The SavvyBeast® Story
When I started in the fashion industry 34 years ago, I never thought it would lead me to becoming a creator of gourmet pet food.
Working in fashion, I helped many people to look and feel great about themselves. My work made companies extremely successful and I even had a lot of high-profile clients.
It sounds like a dream job, but I knew that I also wanted to accomplish different goals in my life. Soon I began to wonder, what am I doing? What is my true purpose?
The answer came to me without hesitation: I want to help animals.
I also knew exactly how I was going to do it. Years ago, I worked for a vet who changed the pet industry when he discovered exactly why so many animals were dying of cancer. More and more pets were getting sick from their diet and the amount of chemicals in pet food. I lost two beautiful dogs from cancer, Kico and Alexander. Their deaths devastated me, and I hated the idea of anyone else having to go through such a loss.
So, I decided to start my own gourmet pet food company and vowed that I would use fresh, organic, and locally grown ingredients as much as I could. Luckily, my husband and I had a farm in the Catskill mountains outside the hustle and bustle of New York City. Together, we decided to take the plunge into this new business and had our home upgraded with a brand-new commercial kitchen so we could make our own products.
I immediately went to work getting the licenses and paperwork done, then started working with a food scientist from Cornell University. Together we created recipes and perfected our ingredients. My two Papillons, Ruben and Sebastian, happily became my taste-testers and not long after we were ready to produce our pet treats. While both dogs have since passed on, I’m happy knowing that I provided them with the best possible nutrition and that both lived well into their teens. My husband and I have since adopted a taco fox terrier named Sophie and she has taken over taste-tester duties.
While I’m still in the fashion industry today, my true passion is providing pet parents with food and treats they can trust. I am proud of the quality of ingredients we provide in our pet food, in fact some of our items come from less than 25 miles away from our farm.
Since starting on this adventure, we’ve added a few more creatures to our furry and feathered family, with 22 chickens, 2 ducks (adopted all the way from New York City) and even some cows who come to visit during the summer months. I am committed to providing the best ingredients for all my animals and no chemicals are ever used on our farm. I believe that nature’s way is the best and we even had our own chickens sit on hatching eggs that we bought to add to our flock, rather than use heat lamps.
I want pet owners to know when they buy our food and treats, they can trust that they are getting the highest quality ingredients and are taking the best possible care of their pets. I also want to make pet parents aware of what is in commercial pet foods and how some of those things are making animals sick.
In addition to helping pets, I want to help people as well. I want others to know that no matter what you do now, you can always do something else and follow your true passion. You can be anything and do anything, just go for it!
Our Creator's Story
Queny Villanueva emigrated from Colombia to America at age 17. Growing up, she did not have to worry about food additives, by-products, or food processing because her father cultivated almost everything that the family ate. It was only after her move to the US that she learned how many additives and by-products are unnecessarily processed into both human and animal foods. Her early passions—animals, cooking, and healthy eating—positioned her perfectly for a transition into nutritious, artisanal pet treats. But, she started small, by cooking food for her pet dogs.
In 1992, her first dog, Kico, was diagnosed with bone cancer; she later lost her second dog, Alexander, to cancer. After these devastating deaths, she committed herself to learning more about dog nutrition and health and drew from her background, working with Dr. Martin Goldstein, one of the finest holistic veterinarians in the country.
For years, Queny worked formulating healthy dog treats, with trips to the lab to guarantee her recipe met the highest standards possible. The Cornell University Department of Foods and Science teamed Queny up with Dhyneshwar Chawan, Ph.D., one of the premier food scientists in the world and she combined his knowledge with her know-how and passion to create DogStars®.
Now, Queny is confident that she is contributing to better health and nutrition for all dogs. Just ask her two Papillion taste-testers, Ruben and Sebastian, who give the treats two paws up. And our newest taste tester Sophie, a taco-terrier.
Queny, Roger and Sophie
Owners and taste tester