Dog Hotel • Barf Manufactory • Dog Boutique
Roberto Mantovani (CEO/General Manager)
As the son of a very temperamental Italian mother from Rome, and a rather conservative father from Switzerland, I spent my youth in Erlenbach, on the "Gold Coast" of Lake Zurich. At the tender age of about six, I find out completely by accident that my biological father was, in fact, an American military officer who had been stationed in Aschaffenburg, Germany, and had been sent back to the US shortly before I was born and I had never heard anything from him. Just recently, I was able to locate him and his family in Florida (USA). However, he had unfortunately passed away before we could meet. He took the secret of his Italian love affair to the grave, because no one from his family in the US (two marriages and two children) knew anything about my mother or me.
In my wild adolescence I was full of energy and creative drive and interested in all social, political, and otherwise interesting subject matter. The turbulent years at the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s, which were characterized by "Sex, Drugs and Rock‚n Roll", I naturally, like many others from my generation, experienced close up.
Professionally I have tried all sorts of things, though football (soccer) has always been my passion. Unfortunately as a cigarette-smoking midfielder for FC Küsnacht, the wind went quickly out of my sails, or lungs as it were, sending my dream of becoming the next Pelé literally up in smoke. As for my other weakness, music, I missed superstardom by far due to the voice requirement. However, the relationships and experiences of my adolescent years did lead me to drug rehabilitation work, which ultimately led me to leading a drug-rehabilitation halfway house of the Canton of Zurich. After that I attended the AKAD (College for Adults) and was determined to pursue studies in medicine and psychiatry, with the intention of specializing in psychotherapy for addicts.
However, due to fateful circumstances and the not inconsequential fact that I could not stand the sight of blood without soon fainting, my enrollment in medicine was simply not meant to be. In 1986, thanks to my girlfriend at the time, Jacqueline Rittiner, who had completed studies in ballet, I found myself as owner of a ballet boutique in Zurich. With great commitment and lots of hard work, I led Dance-In well beyond the borders of Switzerland. The highlights of those years included an exclusive cooperation with the Béjart Ballet, the very creative cooperation for costumes with the late designer, Gianni Versace, and clientele including many other national and internationally renowned opera houses and ballet companies, like for example the cooperation with the Ballet de Monte Carlo.
In 1995, I launched in addition the wholesaling of sportswear, lingerie, swimwear and legwear, with the newly-founded company, Fashion-look, with showrooms in Zurich and Munich. We distributed among others, brands including Danskin Sportswear, Dance France Fitness Wear, Donna Karan and DKNY Intimates, Ritchie Swimwear, Gottex Swimwear, Givenchy and Donna Karan Hosiery. The very lucrative clientele consisted of the biggest names in department stores, lingerie and sports chains, as well as many retail stores in the sports, fitness and lingerie sectors in Switzerland and Germany.
Following my divorce in 2006 from my first wife, Jacqueline, I claimed solely the swimwear division, and opened an exclusive swimwear shop in Zurich. I met Petra in 2008, who supported me in the boutique with great energy and commitment. In 2009, my girlfriend, Petra, her daughter Sonu and I moved in together as a new patchwork family. As a result of the economic crisis beginning in 2008, which hit my supplier in Miami very hard, I sold the boutique in 2011. This paved the way for Petra and me to start the dog care business - the fulfillment of a long-time dream. In the same year Petra and I got married.
Upon opening in 2011, Doggy-Care was one of the most innovative and modern dog daycare and boarding services in Switzerland and has set new standards in the industry thanks to its progressive family-style concept. In 2013, I completed the specific vocational training (FBA) as required by the Federal Veterinary Office for the management of a small animal boarding facility. From the beginnings of our dog daycare and boarding service we observed how reluctantly the dogs would eat their wet or dry food, as well as some of the serious consequences resulting from a diet of these dog foods. So we decided to look for alternative diet for our own dog, Ashuna, and it was in this way that we became aware of the "BARF" (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet.
On a flight bound for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, I became inspired by an article in the "Focus" journal about the very lucrative dog food business, and arrived at the idea to develop a new, innovative and unique Barf dog food. After my return to Switzerland, the development phase of "Ashuna's Dog Food" began seamlessly. In the spring of 2017, Petra had completed her training with veterinarian Dr. Jutta Ziegler as canine nutrition consultant, specializing in the Barf diet. Just prior, I had completed training courses as dog trainer and in canine nutrition at the Academy of Animal Naturopathy (ATN). I then also was extensively studied the scientific book "Nutrition of the Dog" by veterinarian Prof. Dr. Jürgen Zentek (1) as well as the books and teachings of Dr. Jutta Ziegler (2). By the summer of 2017 the project was already at such an advanced stage that we wanted to begin with the renovation of the rented production facility in Waldshut (Germany). However, due to family needs, we had to make the heavy-hearted decision to abandon the "Ashuna's Dog Food" project.
In order to ensure that not all of the investment, development, experience, and accumulated know- how made and acquired during this long period were in vain, we decided to extend our dog business by offering Barf diet information and consultations. And since Petra and I used to be active in the fashion world, it was self-evident, to open also a dog boutique with an online-shop. And so evolved "Doggy-Care" into "Ashuna's Dog Company LLC", with the areas: Dog Hotel, Barfology and Dog Boutique.
In my spare time I like to travel and to enjoy the different culinary delights which are offered in different places all over the world. And in order that football (soccer) does not get neglected, I attend, whenever possible, the most interesting games of the German National League (Bundesliga), the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA soccer championships.