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Bob Kasarda

Bob Kasarda at Warren Dunes.

A couple weeks ago, I grabbed my two dogs and headed up to do some hiking at Warren Dunes in nearby southwest Michigan.

After visiting the dog-friendly portion of the beautiful beach, I was heading back to my vehicle when I saw another couple with two dogs of their own.

We started talking about our dogs and then they noticed the animal advocacy T-shirt I was wearing. Turns out they, too, are vegan, which suddenly presented us with a lot of common ground, despite living in different states and having never before met.

We spent the next half hour or more standing in the hot sun sharing food ideas, nutritional tips, our thoughts about various animal advocacy groups, as well as discussing topics such as music and travel experiences.

While sharing the obvious love of dogs, it was the revelation that we both are vegan that brought down the walls and created an instant bond.

While the number of vegans is growing in this country, our numbers still hover well below 10 percent. As a result, it is still exciting to meet other vegans, especially when stumbling upon them in such a random way.

I make a point to wear animal advocacy T-shirts and sweatshirts, and have placed a vegan sticker on the back window of my car with the hope of spreading the word and getting others thinking more about our poor treatment of animals. I don't do it to attract the attention of fellow vegans, but that has become an unintentional benefit, much in the same way that good health often comes in the wake of going vegan for ethical reasons.

I mentioned to the couple that I write this blog, so maybe they will read this entry online and hopefully have the same fond memories about our meeting. May our numbers continue to increase so that one day bumping into a fellow vegan will become a more common, though still special, experience. 


Porter/LaPorte county reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.