Loving Our Pets: Feeding Them Nature’s Food

We are a family who loves our animals. We have been blessed with wonderful pets who have played a big role in rearing our daughter! Our first experience of raw feeding happened twenty-one years ago with our bullmastiff, Kismet.

For the first two years of her life, Kismet was plagued by health problems. The worst of these was a skin condition which would start as a rash and erupt into raw, open sores. After what felt like endless failed attempts with conventional veterinary treatments (antibiotics, cortisone) we were advised to put our gorgeous girl down and end her suffering. In desperation we searched for a holistic vet.

The problem was simple – food! The new vet told us to get her off pellets and onto real food – as nature intended her to eat. Her life was literally saved by switching her from an extremely expensive kibble/pellet dog food to the raw, real dog food diet. She lived a long, happy, and healthy life.

We became fascinated with this diet, and read everything we could get our hands on. All that we read confirmed our experience that feeding pets natural raw food – returning them to their species-appropriate ancestral diets – made for happier, healthier dogs and cats. More details about the problems of dry dog and cat food and the benefits of switching to raw pet food can be found on the Why We Feed Raw page, and more about the theory behind our food and the BARF and Prey Model diets on our Menu and Recipe Design page.

By the time Kismet left us (at a natural, ripe old age), we were completely convinced. So, when our new puppies came into our lives, we wanted to start off right.

We fed Satchmo, Kaesha, and later Mojo on food which combined raw meaty bones with a little bit of vegetables, fruit, and herbs from the day they came to us. The result was vigorous, playful pups with silky coats, white teeth, clean breath, and fantastic natures.

Seeing this, we switched our cat to raw food. What a change! She had been in our family for so long, and we had put her lethargy down to old age. But within two days, the results were clear.

Flat Cat became playful again, and soon her “inner kitten” was getting up to all sorts of delightful mischief! Her hair-shedding stopped, her eyes became clear, and her coat became shiny and soft.

Sharing Our Delight

We were so excited by the changes in our furry family members that we couldn’t stop telling our friends about it. Many of them asked to try our food for their own pets.

One friend had a dog who suffered from constant diarrhoea. After changing to our raw dog food, she told us that her dog had normal stools for the first time in his life. This was after many vet visits and unsuccessful attempts at treatment. Another friend said that she hadn’t even realised that her dog was depressed – she had thought that his combined lethargy and anxiety were simply a part of his nature. With a change to our raw dog food, she watched him transform into a confident, lively dog.

Of course we continued to see the vet who had changed our lives already. One day, he surprised us by saying “Why don’t you sell your food to other people?” We had no idea how much he was about to change our lives again. With the assurance that he and other experts would be on hand to help us with the continual growth and learning it would take to understand cat and dog nutrition fully enough to do it right, we decided to go for it.

That was way back in 2009. Since then, our recipe range has grown, we have analysed, tested, and legally registered all our foods, and the positive reviews from dogs and cats have not stopped rolling in (their humans seem pretty happy too).

We have been so inspired to see the results. The Feedback From Well-Fed Friends page is a joyful celebration of our clients’ pets and their stories. Dogs and cats with itchy skins have found relief on the raw diet. Pets with kidney problems are seeing vast improvements. Bad dog and cat smells have cleared up. Animals are excited at mealtimes, and generally more content. An added perk for the humans is that pets have fewer, less smelly stools! Even more encouraging – customers report fewer vet visits and lower vet bills.

And The Family Grew…

When we were just feeding our own pets and helping a few friends, it was only our immediate family flying the As Nature Intended banner – Cheryl and Chris, with a young Jess cheerleading in the background. We celebrated when we sold our first 40kgs, and when we realised that there might be a greater demand for our food, we asked Bob to take a chance on us and join the team. We were a tiny start-up with no guarantee of a future, but he said yes. For quite a while it was just Chris and Bob making the food in our own small kitchen, and doing all the deliveries, while Cheryl designed recipes, helped with customers and suppliers, and handled the office side of things.

