Let's Visit Stonehenge Part V Southampton UK: Vegan and Pet Friendly

This is part of a new series of blog posts about travelling
....starting with a place I have actually visited before: STONEHENGE!

If you missed my previous posts about my dream vacation, here are the links:
Let's Go to Stonehenge! Part I Ocean Liner to the UK: Pet Friendly
Let's Go to Stonehenge! Part II Cruises: Pets and MOOCs
Let's Go to Stonehenge! Part III Cross Country: Cars and Crystals
Let's Go to Stonehenge! Part IV Port of Southampton UK: Cars and Tours

As you know if you read my previous articles, my dream vacation is to take my dogs for a walk at Stonehenge. Because I live in California, this scenario has taken quite a bit of strategy on my part to find a way to get to the destination. The strategies were covered in my previous blog posts, ending up with actually visiting Stonehenge, returning to Port of Southampton, and preparing for the return home. So now it's time to consider whether I really want to go home, or whether I might actually want to stay awhile longer, if my Visas are good for it.

Since I brought my dogs with me (no easy task, given the strict UK regulations about pets) I obviously want to us to be able to hang out together. And, if the dogs are approved to leave the ship with their pet visas, the first thing I will want is a place to stay overnight. My first idea was to drive all the way to London. It's a big city, centrally located, with lots of contemporary amenities and lots of things to do. A place like London would probably have a good selection of pet friendly hotels and, turns out, it does.

What surprises me, after all the strict pet travel regulations, is how pet friendly England appears to be when my pet is safely with me. Online search, from my location in Southern California, for pet friendly accommodations near Port of Southampton UK turned up a number of options. London is definitely not alone in the pet friendly hotel business.

After I've got my pet-friendly reservation, hopefully near a nice park where I may walk my dogs, I'll need to think about food for me and my dogs. This is more complicated than it sounds because of my nutritional choices. About ten years ago I slowly started converting to Vegan eating. This was not necessarily for my personal health or beauty, although those are both reasons some people swear by plant-based diets. It's actually because I just want to be kind to animals.

I first started to modify my diet as a pescetarian, which is a vegetarian that eats fish sometimes. I rationalized that fish probably live more of a normal life than most farm animals. They get to swim around with other fish and a fairly normal life, while they grow up to a fair size before that final, fateful last day in the water. I also switched my dogs diet over to a salmon-based dry dog food. They they really liked it.

Over the past few years, I've participated in several massive online open courses that opened my eyes to the plight of dairy cows, chickens and other farm animals (MOOCs, which are sponsored by international universities). Knowledge and facts were what helped me make strong dietary decisions.

Giving up dairy products like cheese, yogurt and ice cream, was really difficult for me. Along with eggs, dairy products are included in the recipes for practically every baked good and comfort food imaginable. Aisles and aisles of most grocery stores are filled with merchandise and foods that don't qualify as animal-friendly. Food shopping is a tough call for vegans.

These days, the only non-vegan food I keep in my kitchen are eggs from pasture-raised chickens, which I mostly get from local farmers at the farmers market who promise me that they treat their chickens good. Aside from these pasture-raised eggs, everything I buy for the kitchen is vegan these days.

My dogs moved over to a similarly vegan diet too, with a combination of dry vegan dog food and recipes from Dr. Pitcairn's book, Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, which is also my go-to guide for basic pet health care and maintenance at home.

The secret behind Dr. Pitcairn's whole food pet nutrition is a home-made supplement powder that's included in the book's recipes. The authors call the supplement a healthy powder, and it includes a variety of different nutritional supplement powders in specific proportions.

According to Compassionate Circle website, pre-measured vegan pet supplements made by their company are designed to go with Dr. Pitcairn's recipes. The website also states that some of the supplement advice has changed since the book's first printing, and that the most recent edition of the book has more vegan and vegetarian recipes than ever. (4th edition, printed in 2017, as of the writing of this blog post)

Compassionate Circle website includes Veggie Pets as their UK-based international re-seller for their vegan pet supplements. Veggie Pets delivers vegan pet food and supplements packages throughout the UK, which will be convenient for my vacation overseas. I'll probably contact the hotel where I booked my room, and see how to address a shipment sent for delivery to me when I get there. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to take dog food off the ship and through customs.

According to Veggie Pets, the UK has quite a few choices in brands for vegan pet food, including Benevo, from Havant in Hampshire. Veggie Pets will also ship V-Dog, which is made in California. I can also order Benevo dog foods through ebay's UK site, if I prefer.

It might be a good idea to let the dogs try out Benevo and V-Dog at home before our vacation. I can add it into their regular food slowly, so I can see how they adjust to the different brands and if they like them both equally.

V-Dog I can easily order from ebay, although it's quite a bit more expensive than the stuff they usually eat. I might have to order Benevo from Veggie Pet. It might have to be shipped from the UK to USA if I want to try it at home.

I might also want to order some vegan snacks ahead of time for me too, and have that sent to my room so the dogs aren't the only ones munching out in the hotel room. It might take a day or so get used to being back on steady, dry land again, after going with the flow of wave motion in the ocean liner for a week. I'm not sure I'll be up to grocery shopping that first day off the ship. If my room has access to a kitchen with a refrigerator, I will definitely want to go shopping later.

Happy Cow is one of the better known websites for free vegan searches. If I want to help support the website, I can help Happy Cow with the expenses by making purchases at their affiliate shop for books and Happy Cow swag. People are encouraged to contact the website with new vegan-friendly restaurants and stores or ones that aren't already included in their database.

According to Happy Cow, Southampton UK is home to Rice Up Wholefoods, a five-star, all-vegan grocery store. Imagine shopping for food, with only animal friendly products on every aisle. This dream vacation is getting better and better.

The Rice Up website also has a page of links, including a global, UK-based company that makes cups and cutlery from plants, and The Art House, a vegan cafe in Southampton that displays affordable artwork by local artists. Why was I thinking of going to London? Southampton seems like a pretty nice place to hang out near the beach with my dogs. Sort of like California, but a little chillier.

To be continued...


A Reviews of Cat & Dog-Friendly Hotel Booking Websites | Spot Cool Stuff: Travel
travel . spotcoolstuff . com/websites/dog-cat/pet-friendly-hotel-booking-engines

Find Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants Near Me - Happy Cow
www . happycow . net

Rice Up Wholefoods Cooperative Ltd
www . riceup . co . uk

www . veggiepets . com