Skinny Bitch writer talks to Fido Friendly Magazine

Rory Freedman, co-author of Skinny Bitch, with dogs Timber and Joey, photo by Christopher Ameruoso

by Susan Sims, Publisher of FIDO Friendly Magazine

FIDO Friendly: Tell me about the pooches in your life.

Rory Freedman: I adopted them, Joey (black Lab ) and Timber (yellow Lab), nine years ago. They are both dreamy; I could inhale them to death.

FF: Give me a day in the life with your dogs.

RF: First thing we do is go on a hike every morning. I feel that if you live somewhere where you can do that and your schedule allows for it, it’s their God-given right to be off leash and running around in nature every day. So, that’s the first thing we do. Then, we come home, and they zonk out. Right now, I have two dead dogs lying around because this morning we went on a nice sunny hike, and they are still depleted from it, so my work is done.

In the afternoon, we either go for a walk around the neighborhood or to a neighborhood park and hang out there for a little while; before bedtime is another neighborhood stroll.

FF: Do they travel much with you?

RF: Depends on what I am doing. If I can drive, then I bring them. This past April, I was speaking at Veg Fest in Michigan, so I had to fly. So their beloved dog sitter came over to stay with them, hike them, walk them, and love them while I was gone.

FF: I like her gig.

RF: Not a bad thing to get paid for hanging out with two delicious pooches.

FF: Readers will be curious as to what you feed your dogs.

RF: My dogs are vegan . I know that dogs are omnivores and are not like humans, and I used to feed them raw meat. But, when I was researching Skinny Bitch and learning so much about the meat industry, I was just so horrified that even human-grade meat was so contaminated and filthy and also involved so much cruelty for animals, that I decided to start researching dog nutrition to find if dogs could thrive on vegan diets. I found out that indeed they can, and now I have found that indeed they do!

I give them a blend of two different vegetarian dog kibble, one being V-Dog. Then, I mix in some fresh whole grains, beans and vegetables. Dogs need and deserve whole foods just as much as humans do. For snacks, they get biscuits, of course, but also apples and bananas.

FF: That sounds yummy.

RF: I love my dogs, and I want them to be healthy and happy.

FF: I did read Skinny Bitch when it first came out, and then was glad to read the companion cookbook Skinny Bitch in the Kitchen . (There is also Skinny Bastard for men.) What motivated you to start writing these books?

RF: For most of my life, every time I sat down to a meal it was meat. The day I learned about factory farming and slaughterhouses, I was just shocked and horrified at how these animals were suffering and thought, “I cannot be a part of this ever again. I am an animal lover. I’m a huge hypocrite by eating meat. These animals are suffering the cruelest fates, and I want nothing to do with this.”

So I became a vegetarian overnight, began studying more about nutrition, eventually became vegan, and then finally decided I was supposed to share this knowledge with everyone else around me. I wanted to help animals be spared, and I also wanted people to learn how unhealthy it is to eat meat and dairy products and how much healthier it is to live a vegan lifestyle.

FF: Have you thought about writing a book for the canine set?

RF: I have thought about it. It’s on the mile-long list of things to do.

FF: You know you already have the title.

RF: (laughs) Yes, Skinny Bitch .

FF: What’s on the horizon?

RF: On a personal note: travel! It’s an interesting thing–I share custody of my dogs with my ex-boyfriend. So when I give them to their dad, I basically travel and stay out late and stay away from the house all day without worrying about my dogs. Because my ex and I both love our dogs and adopted them together, we are both still their parents. Even though he and I are not together anymore, we are both actively involved in their lives. Every six months we swap the dogs, so Timber and Joey winter in Los Angeles and summer in Lake Tahoe.

FF: I love that.

RF: Yeah, these dogs have it made. And I know that when they are with their dad and his wonderful girlfriend, they are always happy and getting lots of love and care. As far as work goes, there is a 2011 Skinny Bitch calendar hitting the shelves in June 2010.

And I’m definitely thinking of what more I can do in the realm of helping animals. Every single day when I read an article or see video footage, I am reminded of the 10 billion land animals that are killed for food every year in this country alone. Or the millions of animals that are in laboratories being tested on or the countless animals in zoos and circuses and rodeos or animals being killed for leather or fur. I just know that I’ve got to do something to help these animals. And I am not going to rest until I do more.

FF: What do you hope our readers will learn from your books?

RF: I always think if anybody is going to be sympathetic to the plight of animals, it is people like your readers, and if they only just had the information about what goes on in factory farms and slaughterhouses, they may very well do what I did and that was to go vegetarian and then vegan.

FF: What have you learned from your dogs?

RF: So much! They are brilliant little creatures. The first thing I have learned from them is unbridled joy–they never temper their joy for anything. When I wake up in the morning, Joey is just a ridiculous smiling face. She is happy for no other reason than that I am awake. She is doing whirlybirds like a dervish; her whole body is happy and jumpy and smiley for no reason.

I have also learned how to laugh more. They just do so many funny things. The other day I caught Timber tiptoeing! I was cooking in the kitchen and didn’t want them underfoot, so I told them to go outside. He tried to sneak back in behind me. I heard the teeny tiny clicketyclack of his nails on the floor, and I turned around and he was tiptoeing, creeping in behind me trying to be small and quiet.

The other thing they’ve taught me is being present; they are just always present in what they are doing. They are not hung up on what happened yesterday or what we’re doing tomorrow. They are 100 percent present. And perhaps most importantly, they’ve taught me unconditional love. They are so forgiving and so loving; they just make my heart sing.

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