Celebrating Heroes in the Animal Rights Movement

An Olympic Sized Heart

An overnight success is typically a 10-20 year endeavor.
Olympic Medalist and Switch4Good founder Dotsie Bausch is no exception.

Like most, Dotsie grew up having love and respect for the animals society had deemed worthy of human compassion.

Surrounded by many animals at a young age, she valued and revered the lives of all her non-human friends. Dotsie was a sensitive child who internalized everything around her. As a young empath, her ability to recognize the plight of other beings was a blessing as well as a curse.

Just a Fish, right?

“I woke up one morning to find my Beta fish on the ground. I then realized I had accidentally left the aquarium cover open,” Dotsie confessed.

While most of us would have grieved the loss of our little friend, at seven years old Dotsie was plagued with guilt and the torture she imagined her fish must have endured before he passed at her hand. “I couldn’t help but focus on how horrible it must have felt to die from suffocation,” she said.

A simple childhood mistake, she carries this experience with her to this day, a constant reminder of how precious ALL life is, worthy of respect and compassion. 

By the age of eight, Dotsie was an avid equestrian. As she recalls her childhood, defined by bittersweet memories, she remembers her best friend and show horse, Dreamer.

“Dreamer and I were soulmates,” says Dotsie. “When she was sadly ripped away from me, the pain and anguish were crushing.” It was necessary for an upgrade, her trainer explained. Although her blue ribbons and drive to excel as a young equestrian were  apparent, her relationship with Dreamer proved to be more profound, and so the separation was devastating. This would inevitably prepare Dotsie for her extraordinary future, filled with both painful setbacks as well as game-changing victories.

Sadly, as a coping mechanism, the devastating experience of losing Dreamer propelled Dotsie into a state of detachment, a defensive survival technique which conditions the ego to take over in order to protect the conscious mind. 

Dotsie would spend the next 25 years repairing the heartbreak. Her healing journey back to love, vulnerability and palpableness is one that we can all relate to.

A New Found Freedom

As a young adult, Dotsie’s
attempt to overcome these obstacles led to a surprising affinity for bike riding. Not only did she love it, she excelled at it. With competition in her blood and a much needed break from the isolation she had created for herself, bike riding provided the freedom and fulfillment she was craving. 

In her 20’s, already in love with competition and the thrill of speed and winning, she set her sights on professional cycling competitions. 

“Cycling found me, and I fell in love with it very quickly.”

And cycling was something Dotise was obviously very good at. Setting a world record, winning eight national championships and two Pan American gold medals, her life had opened up in ways she could never have imagined. 

At 36, Dotsie was competing in a state race in Minnesota, and while surfing the net, she came across a horrible video which included very graphic animal abuse content. She woke up the next morning fixated on what she had seen the night before, comforting herself with the notion that this couldn’t possibly occur in the United States. 

It wasn’t until she made her way down the rabbit hole to educate herself with the truth and learned this was a global issue. As an athlete, your diet needs to be more protein dense, and Dotise discovered that plant protein is a cleaner and more efficient fuel source. She immediately started to wean herself off of animal products. 

Despite initial negative opinions from her fellow athletes, Dotsie credits dropping dairy at age 37 and becoming a full vegan for her continued victories. She had not only squashed her competition but also the doubts of her peers.

“I am following my soul and my moral compass. I don’t think it’s going to let me down.”

Her ability to recover in between her extraordinary workouts and her athletic performance had drastically improved even beyond her existing success. She had more excitement and energy than ever before. The food-sourced inflammation was gone and her strength increased. 

Although Dotsie does acknowledge this may be a coincidence, “wink,” it happened through plants. 

In 2012 at the London Olympic Games, her philosophy and efforts produced a silver medal, making her the oldest athlete in Olympic track cycling history ever to do so.

By just refusing to take part in what goes on in our food system her life was literally transformed in every way possible.

1000 Watts of Compassion

From 2012 -2019 Dotsie ran a very successful sports technology company, helping
medical tech companies break into the consumer space with products like Fitbit and the first digital watch with the ability to look into our body and measure the effects of sleep, oxygen saturation, heart rate and more.

After volunteering for Mercy for Animals as an animal activist, she knew in her soul this was her life’s mission. She left the animal rights event with six t-shirts and a new focus. 

Then in 2019, Dotsie founded Switch4Good, the world’s only athlete-driven organization dedicated to helping people ditch dairy. Switch4Good is an evidence-based nonprofit  advocating passionately for a dairy-free world.

Through videos and resources, a riveting podcast, food guides, recipes, and research-based education, Switch4Good is a robust online destination for visitors to learn all the reasons why dairy truly is scary. From the profit-driven and manipulative tactics to the acute animal abuse, the dairy industry needs to go

Switch4Good aims to set the record straight. Through the compassion and talents of health experts, professional athletes, social justice warriors and others, Switch4Good uses its collective power to spread as much awareness as it can, and it doesn’t end there.

As an Olympian, Dotsie uses her celebrity to spread awareness in every way possible. In 2018 she starred in James Cameron’s The Game Changers, she conducts TED Talks, and she eloquently speaks on behalf of the American people before Congress, strongly encouraging them to change the dietary guidelines in the United States. 

A Force of One

During the winter of 2018, Dotsie witnessed a dairy commercial during the Olympics games. It involved a manipulative heartstring story of a girl who is worried about her athletic performance. While being consoled by her mother’s encouraging words, a caption is flashed on screen explaining how milk provides premium protein and balanced nutrition. 