Bob and his gentle soul is still with us, and we have been so incredibly blessed by all the wonderful staff who, like Bob, said yes, and have joined the As Nature Intended family over the years. Fanny, our marvellously efficient Kitchen Secretary, with a smile that radiates joy, joined after Bob. Then came Chris (now our Production Manager), whose positivity and willingness lights up our lives, and whose brightness and capability make the kitchen a well-steered ship. Mungoni, the “professor”, with his calm yet powerful presence, and Chicco, the serious hard-working joker, came soon after. Our awesome Front of House Manager Chandre joined us and brought love, sanity and an incredible work ethic to the office, and a warm smile for every customer and supplier. Innocent’s dedication and his chuckle helped to boost our hard-working kitchen team. Cathy, one of our oldest and definitely most special friends, brought her armfuls of love, ideas and experience to our front of house team. Sharna then came to share the load in the office and the shop. Her sharp mind, spunky personality, and hunger to learn have meant that we have had the pleasure of watching her bloom. Aubrey has brought his wonderful presence, reliability and love of animals to our collection and delivery service.

It is no exaggeration to say that we could never have done it without them. As much as it has been a joy to see so many pets thrive on our food, it has been an extra special privilege to see our little start-up bloom into a business that supports and is supported by so many wonderful humans and their families. Our staff’s commitment and passion is the heart of As Nature Intended, and our products are truly handmade – from the loving hands that make the food in the kitchen, to the dextrous fingers that type up the emails and the invoices, to the helping hands that pack the food and deliver it gracefully to your home.

You’ve heard a fair amount from the original “Cheryl and Chris” portion of the team, but here is the rest of the family to tell you in their own words what As Nature Intended means to them…

Behind the Scenes (where the magic happens)

Chris, Fanny, Chicco, Bob, Mungoni, and Innocent

 

Chris (front centre) / Fanny (front right)

It’s like we are family. I am happy and very proud to work here at As Nature Intended, because customers like our food and I think we have the best products for pets in Cape Town! I love my wife and son, who live in Malawi and who I support with the work I do here.

I am proud of myself that I’ve been here for so many years, supporting my three kids and helping my family. I enjoy everything [the owner] Chris does for us, especially when he buys lunch!

(Back left to right: Chris, Fanny, Chicco; front left to right: Innocent, Bob)

We all work so nicely together and help each other. I have learned so many things in this team. I also like chatting with the customers and making jokes. I thank everyone in the As Nature Intended family for what they have done for me, which includes all the customers who buy our food.

Bob (chef and philosopher)

Through my work I have met new people and learned new skills. I have a dog, my new baby, and I want to feed him the food we make. I wish everyone at As Nature Intended long life and strength because they work tirelessly, God may bless them and the entire company.

Mungoni (chef)

I love making the foods that dogs and cats enjoy most, and interacting with colleagues and customers. I am a person who likes jokes and I’m full of humour, which I love to share. I would like us to always keep learning and training so we continue to enjoy our work and increase our knowledge.

 

Back from left: Innocent, Fanny, Chicco, Lusu, Chris
Front: Chandre, Sharna, Bob

I enjoy my work because we are all good to each other.

Front of House (where the magic comes to you)

Chandre, Aubrey , Sharna, Cathy, Cheryl and Chris

Chandre

I love that every day is different. I’m proud to be part of a company that helps so many animals. We have lots of love, laughter, learning, creating. Shout out to ‘Bossman’ and ‘Bosslady’ – thank you for always encouraging, respecting, teaching, and understanding us.

Aubrey (the driver with the biggest smile)

My favourite part of the job is seeing dogs every day. Being part of this team means a lot that can’t be explained – they are all awesome people.

(From left: Cathy, Sharna, Chris)

It has always been a dream for me to work with animals. My As Nature Intended Team gave me that opportunity. So ‘Boss Man’ and ‘Boss Lady’ – thank you for creating a space where I don’t wake up in the morning thinking ‘do I really have to go to work?’

