CONRADO & LARA'S STORY
LARA: THE STORY OF MY GERMAN SHEPHERD THAT BROUGHT LUPOSAN / MARKUS-MÜHLES TO SPAIN.
Our products arrived in Spain as a result of my search for an animal feed that would allow my Lara to live a painless, diarrhea free life, away from the concept of business, marketing, trade, only motivated by my love for Lara .
I had a great rapport with owners at Markus-Mühle Luposan-because we share the same philosophy of "respect for nature", the fact that helped our friendship grow, so when it was proposed that I was to become the representative for Spain, it was just a verbal agreement and a handshake.
Lara's story began in mid-2002 when I, Conrado, came to Spain from Germany to open a psychotherapist practice on the Costa Blanca. I lived in a borrowed hillside house in Parcent, Alicante. But the loneliness and isolation I felt, made me decide to look for a dog from an animal shelter. That’s how I met "Lara", a 3 year old German Shepherd. The instant "chemistry" between Lara and I was very positive. Lara came to me as if we were old friends.
Life gave me Lara, a very intelligent pet, loyal, brave and very protective. I quickly became very fond of her and she became very supportive in my moments of solitude. We started walking through life together.
As soon as Lara got home, the nasty surprises began. Lara vomited and had diarrhea, sometimes blood was mixed in. I started taking her to vets and spending huge amounts of money. She received medication (cortisone) and ate medicated feed, at first it worked and I could see improvement, but after 1-2 weeks. She was back to being really sick and returned to have uncontrollable diarrhea.
It was a horrible experience. To clean up after her was a very tough chore that caused me great pain. Lara could not hold it in, especially at night. A vet advised me that in view of such an extreme case, I should consider euthanasia. I later discovered that poor Lara always had digestive problems, almost from birth, and even came close to dying when she was just a puppy. The veterinarian, after doing an endoscopy, diagnosed her with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) meaning Lara began taking cortisone (Dacortin 5) and improved a lot, however I did not like that Lara had to live life with cortisone. Besides, regular visits to the vet it was an expense I could not afford. Medicated feed was very expensive and she did not like them at all so I had to throw away some bags.
On a trip to Germany, to update my psychological studies, unable to leave Lara alone, I brought her over with me in my van.
When we got to Wuppertal-Ronsdorf, Germany, I took the opportunity to visit a small pet shop and I explained Lara’s situation. The store owner was very interested in the case and asked if I knew the natural alternative Luposan / Markus-Mühle. I answered that in Spain there were no such alternatives. In those years if I searched for "Luposan", "Lupo", "Markus-Muehle" in Google, Yahoo or any other search engine, there were no results in Spanish. The owner of the pet shop advised me that I try LUPOSAN ® Sport hypoallergenic natural based, no cereals. I had tried so many products that one more was not a problem.
I bought a bag of 5 kg Luposan Sport Hypoallergenic to see if she liked it. Unexpectedly, without actually realizing it, began the future adventure for Lara, for me and for Luposan / Markus Mühle towards Spain! And later Portugal and Andorra. "The miracles of life" or "the way of the Lord", luck or coincidence, whichever we’d like to call it... Also, and most importantly, many other dogs end up benefiting from this food that saved the life of my dear Lara .
The first week Lara had Luposan-Sport, she ate very well, but because of previous negative experiences I had with other foods, I lived in constant fear that at any moment, Lara will go back to diarrhea or vomiting. But Lara remained HEALTHY. What a surprise! The days passed and the diarrhea disappeared! I couldn’t believe it ... I bought a 20 kg saving size bag, always in fear of a relapse, but after three or four weeks I realized that my dear Lara had recovered and she was finally cured! Lara finally started making solid evacuations. My heart was full with an enormous joy! I am not sure how to put it: It's like when someone you love has very little hope, so that you actually consider euthanasia, and suddenly you find something that gives you a solution, you go crazy with joy!
Before returning to Spain, whilst still in Germany, I decided to visit the company and tell them all about my experience. (February-March 2002). I called the phone that appeared on the packaging and made an appointment with the owner of the company.
When I arrived at the company, they told me that my experience was not the first. When I asked if they could send to Spain a bag of 20 Kgs Sport Hypoallergenic a month, the owner of Luposan / Markus-Mühle, Markus, said, "But ... Conrado, why not offer my products in Spain? I have no representative there. " His proposal stunned me because I had no business skills, no marketing, no business. The business world was not my environment. Could not tell a bill from a delivery note, nor how VAT is calculated, how to hire carriers, etc., etc.
