Jordi Casamitjana, the author of the book “Ethical Vegan”, writes an open letter to all the dogs in the world, past and present, apologising for what humanity has done to them, and thanking them for everything

Dear Dogs

I hope you are well.

Apologies for the delay in writing to you.

This is a long overdue letter, from species to species, that I wanted to send for quite some time. It is addressed to all of you, all the dogs belonging to the dogkind nation, and although I haven’t checked if all members of humankind approve of me writing it, I am doing it on behalf of all humanity anyway.

We have been friends for a long time, almost 30,000 years — if I remember correctly — but I know we, humans, have not been very good friends to you so far.

This is why I want to start this letter with a sincere heartfelt apology.

What some of our citizens have done to your people is unforgivable. It breaks my heart to think how much we have betrayed you. You were always so friendly, honest, and loyal to us, and yet some of our people have done horrible things to you. 

I know many of you have been chained and kept captive all your lives in terrible conditions. Many of you have been coerced into fighting among yourselves and have been punished if you didn’t want to do it. Many of you have been forced to pull heavy weights and work in dangerous jobs you only did because you wanted to please us. Many of you have been made to chase members of other animal nations we have fought in unfair wars you were mixed in against your will. Many of you were born into human families, and after you bonded with them you were abandoned and then executed if no other humans came forward to adopt you. Many of you have been hit, fed unhealthy food, and run over with our cars. Many of you have been killed for no reason at all, or for reasons we would find unacceptable if we had to apply them to our human friends. Many of you have been cooked and eaten as if you were food suitable for humans. And many of you have been tortured in unimaginable ways in vivisection labs set up in countries that hypocritically claim to be friendly to you. 

I am so sorry for all this. I truly am. We did all that to you, and It’s so unfair. Although many of us find these actions totally abhorrent when done to any sentient being, no matter the species, the fact that we did it to you, our closest friend, our most loyal and dearest friend, is unforgivable.

And the way we messed up with your nature too. The way we forced you to mate with whom we chose, not your preference, and by being selective, generation after generation, began to change your body, your face, your ears, your legs, just for our convenience and leisure. We deformed them so much that some of you can no longer run, see, or even breathe properly. And even when we discovered that many of these forms we made you grow into carried debilitating congenital diseases, we kept doing it. Not to forget that when our politicians decide that some of the forms we have forced you to exist in are too dangerous, laws have been passed to exterminate you if unlucky enough to be born in such forms — as if you just were a misshapen cracked pot discarded after taken out from an overheating kiln. I am so sorry for that too. 

I know that’s not all. When we share our homes with you, we have given you very little choice on anything and decided everything for you (even when your life must end) often disregarding your wishes. I know many humans unfairly infantilise you, not treating you as the fully-grown wise individuals you become after a year or two of being puppies. No matter your size, no matter your age, no matter your skills, you are still treated by many as if you were a little accessorial creature (a “petite” in French, or “pet” in short). Most of our people still consider you, outrageously, as their property! I know we have robbed you of your wolfhood, your dignity as an adult member of the dogkind nation, and I am sure you still dream about those ancestral times when you were the kings of the hills and had never been on the leash. You have sacrificed so much for us just to honour our friendship.

Despite all this, you have continued to be our best friend. Your loyalty and honesty have not withered a bit even when we have treated you appallingly. Those of us who grew up in cultures that don’t demonise you know that there is something to be said about your novel generous character. The best poets and writers of our species have written tons about the concepts of love and devotion, and yet, you master them. When we live with you, every time we return home, even if we have only been away for a couple of hours, you greet us with such enthusiasm that we can vividly feel these concepts in every tail wag, paw dance, and tongue flap you perform. It is almost as if you personify them, manifesting them in living form. 

We know that you were worried that we would not return and that you greatly missed us as the bond you can create with other members of your pack is very powerful. You look so happy when we open the door and you can finally realise we did not abandon you. The joy you express when we play in the park together embodies the very essence of happiness. And your honesty is heartwarming. You act without malice, and you mean what you do. You are always good — even when you “misbehave” — and you are always authentic. 

You are super-beings too. Your skills are mind-blowing. The miraculous way you use your sense of smell is legendary, and we, with all our technology, have not yet found a way to detect scent better than you. Your auditory sense is also remarkable, being able to hear high frequencies we cannot hear at all and locate the sources of sound with very accurate precision. Your agility and physical prowess leave us in awe, and we still don’t understand how you manage to catch that ball or frisbee mid-air so effortlessly. Your stamina is impressive too. Every time we go together for a walk, you run ten times back and forth the distance we walk, and you seem as fresh as ever. You run faster and longer than us, you can see in the dark better than us, and you can swim without being taught how to. You are amazing super-beings, and we are so privileged to be around you.  

Those of us who spend more time with you know your exceptional ability to connect with people of all ages and cultures, and given a chance, with members of other species too (as you have now learnt that you don’t need to hunt anymore). I don’t know how you do it, but your friendliness is spellbinding. When we look at your furry faces and we see your round wet noses, magic happens. Every time you look at us with a pleading face, our souls melt as we surrender to your persuasion. Every time you roll over for a belly scratch, our plans shift as we indulge your primaeval request. Every time you let your tongue hang and do the welcoming dance, all our worries disappear as we experience a touch of bliss.   

Those of us who regard you as true companions know that you are very wise too. You are always investigating trying to find out what is going on. You live so much in the present moment that you can be an inspiration to many humans seeking enlightenment. You can see joy in the little things and express your feelings freely and clearly. You understand us. You know when we need help and help us without being asked. You know when we are down and cheer us up with a great sense of humour. You make us have a break and go for a walk when we don’t realise we need one. You let us hug you and stroke you when you notice we need some physical affection. You look after us and protect us, like a good friend should do. 

You are a generous beacon of truth in our lives we need more than ever in these turbulent times. 

I wanted to let you know that many of us cherish your friendship and truly see you as our best friend — the best we could ever wish. 

Thanks to all of you for being with us, and sorry for everything.

Best wishes

Your human friends

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.