Our Tale

You have no idea how happy it makes me that you were curious enough to visit this page! Even if I don’t know you are actually here right now 😊

I am Glendon, co-founder of Bonza with Catherine my partner in life of 25 years, mother to our children Eddie, Ben and Lucy, our 2 dogs Ruby and Poppy and Rosie the Cat.  My excitement isn’t so much that you wanted to read the story of the why’s and wherefore’ s of Bonza but that I get to tell it from my heart and in my own words.

You see I initially wrote the copy for our website – all of it. I thought it was honest, transparent, and above all else, informative and educational for anyone on the voyage of discovery that is plant-based food for your dog (or so I hoped!).  I asked a number of confidantes - friends, family, marketers - for their critiques. Most (not all thankfully!) thought it lacked the warmth, gentleness, engagement and persuasion necessary to convince others they should give our food a go – too dry, too shove it down your throat 😒.

Because we made the decision to bring Bonza to the world for what we considered a very important purpose – your dog’s health and the planet’s – every extra pet parent who heard about, and tried, our food would help us to deliver on that mission. If the power of my written word was so abject, the failure of achieving that purpose would rest squarely on my shoulders.  

So, we decided to work with a writer, who was naturally warm, gentle and empathetic, to imagine our copy and to help us achieve our goal.  But it never felt like ‘our’ voice, never really represented why we believed so passionately in what Bonza is and does.  Pawfect, pawtential, pawpose and pawrent aren’t us – but we are empathetic (our children think so) and we do have a sense of humour hiding somewhere, really!

If by now you’ve lost the will, you’re forgiven!

What follows is the story of Bonza as written by me 😊

22nd April 2022

Have you ever experienced a year that quite literally changed your life?  Well, 2018 was that year for Catherine and me.

It began in late 2015. The asset management company I was raising funds for were launching a renewable energy fund and as part of my research I read a report by Mercer on the environmental impact of global warming reaching post-industrial levels of +2°C, +3°C and +4°C.  I had always been vaguely conscious of global warming and climate change but had parked it in that part of my brain set aside for ‘another day’. 

But the more I read, the more alarmed I became, so the more I read.  I felt proud that the work I was doing to promote investment in renewable energy would contribute to a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and a cleaner, healthier planet.

Somehow it didn’t seem enough.

Fast forward to 27th April 2018, the day Catherine was diagnosed with breast cancer.  

My alarm instantly pivoted from climate change to Catherine’s health and what we could do to best to rid her of this pernicious disease and to support her recovery. You guessed it I read and the more I read …..!  As lifelong carnivores it wasn’t the easiest decision ever made, but shortly after that momentous day we decided to ditch meat from our diets, for health and environmental reasons. 

Then on September 19th Poppy, ‘illegitimate’ daughter of Ruby, our elder family dog, was also diagnosed with cancer. Two large tumours on diametrically opposed flanks – front left, hind right. The cancers were removed but given the positioning we feared she may be cancer-riddled 😢

Searching for solutions ….. meant more reading! My head was now filled with a crazy mix of encyclopaedic knowledge on the causes of climate change and cancers, and solutions for both.

There had to be a better way!

I learned, like us, our dogs don’t need meat to thrive, in fact quite the opposite, it can be very damaging. I also learned that there are a number of powerful herbs whose phytocompounds have clinically proven chemoprotective effects on cancers and tumours, in humans and animals.  So, we added turmeric, ginger, reishi mushroom and ashwagandha supplements to our ‘eat the rainbow’ diets and to Poppy and Ruby’s.

Those six months, and all that reading about climate change, human and dog health took me down an almighty rabbit hole.  A research piece by Gregory Okin, a professor at UCLA, on the amount of meat our pets were consuming (if they formed a nation state, they would be the fifth largest consumers of meat on the planet!!) spurned an embryonic concept in me – would our dogs, and the planet, be healthier if they also ate less meat?

I consumed information voraciously for months on end – anything and everything I could read about the environment and the effects of livestock and agricultural production on it.  I researched the most environmentally friendly crops, investigated dogs and their nutritional requirements, their allergies, the most common diseases, infections and health conditions, traditional medicines, herbal medicines and supplements for dogs.  I spoke with vets, human and canine nutritionists, professors of nutrition and environmental sciences, agronomists, dog food manufacturers – who all graciously (and generously) allowed me to hijack their immense knowledge.

As it turned out, there was a better way. The glorious result of three years down that rabbit hole – Bonza.

Our wish? To inspire an everyday healthier life for our dogs and the planet.

Our hope? To leave a world to our children and grandchildren in a healthier place than it is today.

I am sure, like me, you have many questions about plant-based food for dogs. My hope is that you will find all the answers you need on our site. If not Catherine and I are only ever a whistle away.

We are incredibly proud of Bonza vegan dog food and hope you join us in fulfilling our purpose. Healthier Dogs. Healthier Planet.

Our confidantes were undoubtedly right in their critique of my copy, but I couldn’t be happier to have been able to tell our story in my own way!  If you’ve made it this far a very big thank you for your perseverance!

P.S. Fours years on and Catherine and Poppy are both healthy and thriving ❤

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