• Laura Simonson

We Chews Vegan: Miri & Hank

"It feels good to know we are not contributing to the unnecessary suffering of animals. In addition to not harming other sentients, we know we are lowering our impact on the environment. " - Miriam Jurigova


This bond between humans and dogs is one of the many reasons we at Virchew decided it's high time to raise our paws for Veganuary! We're super excited to highlight some of our furiends and their hoomans as they share their "We Chews Vegan" stories during January.


Meet Miri & Hank!


Public Interest Advocate & Northern Canadian Stray


*Image credit: Vancouver Pet Photography

With a Juris Doctorate in Law and a passion for nature and environmental issues, Miri Jurigova embraced Buddhist spirituality early in life. With a life motto of 'I breathe; therefore, I care,' she welcomed a rescue into her life, and today we honour their special bond.


Hank was a stray and exemplified the hardship that Northern Canadian dogs face. As a puppy, he essentially rescued himself by going up to someone's porch and asking for food and love. He was fortunate that good people occupied the house he chose, and they contacted the Northern Hope Dog Rescue Society.

"He initially came to us as a foster puppy. He had this incredible duality of being the feistiest yet most sensitive pup we've ever encountered. He was such a force of nature, a loving beast! By the time he was 13 weeks old, he was already strong and a handful for me because I am on the petite side. But I had put so much energy and care into trying to figure out how to do right by this little Tasmanian devil that I couldn't give up on him. So when my partner and I took him out into the wilderness, we knew he was a keeper. He had an uncanny sense of the outdoors, loved to explore but always came back to us.


I worked hard on his training, especially in the city, because he doesn't like being on a leash and when a 95 lbs dog decides to chase a squirrel, watch out arms! Now at three years old, one would never guess that he was ever such a handful; he is a wonderful loving companion beyond expectations. He reminds us to be grateful and joyful every day."


hank the rescue dog after eating a bowl of virchew vegan dog food created by laura simonson in vancouver bc canada.

*Image credit: Vancouver Pet Photography


Good For Our Hearts


Miri has been vegan for five years now - committing to go all-in after decades of vegetarianism. Miri and her partner both live vegan and they do not like the idea of killing one animal to feed another and question why we should favour one species over another. After doing research, they knew that dogs could survive and thrive on a plant-based diet! After following their vet's advice - to wait until Hank was one year old - Miri was thrilled to make the switch. An added bonus? Hank's many digestive and skin issues were mitigated by his new plant-based diet!


Good For Our Dogs


Miri and her partner switched Hank to a plant-based diet when he turned one. "Now, at three years old, I don't think of Hank as vegan; he is plant-based. I made the ethical choice for him. He loves vegetables, and anything I give him that is plant-based. He eats whatever is available. We are lucky that he loves what we cook, and he must always be in the kitchen during mealtime. He loves carrots as much as a horse does! That is why we think of him like a small horse because he looks like one!"


Good For Our Planet


As a vegan duo, Miri and Hank are making change just by how they eat! (Did you know you can count how beneficial not-eating animals can be by using the Veestro Vegan Calculator*). Check out how incredible these two are!


hank the rescue dog after eating a bowl of virchew vegan dog food created by laura simonson in vancouver bc canada.

"I love these numbers! I feel very proud because it is hard to feel like one is doing enough these days with climate change knocking loudly at our doors. My work is in access to justice, and for me, the notion of social justice does not begin and end with humans. I am glad our family does not contribute to the animal agriculture industry that devalues the lives of other animals and does not take responsibility for its impact on the planet."


It's The Perfect Time to Chews Love


Miri has three tips for anyone and everyone who has signed up for the Veganuary Challenge.


1. Be open-minded! Eventually, one loses the desire for heavy and creamy foods, and there are so many available options for eating these days, explore! It may seem ominous if one is used to a particular way of eating, but eating plant-based is incredibly tasty.


2. If there are certain foods or flavours one craves, many substitutions are now available. It can be fun and creative! I am Slavic, and I grew up with cabbage as pretty much the only vegetable I knew. If I could do it with my cultural background, anyone can!


3. Just enjoy it, don't think of it as a sacrifice or dietary change; it is a fresh way of looking at life! You will feel so much better physically and about the choices you are making.

"Veganism is a way of life because it is about acknowledging that we are interconnected within our natural world. What we do to the environment has a direct impact on us. Being vegan helps one feel they are treading more gently on the earth."


hank the rescue dog after eating a bowl of virchew vegan dog food created by laura simonson in vancouver bc canada.

*Image credit: Vancouver Pet Photography


Veganism is NOT Extreme

Miri shares that veganism is a way of life for her because it is about acknowledging that we are interconnected within our natural world. What we do to the environment has a direct impact on us. Being vegan helps one feel they are treading more gently on the earth.

When asked how do people respond to finding out you and your dog are both vegan, Miri replies - "To be honest, most people think it is comical. It doesn't surprise them knowing my position on animals and the environment. However, I feel we can also engage in a meaningful conversation, especially since Hank has many sensitivities and a plant-based diet has allowed him to thrive."


If you missed our first post in the series about Carolyn & Roxi, "An Author & Kill-Shelter Rescue," click there now.


We Chews Vegan: Eat the Change - Together is a digital event launched by Virchew to celebrate our human-dog bond through the stories of some really cool people and their pooches who are living and thriving together on a vegan diet. We'll share not only the incredible tangible impact that can be made but also the intangible benefits that warm our hearts and lift our spirits - all of which contribute to a better, kinder world filled with love.

Hungry for more? Fetch our stories and testimonials over at www.virchew.com/testimonials

*Calculations were made using the Veestro Vegan Calculator for humans and this study for our companion animals.

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