We Feed Raw is an example of what happens when “love” for pets becomes more than a vague notion, and transforms into something that compels us to actively work to make their lives better. The feeling of community our name conjures up is no coincidence. We are part of the tight-knit raw feeding movement, as well as a family in the most literal sense.
We Feed Raw was born in 2009, the result of Alissa Zalneraitis’ lifelong dedication to the well-being of animals. As a dog owner and frequent host for local rescue animals, Alissa was never one to turn away a wagging tail. Her capacity for kindness was limited only by the capacity of her house; and at times it appeared to be home to the world’s friendliest wolfpack.
A desire to feed these animals the healthiest diet possible, coupled with a healthy skepticism of the processed pet food industrial complex, led Alissa to discover raw feeding. With the help of the devoted community of raw feeders, she dedicated herself to finding the way pets should eat; ultimately deciding to use the PREY model. After seeing dramatic changes for the better, she set out to prepare the same meals for friends with pets. Alissa’s first convert was her boyfriend (and future husband), Rich Reel IV. A sushi chef by trade, Rich realized that preparing raw meals was a messy task for those who hadn’t spent time in a professional kitchen. Together, they devised a plan to create easy-to-serve raw meals for pet lovers who possessed the desire to feed raw, but lacked the material and know-how.
Armed with Alissa's animal expertise, Rich’s culinary experience, and an unshakable belief that raw feeding should be a possibility for every pet, the two began preparing pre-measured meals and hand-delivering them to a customer base built on word-of-mouth. That word kept spreading, and before long, Alissa and Rich had made raw feeding their full-time jobs, meeting with meat distributors, mailing frozen meals to all corners of the country, and operating a home business out of a garage brimming with 500-pound chest freezers.
But just as their dream began to take off, Alissa fell ill. To be closer to her family during this difficult time, Alissa and Rich packed up their dogs and the company, and relocated to Maine. Alissa continued to run the company with her family’s help until, after a courageous fight, she passed away in 2014.
Alissa found exactly what she was supposed to do in life, and she went out and did it with a passion that could only be described as infectious.
Rather than dwelling on the sadness of her untimely passing, the family chooses to draw energy and inspiration from the way she approached her life. Today, Rich over-sees the company alongside Alissa's family.
Together, they work towards her vision of a future where the diet nature intended, rather than processed kibble, would be the pet food norm.
From grinding every patty in-house, to making himself available to customers to talk through even the smallest details of a pet’s meal plan, Rich and the family at We Feed Raw possess an unmatched dedication to making meals that make the happiest, healthiest pets.