We are the Vegan4Dogs team
End of 2012 – That’s when it all started
You ever heard of that? Sometimes there are moments that change everything. In our case it was the moment we met Eddie. Black Labrador Shepherd mix from the Berlin shelter, with drooping ears and sad eyes. At the age of one year, already twice abandoned and with little trust in humans.
Matthias thought: Yo, there’s someone, we can take care of. And he changed our life completely. Running around outside, chilling at home, sometimes jumping into the cold water, often pushing through his own stubbornness, being curious, never missing out on an adventure.
But that was by no means all, now it was really just getting started.
Food – What to eat? Home cooking?
When people are vegan, they already think about how this will work out with the new family member. Especially when he is also diagnosed with leishmaniasis. It seemed really bad. What to do? Cook for ourselves and for our four-legged friend! Leni read everything that was available on the internet in 2012/13. Then came the professional literature by Prof. Dr. Zentek “Ernährung des Hundes” (Nutrition of the Dog), which is still her bible for dog nutrition. Then we realised: Holy moly, there just isn’t any food out there that satisfies Eddie and us. Nor is there an available dietary supplement to complete a vegan dog’s meal.
Why a company?
It’s all Mama’s fault – As one of the first Ecolettes in Spandau in the 80s, Leni’s Mama was a member of a self-organised organic FoodCoop. Of course it was about sustainability, delicious unprocessed food and discovering what you can do with spices. So Leni already picked up this soft spot from her mother’s milk. Cooking has always been her passion.
Matthias was lucky to have his mum, who gave him a sense of adventure, McGyvern, imagination and enthusiasm. With his entrepreneurial experience, Leni’s passion for detail and her skills in scientific work, it was clear: Vegan4Dogs was going to kick off. In the beginning, from our own living room, with a second job at Kaisers at the register – then in our own office, packing parcels ourselves, and finally outsourcing logistics, so that valuable time is freed up for other tasks in the company.
And where did the money come from?
Independence is a valuable asset for us. That’s why we started with our own savings and then organised friendly support from KFW and our families. We also choose our partners with an open heart: there are companies that do not fit our needs in terms of size alone. So, hands off. We will continue to make our own decisions and push our family-run company forward independently.
How did we develop our products?
To ensure home-cooked menus with all the nutrients, we developed our V-Complete food supplement in 2014 and decided it was time to pioneer vegan dog nutrition. For us, this means in particular showing how you can cook tasty vegan food for your dog.
Since we don’t always have time to cook ourselves, we needed a tasty alternative for a quick meal. So with a lot of love and patience we developed our complete food Greta, again in collaboration with experts in animal nutrition. This was again an exciting process – sometimes also a test of patience – with a lot of trial and error until the food met our requirements and was also well received by our taster crew, Eddie and Vriends.
In 2020, we then introduced our wet food Pauline as the new member of our family. For her it took 2 years of development until it all fit. Because we – Matthias, Leni & the taster crew – have high standards!
Patchwork Family works
As a modern patchwork family, we, Leni & Matthias, are bound by friendship and yet no longer a couple. But working together and sharing the dog often go very well. And sometimes it does crash. Doesn’t matter. Thunderstorm strategy, but also the understanding for each other that we are allowed to be like this. Deep trust, the ability and honesty to wish each other the best. Knowing each other’s quirks and faults without blaming them on each other and developing strengths together that one would never have alone.
How do we envision the world?
A green belt across our planet. Clear paths for animals from Portugal to Siberia. For bisons, wild horses and all other animals. Highways and trunk roads are being shut down because of other cool transport systems. The oceans are given complete peace of mind. We as part of the whole, not detached from our spaceship Earth. It’s all connected. A deep understanding of nature and living beings and the responsibility for everything.
Leni, Matthias & Eddie