By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Dec 12, 2002 at 5:16 AM

When Bill and Stacy Conroy's 6-year-old German Shepherd, Jade, was diagnosed with Addison's Disease, the Riverwest couple was determined to find alternative ways to improve their pet's health.

After doing voracious research, the Conroys learned of a correlation between a diet of raw foods and a healthy immune system. Eager to try anything to help their pup, they stopped feeding her dry, packaged food and started preparing meals at home from fresh chicken, turkey and beef. Within a short period of time, Jade's health improved and the couple switched their other dog, a yellow Lab named MacGyver, to the raw diet as well.

Impressed with the positive changes in both of their dogs, the Conroys began to share their recipes with friends and family. They teamed up with Dr. Keith Cummins, a Professor of Animal Nutrition at Auburn University in Alabama, to ensure the safety and quality of their recipes, and by 2001, had started a small business called Companion Natural Pet Food.

The couple, who met while walking their dogs in 1996, are running the business themselves with the help of family members.

Stacy, 31, is a work-at-home mom who runs Companion from her home office while caring for the couple's two-month-old son, Aidan. Bill, 41, is a manufacturer's rep for Airflow, Inc. and helps with the business on evenings and weekends. Both are avid animal lovers.


"I have had dogs, cats, hamsters, birds and fish all my life," says Stacy, who also writes a regular column, called "Pet Tales," for the Riverwest Currents.

Companion dog and cat food is produced and packaged at Lindsay Foods on National Ave. in Milwaukee. Lindsay Foods is a USDA-inspected facility and a third-generation, family-owned business.

All of Companion's meats are human-grade, from USDA-inspected plants throughout the Midwest. They are mixed with other natural ingredients, like alfalfa, kelp, garlic, omega-3 fish oil, essential fatty acids and raw apple cider vinegar, mashed and then frozen.

A raw food diet is more expensive than a dry diet, so if budget is an issue, Stacy recommends serving both raw and packaged food. "I always tell people feeding some raw food is better than none at all," she says. "The best way is to feed dry in the morning and raw in the evening. I also sell books on how to make your own raw food to help supplement ones budget but still feed raw exclusively."

According to Conroy, the benefits of a raw diet include weight loss for overweight pets, muscle gain, allergy cessation, increased energy, shinier coats, better breath and improved immune systems. Conroy also believes packaged foods do not offer the same benefits.

"Most of today's dry and canned dog foods are based on what manufacturers buy from rendering plants and leftovers from the human food industry," she says. "We, as a society, are responsible for today's over-population of domesticated dogs and cats. It is up to us to feed them their species-appropriate diet in order to give them the best chance at a healthy life."

For more information, go to or call (414) 372-LIFE.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.