It’s Just a Bug

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I almost didn’t write this post because I know I’ll be judged for it. I know this because if I’d read a post like this just over a year ago I would have judged the person who wrote it. I would have assumed the writer was a spaced out hippie or New Age nut who’d lost touch with reality. I’ve decided to share anyway, so here goes.

I’ve been following a plant-based diet for just over a year and it’s altered my thinking about animals. Not eating animals has somehow increased my respect and compassion for them.

Now I attempt to live in a way that doesn’t harm animals. I no longer buy leather and I choose personal care products that are not tested on animals. I’ve transitioned my dog to a vegan diet. And when there’s a spider in my house I collect it and put it outside.

I don’t typically put a lot of thought into being kind to animals, it’s become automatic. Something happened the other day, however; that made me consider my actions. I was at Petco bathing my dog in their do-it-yourself dog wash when I noticed he had a tick. I called an employee over and asked her to remove the tick while I held my dog down.

The employee removed the tick and I could tell that it was alive because its little legs were wiggling. My first thought was I should tell her to put it outside. This notion was rapidly replaced with images of the employee laughing as she told the other employees about the wacky lady who wanted to save a tick, and I kept my mouth shut.

Maybe I am a wacky lady, but I feel bad for allowing shame to prevent me from saving a life. Now I’m imagining that many of you reading this are laughing at me and thinking, it’s just a bug.

Photo courtesy of bioblitz.missouri.edu.

About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
This entry was posted in Animal Welfare, Daily Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to It’s Just a Bug

  1. tsipprelle says:

    You’re not wacky. Though I am mostly a pescetarian, I understand how you feel. Everyone in my family, including my college aged sons are mostly pescetarians and stay away from meat. They, too, like me, would rather collect a bug in a jar and bring it outside to safety than harm it. Great post! Ps: Not ready to give up leather, though…. Maybe someday. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment Tracy! Yea, leather is a toughie. I think it was harder for me to give up than cheese!! It wouldn’t be so bad if more companies made good quality non-leather shoes, but few do. Celeste:)

  2. Greg says:

    You wacko! 😉

  3. Poppy says:

    Celeste, you’re not wacky! I respect you for writing this despite your fear of being ‘laughed at’. I would feel exactly the same, life is life and why the hell should those of us trying to protect life feel ashamed?! My kitty caught a beetle yesterday and I managed to get to it in time and put it outside. There may be some people who snigger and look at you weirdly but I guarantee there will be more people that respect you and wish they had your compassion. X

  4. Lisa says:

    I love this! People think I’m crazy when I save spiders rather than kill them! I feel guilty even when I kill a bug by accident

  5. sophiazerg says:

    I was so happy to read this. I have been dealing with pretty harsh judgements recently, from friends, and wanted to blog when I have a little more time on how you all deal with judgement for your lifestyle and diet choices. The ironic part is I am not vegan, I am a vegetarian, but the moment I use the word ‘vegan’ in my recipe names, suddenly it’s as though a mirror is reflecting upon someone’s personal choices that they may not be so proud of and the judgement starts! Veganism has such a reputation for judgement, yet aren’t we the ones that are mostly insecure about wanting to save a tick for fear of being judged?
    It’s really been bugging me lately, no pun intended 😉

    • Hey Sophia! It’s interesting that you don’t get the same treatment for being vegetarian as you do when you use the word ‘vegan.’ I guess I didn’t realize that society is more judgmental of vegans than they are of vegetarians. I went right from eating the typical American diet to being vegan, so I’ve only experienced what people think of veganism. I love your statement about a mirror reflecting upon someone’s personal choices that they may not be so proud of. I believe there is a lot of truth to that. I look forward to your vegan judgment post! Celeste:)

  6. mllaurie says:

    I used to be one of those “it’s just a bug” people. Like with larger animals, there is a lot of speciesism. If you squish a butterfly or ladybug, you’ll be demonised. A fly, an ant, a flea, or a tick? Kill it quick. I spent ages trying to free a delicate greenfly from the car last weekend. My husband got so annoyed. Yet, he refuses to kill spiders, because they’re “helpful”.

    • I used to be one of those, “it’s just a bug” people too – it’s amazing how much I’ve evolved in the past year! The comment you brought up about speciesism intrigues me. Before going vegan, I wasn’t aware of how much I followed societies norms about which animals were okay to kill and which were taboo. I acted blindly and killed the “bad” bugs while still marveling whenever I saw a Monarch Butterfly. Thanks for your thoughtful comment Michelle – I appreciate it. Celeste:)

  7. I totally get it. I sometimes find myself actively dodging ants on the sidewalk.

    I also agree about the leather. I was looking into boots today and it was so hard to find nice boots that aren’t leather!

    • Hey Suzi! I know there is a market for good quality vegan shoes, I just wish more companies made them. Maybe someday. Thanks so much for your comment – I appreciate it!! Celeste:)

  8. margogoes says:

    Celeste, I’m totally with you, but I’ve been bitten by a tick and had a serious infection because of it. The live and let live may not be reciprocal between species.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your infection – how horrible. I wonder if I would have felt differently if I was the one with the tick. That’s an interesting question! Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that. Celeste:)

  9. Mike Lince says:

    I don’t think you are wacky or wrong to model respect-for-life behavior, and I admire you for it. That being said, I will still try to kill a mosquito before it gets me.

