I get asked all the time 'how did you end up in the animal nutrition industry?' Well, as with any small businesses involved with animals there's a story behind the crazy path I am following!
I'll never forget the speech my Dad gave at my 21st birthday. He said one of my greatest strengths and greatest weakness was my love of animals and my desire to rescue all the sad and broken ones. My whole life has lead me here in hindsight!
I have always been involved within the dog showing world (my parents showed Cairn Terriers and I began showing my own dogs at 10 years of age). My adult life has been spent fostering abandoned dogs (and cats and birds and turtles and possums and whatever else fell out of a tree and into my lap lol) and rehoming them. I always wanted to become a vet but did not follow that path because my parents knew I would take each and every one of my patients home if I could, and it would break me if (and when) my skills couldn't save one of them. They were right! Instead I volunteered at RSPCA as a Vet Nurse Assistant for some time where I learnt how correct they were!
My dream is simple - to give every dog the opportunity to live their best healthy lives. You are what you eat and the same goes for your pooch! Our ex-puppy farm girl Chica came to us as a sickly little pup nearly 8 years ago. After trying every type of food on the market she still was not a happy girl, vomiting, diarrhoea & lethargy were a common occurrence. After a year we finally we had a diagnosis; acute Pancreatitis - a condition that was slowly killing her. After months of research, I finally designed a diet that met all her needs & allowed her the good health she deserved.
This is was the day chica+co was born.
Little Baeya came to us at 8 weeks from a reputable breeder. At 10 weeks of age she dislocated her hip & front shoulder playing. Scans showed she had been born with severe skeletal deformities - the vet’s prognosis was dire - a full hip replacement at 12 months & an ongoing medical plan to keep her pain free as possible as osteoarthritis was predicted at a very young age. Her ear canals are malformed and prone to blocking causing chronic balance issues. My little drunken sailor! She has hyper-mobility in all of her joints, is able to bend her neck right back to touch her back which is just plain creepy - hence her knick name of Monkey or Monks! We set about treating her with all the medicinal foods we could research & find. She is the reason for so many of chica+co’s products in our range - joint mobility, reduction of inflammation, & pain-easing ingredients. My Vet and I designed and built a full body brace that locked her in place. She wore a human newborn nappy with a tail hole cut out as the basis of the brace, and wore it for 23 out of 24 hours a day for the first six months of her life. I became very adapt at washing her bum!
So, basically we bonsai'd her little skeleton to make sure her sockets did not slip and slide.
We are so very happy to say now at 6 years of age, little Monks is pain-free, energetic & every bit the naughty monkey. She may run like Beyoncé dances, (bootylicious!), but she is living happily & most importantly pain-free.
So this is why I love making premium, tasty and most importantly healthy dog food! I bonsai'd my dog!