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Famous Vegetarians

Think Vegetarianism is just a passing fad? Think again! There are hundreds of famous vegetarians of the present and the past. Here's some very interesting insights into the world of vegetarian celebrities.

Patrick McDonnell

Patrick McDonnell’s parents met in art school. Surrounded by art and developing an early love of comic strips, it’s no wonder that he proceeded to create some very successful comic strips, including the nationally syndicated strip, Mutts.

In his youth, McDonnell found special inspiration in comic strips featuring animal stars-- Pogo, Krazy Kat and Snoopy among his favorites.

McDonnell received a Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York.  Upon graduation, he played drums in punk band The Steel Tips and he also found work illustrating The Russell Baker Column in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

The Tips broke up and McDonnell continued working for the Sunday Magazine for 15 years.  During that time, he also created the Bad Baby comic strip for Parents magazine and illustrated the Scorecard section of Sports Illustrated Magazine.

Even before beginning the Mutts comic strip in 1994, McDonnell was drawing a little, white dog that looked alot like a Jack Russell Terrier. Those drawings evolved into Earl, the main pooch in Mutts.  Mutts follows the joyful existence of a white dog named Earl and a black cat named Mooch in a world including their guardians, birds, squirrels and other neighborhood pets including Guard Dog, who is always tethered to a post.

Like Charles Schultz’ Peanuts, the characters of Mutts have keen eyes on the world but express themselves with a soft heart.  Peanuts shares with us the worldview belonging to a community of children;  Mutts suggests that we consider the viewpoints of those ostensibly voiceless fellow-creatures among us.. Charles Schulz remarked upon the success of Mutts:

"To me, Mutts is exactly what a comic strip should be. It is always fun to look at, and the two main characters are wonderfully innocent. Patrick has created a little world that exists within itself. Everyone in Mutts , from the little pet fish to the butcher behind his counter, is funny. Earl, of course, holds it all together and, as always, it is the way he is drawn that makes him so good. It's hard to believe that after 100 years of comics, Patrick could come up with a new and perfect little dog. I like everything about Mutts ." 

In addition to Mutts , Patrick McDonnell has authored several children’s books including Wag!, and Hug Time and recent title, Guardians of Being, pairs McDonnell’s illustrations with Eckhart Tolle’s thought-provoking sentiments. Inspired by Tolle’s “deep truths” and lucid conveyance of  “nature teaching stillness,” McDonnell finds that dogs and cats often teach these same truths.

Undoubtedly, McDonnell’s love of animals is what led to him to become a vegetarian over 20 years ago. While he had periods of vegetarianism starting in high school, he and his wife, Karen, together made the commitment early in their marriage. At first, they decided to eat meat-free once a week.   Realizing this was pretty easy, they eventually asked themselves, “why bother eating meat at all?” They redoubled their commitment and never looked back.  Both comment that eating meat-free is easier now than ever. Prepared foods such as Amy’s make it especially easy. McDonnell said we could quote him when he said, “Companies like Amy’s are changing the world!”

In addition to Mutts and his book projects, McDonnell serves on the Board of Directors of the Charles Schulz Museum here in Santa Rosa, California and he also sits on the Board of The Humane Society of the United States. In fact, he began his acclaimed Shelter Stories series as part of Animal Shelter Appreciation week.  McDonnell produces these strips annually and the Humane Society credits them as having a measurable impact on the public’s increasing decisions to adopt shelter animals.

Patrick McDonnell, his wife, Karen, their cats, MeeMow and Not Udi, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Amelie, live in New Jersey.

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