Ours is a story where sometimes an act of compassion brings in turn a rock in life, whose love, loyalty and guardianship has been absolute.
We found and rescued an emaciated street dog from the steps of La Conca del Sogno, south of Naples during our honeymoon in May 2004, cancelling what was left of our holiday as our hotel did not accept dogs.
From that moment, we set out on our life journey as a family together with The Rockster, whose name came from “Rock” from Rocky Agusta (who was with us that fateful day) and “ster” from Monster (Sven’s nickname), taking him everywhere we went as our real life honeymoon baby. Our children would be entertained night after night with stories about their beloved dog’s journey from the back streets of Naples to finding us, and his hilarious adventures in the South of France, Salzburg, Munich, Como, Paris, London and of course St Moritz.
The truth is, our incredible and wonderful mutt from Napoli has rescued us back in so many incalculable ways - we owe him both our family and our marriage. He became the rock that has seen us through the ups and downs of life, always there with his paw whenever we needed a hand. Our Rockster in every way.After years on the very special food we created for him, miraculously The Rockster became a father to the Pawsome Pupsters: Rockster Jr (RJ), Heartster, Trickster and Dracster. RJ Officially belongs to our daughter Clemmie and Heartster belongs to our son, Balthazar, whilst treasured friends have their siblings.
Many years later we discovered that the Patron Saint of Dogs is called St Rock and the beach shack where we found The Rockster is literally translated as “The Home of Dreams”.
From the outset we could never understand why The Rockster never wanted to eat commercial pet foods, choosing to eat our leftovers and in hindsight most of his lone adventures resulted in us finding him in restaurants. It was not until 2013 when an expert explained that as a genuine street dog, he was genetically wired to avoid anything that could be harmful. 'You’ll never see a genuine street dog eating chocolate' he explained.
It was then that we learnt about what really happens in the pet food industry and what was in even the “natural” or “proper” foods we’d tried in vain to entice him with over the years. We felt deeply deceived and guilty that we had unwittingly tried to force him to go against his natural instincts of self-preservation. Life without The Rockster was inconceivable so we left no stone unturned to try and undo some of the damage we had unwittingly done over the years.
We set about creating a food for him with a team of expert nutritionists using some of Zoe’s late Godfather’s theories on immunological responses to dysbiosis in the gut – John truly believed allergies were created not inherited and there was no such thing as a food intolerance (Sir John Vane, Nobel Laureate for Medicine 1982). A food that he would finally enjoy eating, nurture his gut microbiome and in the spirit of “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food” might be able to extend his life. Harnessing nutritional science and nature to create the world’s first superfood for our dog. But there were two caveats – we did not want recipes to prepare at home (I am literally the world’s worst cook) and being city-dwellers, we only had a small freezer so it had to be capable of being stored at room temperature. We targeted the prevention of cancer and everything that we had seen deteriorate in The Rockster’s health over the 10 years since we rescued him. Importantly, every ingredient had to be fully traceable and the best human-grade quality money could buy and completely free from any exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones or steroids.
The eureka moment when The Rockster ravenously ate like he’s never eaten before became sheer amazement when he transformed from an old dog to acting like a sprightly youngster. The large unmarked cans came in pallets, so we started giving it to friends to try – amazingly their dogs were having the same reaction culminating in one dog’s kidney failure being reversed. We eventually had people knock on our door asking if their dog could try our dog’s “miracle food” too.
The decision to make his special food available for other dogs was one that has brought us as a family many challenges and we were equally determined to leave no stone unturned to right every wrong we’d witnessed. Our children helped us design the logo and the picture on the cans had been drawn in 2006 by Sophie de Carvalho, a family friend. Every % of the content is stated and the food is certified by some of the most stringent organic regulations in the world. We truly believe loving pet owners have the absolute right to know exactly what they are feeding their pet and which part of the animal is being used. It has been extraordinary and deeply moving to hear of the transformational effect Rockster had on dogs of all ages and sizes, even with just a spoonful a day. This feedback means so much to us.
Our family’s commitment to innovation and helping dogs live longer, healthier lives is absolute and we hope that our unprecedented transparency is a step in encouraging 100% ingredient transparency in the pet food industry and increasing awareness amongst pet owners of the vital role of the gut microbiome in a dog’s health too. We also look forward to bringing more Rockster life-enhancing products to dogs in both Europe & America, and are so excited about the new Super Treats!
That our magical street dog may even have entered his third decade, with puppies born only two years ago, is testimony of how it really is possible to enhance your dog’s life using food with his apparently reaching parts others don’t reach!
We are also deeply committed to helping rescue dogs not as fortunate as The Rockster and if The Rockster Story can teach us all one thing, it’s that sometimes, just sometimes, a single act of love can not only change your life but be your salvation.
And in life it does not matter where you have been, it matters where you are going. Even a humble street dog can ROCK the world…we truly hope he will yours.
The Rockster’s Journey from the back street of Naples to London took 7 years.
Each recipe is named after a place he rocked on the way...