are making constant progress and her comfort zone gets bigger every day. We train her with positive reinforcement methods only and don’t even bother to consider bullshit like alpha-rolls and prong-collars. Freya thrives the more she understands that this crazy world out there is not evil but an exciting playground and she wouldn’t learn that with intimidating training techniques.
The CO2 pawprint of dogs
“Pawprint”? Fair enough, forgive us that shallow pun. In any case, we gotta acknowledge that having a large dog is pretty damn bad when it comes to our environmental conscience. We decided to feed Freya mainly BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) – which means a lot of raw meat, organs, bones etc. In our opinion, it’s the healthiest and most natural food for dogs and she is clearly loving it, too.
However, it’s not a secret that raising livestock requires many resources: lots of land, water and energy – and then even more land, water and energy for producing feed for these animals in the first place. We found statistics saying that it takes up to 37kg of CO2 to get 1kg of beef. More comprehensibly speaking, that relation means that this 1kg of beef is responsible for more “CO2 emissions than going for a three-hour drive while leaving all the lights on at home”. Other sources state that an impressive ¼ of all greenhouse emission are indirectly caused by meat-eating pets!
Yes, there was a time when pet food consisted mainly of the leftovers from slaughters (you know, all that bloody, slimy stuff that humans feel compelled to eat) but nowadays, a lot of our pets eat high-quality, human-grade meat, too. More often than not, the average Western Fido gets fancier food than many people from the Global South! And considering the fact that there are about 160 MILLION cats and dogs in the US alone, this increases the demand for meat drastically!
Green Fact: 70% of the deforestation of the Amazon is to provide land for cattle ranches.
Consequently, we admit that we have to add our furbaby’s carbon pawprint to our list of climate sins. However, she also encourages low-emission activities like walking/biking instead of driving and frequent, high-carbon plane flights are less attractive than ever before. Plus, with Gesa being a Vegetarian and Sebastian having reduced his meat consume drastically, we feel pretty good about our own CO2 footprint regarding our food choices.
Despite the pawprint – a dreamteam
Freya is taking up a lot of our time right now but we gladly spend it playing, hiking and training because
- being outdoors is what Canada is all about anyways and
- we know she’s worth it.
Every time we see her ears perk up next to our bed in the morning, every time she looks at us with these trusting, loyal eyes and yes, even when she gives us that cheeky side glance before stealing our socks; in all these instances and many more, our heart goes out to that girl. We already can’t picture life without her anymore and we can’t wait to see her grow into her huge paws and floppy bat ears. Welcome home, adventure buddy.