“WTF,” said Dotsie, “Game on!” This commercial really pushed her buttons. She was motivated to produce a PSA to combat the manipulation of that spot. 

While at Sundance during the release of Game Changers, she called her Olympian friends and immediately scheduled a production meeting. With just six weeks to shoot the commercial, Dotsie and her team went to work.

The Ad featured six Olympians from four countries. Paid for and set to air in six major cities during the Olympics’ closing ceremonies including Washington DC, New York City, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, the commercial was eventually pulled by the dairy industry.

In hindsight, those industry leaders that are aware of Dotsie’s dedication to ending the dairy industry are probably kicking themselves, as their actions are what really lit her fire.  If you’re going to try to silence someone, you’d want to avoid an Olympic-level athlete, especially Dotsie Bausch.

Following this, In 2019, VegNews named Dotsie one of the top 20 most influential vegans in the world. 

The work Dotsie does is significant both in quantity and quality. She has a deep understanding of how embedded we are as a culture in the many lies perpetrated by big corporations and our government.

As an insider, Dotsie speaks about the dairy industry being the title sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team for the past 10 years, not a well known fact, but true.

“Dairy is heavily peddled to professional athletes – in the cafeterias, recovery bars and at all the Olympic events.”

Although she is sickened by this, she is hopeful about the changes now occurring.

She acknowledges incremental changes in government, “When each member of Congress, one by one, signs ‘yes’ to alternative milks, we appreciate their courage,” says Dotsie. “We want to see these changes even though dairy still has a huge monopoly on the system.” 

In the last eight months Dotsie and her organization have made huge strides for almost 50,000,000 children. Since 1 in 3 children are, in fact, lactose intolerant, this is a tremendous accomplishment.

Over the last couple of years, Switch4Good has expanded, working with governmental policy change and what Dotsie calls corporate takeovers; For example, working with brands like Starbucks to drop their alternative milk upcharges.

Recently Dotsie has also launched a new pediatrician program, working with 6,500 pediatricians focused on alternatives for children across the U.S.

Another major initiative is her plant-based playbook, What Plants are Good For, created for the International Olympic Committee. This playbook will shortly be distributed to all of the 206 Olympic committees, reaching thousands of professional athletes worldwide. 

Meticulously researched and written by MDs as well as PhDs and available in four languages, the book will soon be available to the general public. Dotsie and her Switch4Good team have big plans for this project, please stay tuned.

Another exciting Switch4Good announcement is Project Adapt, Switch4Good’s partnership with Plantrition Project. This conference is set in Orlando, Florida for November 2022, and focuses on eating, moving, thinking, regenerating, and technology, imbued with the ancient Greek ideal of areté—excellence bound by purpose. 

Advice from a World Class Athlete

Clearly a vegan lifestyle is an optimum choice for anyone interested in health and well being. It improves your bone density, decreases food-induced inflammation and drastically lowers your chances of chronic disease.

Search for the truth! There is a ton of resources and data that showcase the truth about coronary health, heart disease and other implications of a non-vegan diet. 

Why Ditch Dairy, available on the Switch4Good site, is a great resource. It includes over 80 fantastic and easily digestible studies. 

The dairy industry is entirely more horrifying and egregious than other aspects of industrial agriculture. 

“It’s a SciFi movie to me. I can’t believe it’s real. If we were on another planet and someone told us about dairy, we would think they were insane.”

To new activists: “Pull up your boot straps, stay convicted and stop watching videos about animal abuse. Most of us are empaths. It’s very difficult to separate from that. So many of us torture ourselves. We need to stay strong and active.”

Dotsie hasn’t watched animal abuse movies in over five years. She reminds us, pigs are not sitting around keeping track of the movies we watch. We need to take action and not paralyze ourselves. We know what happens and we don’t need to see it over and over again.

We can all fight harder when we are not fatigued by tortured images.

Stay strong and follow your heart!

Please follow Dotsie on Facebook and Instagram

Follow Switch4Good on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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Celebrating Heroes in the Animal Rights Movement (CHARM) is a micro-program of Farm Animal Rights Movement FARM.
Do you know an ethical vegan who practices an abolitionist approach to animal exploitation, still active in the movement, has an interesting story to tell and is an unsung hero to animals and their vegan community?  We would like to hear about them.
 Suggest a candidate for a future CHARM feature below.

4 thoughts on “An Olympic Sized Heart”

  1. Excellent and inspiring article, what a life of compassion and self-discovery! Thank you !
    All the animals thank you.

    1. Lisa de Crescente

      Thank you, Susan. Dotsie is truly one-of-a-kind. We are so lucky to have her as a member of the AR movement.
      We appreciate your recognition and thank you for your continued support.
      If you know anyone you believe would be a great subject for our CHARM feature please don’t hesitate to recommend them.
      All the best!

  2. Lisa de Crescente

    Thank you Eve for your comment. We appreciate our readers and hope we are providing them with inspiring and educational content. Congratulations on becoming vegan. It is truly the optimal lifestyle choice for the animals, us and our planet.
    Thank you for your continued support. All the best!

  3. Good on you, Dotsie! I gave up dairy about 5 yrs. ago and found out I am lactose intolerant in the process. It only took me 60 yrs. to find out. It was the last animal product I stopped eating because I thought I would miss it, but I don’t. I hope you are pushing into the schools. So much harder to change adult habits. Thanks for your hard work.

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