My favourite part of the job is meeting fellow animal lovers. I just love being part of a team that is passionate about what they do

Lending a Paw: Some of our Outreach Initiatives

For years we have loved finding ways to support organisations that help animals. We make regular food donations to organisations like Raise ‘n Rescue, Pit Pals, Foster Love, Valhalla Park Animal Welfare, and others (we give our own baseline donations, and in addition we will match any donation that a customer adds to the pile, kilo for kilo). We have had huge fun with our Blanket Drives and Toy, Leash, and Treat Drives, as well as other collections spearheaded by Chandre, Cathy and Sharna, with magnificent support by our customers.

In a country with so much need, it has long been a dream of Cheryl’s to find ways that our lucky, well-fed pets can also help people – and the people can keep helping the pets – and so we can create a circle of Pets Supporting People Supporting Pets.

One of these projects is in full swing – our pets and yours can now help children, and the environment too! We ask our customers to wash and return the plastic bags from their food, which we collect and turn into Eco-Bricks. We then donate these Eco-Bricks to the wonderful Eco-Brick Exchange, who use them to build facilities for preschools in underprivileged communities – from playground structures that the kids themselves can help build, to benches, to raised plant beds. We have had amazing responses from our customers so far, and everyone feels good about upcycling what would otherwise be wasted unrecyclable plastic, while also sharing a little of the joy our pets bring to us.

Many thanks to Chris and your amazing team for the lovely donation of raw dog food. Many of the rehabilitated canines, “our four legged friends”, have suffered from abuse and neglect, and your healthy ready-mixed raw meals will definitely give them all the nutrition they need to restore their health. We were also so impressed with the neatness and appearance of your pet store. We are truly blessed to be supported by such kind hearted people like you.

- War Cape

Can’t say enough good things about this place and their service. I first encountered them whilst treating my dog with late stage liver cancer and the diet change helped immensely. Since then, all my animals are on raw and are healthier than ever! Coming into the shop is like visiting family, with genuine interest and care for my pets and myself. I am a true and happy advocate for this company. The health of the animals they provide for is obvious

- Therese

My dog struggled with terrible skin conditions only a visit to the vet could treat, it was painful for him and costly for us! But within a week of transitioning him to this raw food diet, his skin conditions have disappeared. It has been almost 6 months now without a single flare up!

- Tamarind

I have been ordering from them for 2 years now, and the quality of the food for my cats and dogs are very good. I am still very happy with them. My pets are happy, skin allergy free, and non-smelly pooh, compared to other raw meat brands. Thanks for being passionate about your work, and we can benefit from this

- Karen

Wonderful people ! fantastic service and product ! Been with them 5 years now and have never let me down!

- Tracey

The best raw food supplier in South Africa…! Used them for years!!! Wish we could get a similar quality product here in USA in our area.

- Snowdrift Siberians (Natalie)

Good business to deal with. They are in it for the love of animals and you can see the owner Chris and his wife are passionate about what they do. Good quality raw food for dogs and cats and they also offer a delivery service which we don’t use as we don’t stay too far. Always happy to offer advice and make recommendations for animal health professionals. Also open on Saturdays until 12pm which is convenient. Highly recommended.

- Blake

This is without doubt the way to go when feeding your pets. Good wholesome health food, just as nature intended!

- Patrick

Their products have improved the health of our two aging Daschunds remarkably, in fact they have a new lease on life. The staff are always friendly and efficient

- Bruce

Oscar had itchy, flaky skin full of scabs. His face was swollen, he was losing hair, and he was scratching himself raw. He is about six months old now and seems to have inherited sarcoptic mange and also has a very diffficult immune system. He is allergic to everything. Since being on the ‘Give a Dog a Bone’ raw chicken mince, combined with treatments, he has transformed from a frustrated itchy puppy to a playful, relaxed and very shiny dog. His skin condition is great. His interaction with us is different too. He’s more obedient, affectionate and alert

- Ondria