    • Hey there Mike! Thanks so much for your comment! If I had met a woman who didn’t want to kill a tick before I went vegan, I would have thought she was wacky. It’s amazing how much my thinking has evolved over the past year. Still, like you, I’d probably still kill a mosquito that was in the process of biting me. And if termites start eating my house again, I’ll kill them too. I wonder what other vegans would do in such circumstances. Celeste:)

  10. Anna says:

    Well, I am a bit selective which bug I want to save… but I do not see the full picture I am sure.
    Spiders been saved at my house since ” Charlotte ” was read.

  11. newtoveggies says:

    I find myself thinking similarly too with one big exception. Spiders. I don’t think I will ever get over my fear of them, and the notion that they must die immediately while I simultaneously have a panic attack about it being in the same room as me. I was watching an episode of ‘Brain Games’ on NatGeo last week that briefly talked about how our brains are wired to notice spiders and snakes even when pictures are flashing so rapidly that we can’t make anything else out because our ancestors needed to detect them to survive.

    My cat can’t be on a veg diet though, he actually has to be on a grain-free diet. So that is a little bit bothersome that I still must buy animal products 😦

    • I don’t have a fear of spiders, but I totally get it because I feel that way about bees. I was recently in the car in the middle of a busy street with my husband driving and I saw a bee in the car. I went into a full blown panic attack and started screaming, “pull the car over!!” We were in the middle lane and there was no place to pull over, so I just kept screaming until my husband was able to pull into a driveway. I exploded out of the car and refused to get back inside until my husband was able to get the bee out of the car (he was really, really annoyed with me). Yea, I get it – no judgment here!! Celeste:)

  12. VegCharlotte says:

    If there were more wackiness in the world, it would be a better place! 🙂
    I understand about the bugs, but – as others have said – I am a bit selective. Especially if it’s a bug that could hurt me or my furry family. A granddaddy long legs? Freaks me out, but I’ll try to shoo him out the door with a broom or get him to take a ride on a looong piece of newspaper. But if it’s a spider that looks a bit too much like a brown recluse? Here comes a (non-leather) shoe!

    • Thanks so much for your comment Catherine – I appreciate it!! Yea, those granddaddy long legs are creepy. Actually, I find most bugs creepy. Still, I try to save them if I can. I get your perspective, however. I also have to admit that I don’t always protect bugs. I mentioned in a previous comment that I’d have no problem killing termites if they started munching on my house again. I guess that makes me a lot like you, selective in my killing. Celeste:)

  13. Deborah says:

    I know killing is wrong. I know that!! But, ooooh, I hate those little fruit flies. I do not feel one bit bad if I get a little too close to one and– poof! But I will try to do better.

    • Yea, those fruit flies are annoying!! I hate it when I see them flying around my fruit bowl. There’s no judgment here Deborah. As I’ve said in other responses – I’m certainly not perfect. Thanks for your comment!! Celeste:)

  14. hares on the hill says:

    Wacky is good – just ask my psychiatrist! Tics are bad news for you and your dog if they are carrying the Lyme Borreliosis bacteria so I think that you made the right decision. Our vegetable garden was being devastated by slugs last summer so we trapped, rather than poison, them and fed them to the birds. Slugs are really rather lovely when you get close-up and I don’t mind a few helping themselves, but the plague had to be managed and the birds benefitted.

  15. Yea, I know ticks are bad news. I believe that my dog’s annual shots protect him from Lyme disease. At least I hope they do – I should check. That’s so funny that you talk about the beauty of slugs. I used to live near UC Santa Cruz, a school who’s mascot is the bright yellow banana slug. I’ve seen lots of banana slugs, and I like the little buggers. Not everyone shares this sentiment, however. I’m specifically thinking of a hiking date I went on as a teenager where I excitedly pointed out a banana slug to my date. He wasn’t impressed. Oh well. Celeste:) PS – thanks so much for stopping by my blog, I’m going to go check yours out now.

  16. Well, I have one of these (http://www.amazon.com/Fascinations-Spider-Catcher-Bug-Remover/dp/B001AMYFP8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369884560&sr=8-1&keywords=spider+catcher) so I guess I’m a fellow wacky chick! 🙂

    It’s kind of funny how veganism opens your eyes/mind/heart to even the smallest creatures. Now if I had to call an exterminator for bugs in the house that could not be gotten rid of any other way, I would. But now I would feel badly about it, wonder about the last moments of the little critters, and be more reflective about the whole situation in general.

    • I’m so glad that I’m not the only one!!! I’m going to have to order one of those spider catchers – I bet that’s a lot easier than trying to get the bugger on a piece of paper. Celeste 🙂

  17. P.S. That’s a really cool pic at the top of the post.

  18. kaytina11 says:

    I can completely relate to this post. My friends are always making fun of me for my “wacky” animal views. I don’t believe we should needlessly take another’s life force away! Its interesting when you think about a life such as a tick, it makes it harder to relate to those views when its something we consider undesirable.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Tina! I’m glad that I’m not the only “wacky” one out there. It’s hard trying to respect life when the majority of people around you see things differently. Hopefully the way we live will encourage others to see things differently. You never know!! Celeste 🙂

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