But the owner of the company, Markus, had my van filled with animal feed and a few samples and finally said: "Conrado, try opening a market in Spain, the conviction that you have with Lara is better than having a huge capital to start and it is worth more than the best marketing strategy! No vendor or supplier of mine has the "weapon" - the belief that you have! – Give it a try and let people in Spain have the same experience with healthy eating . "
I really liked this family business, they respect animals and nature which coincided with my convictions. Once back to Spain, with no media or marketing technique, I began to distribute those 4 bags, with a great passion, conviction and trust on the product. Then word started spreading around…
Many who had problems with their dogs tried Luposan, saw the difference and told other people about it. Within a few weeks I had to ask the company in Germany to send me 10 more sacks, then 20 and then 30 bags and so began a story-always healthy- with many pets. At first it was really funny ... I had to find German tourists who came in their cars to Spain to bring me some sacks.
In my cottage, I had bags of feed even in the bedroom!
At the beginning we had no store, everything was done by hand and in a very homey way. Until one day, I found a low-garage in the town of Oliva. Then, I realized that I could not deliver, keep the books and answer the phones at the same time and so in 2005 I asked my daughter Nancy to help me a few hours. The company then began to grow and all this without having planned it and of course making many mistakes and suffering a few losses …
When we had the full range of products Markus-Mühle / Luposan, in 2006-2007 we began to bring other products from Markus-Mühle like NaturVital or Lupovet and only brought to Spain Lupovet-IBD as it was specially different from other Luposan feed. Lara was fed for almost a year and a half the Lupovet-IBD with very good results and acceptance! But to avoid selling several similar products we created, with of course, great similarity with the German mother company, our own products according to the needs of dogs in Spain and taking into consideration the problems like the one Lara had in the past with her intestines.
It was then in 2007 that the Luposan "Natural-Extra" feed became the favorite for its mass acceptance, demand and price. We created this product based on the results of many visits to Spain’s veterinarians and constant communication with the German company.
In 2009 the German mother company started manufacturing a new feed: "Canis Natural", now called "LupoNatural" which Lara also assimilated very well. This is a very innovative product, synthetic vitamins’ free, containing the Acquamin vitamin, collected from sea water obtained by water pressing, as with the other feeds from Markus-Mühle and of course without extruding.
In 2012 we created other feeds for dogs with IBD and Lehismania problems, and a special feed called SOFT LUPODIET for animals with chronic obesity, very low in fat and protein, low copper and high percentage of zinc, with chicken meat from Switzerland, the best meat for dogs with intestinal problems as is it the smoothest and most digestible one.
All feeds are available in convenient 20 kg bags.
For Lara, all feed and supplements manufactured by the German company Markus-Mühle always suited her because the base of natural ingredients in every product at MARKUS-MÜHLE is very similar but with different targets. Rest assured that the company does not manufacture animal feed of different qualities! All products manufactured by our company are of excellent quality none are better or worse, just target different dietary needs, all are produced on the same basis and with the same philosophy and ideology, our reference being Canis Lupus, the grandfather of modern dogs!
Since we created "Natural-Extra", Lara was fed only this feed and supplements, especially Gelenkkraft tablets (helps animal’s joints) and Kräuterkraft, which is a mixture of herbs. Lara enjoyed excellent health until the last day of her life. She also had silky, shiny hair and was physically strong and very active.
Lara was a family member, she brought out the best in me, first because she was a living being next to me, and also because she showed her loyalty every day and of course for the unconditional love with an explosive jumping welcome whenever I got back home. We adored Lara and we are very happy to have discovered Luposan / Markus Mühle through her. In reality, though legally it can’t be applied, my Lara was the manager and owner of the company Luposan / Markus-Mühle in Spain.
In the end, the project of setting up a psycotherapist cabinet in 2002, faded slowly as Luposan / Markus Mühle grew with me in Spain. I won’t rule out the possibility of returning to the job, which was more a calling in my life. I'm passionate about dealing with people’s inner self, helping them with their ailments and psychological stress in life.
The early years ...: "From nothing comes nothing"…
Whilst it is true that our products are very healthy and that word of mouth was our best "ally", the most important factor in Luposan’s growth, came not of spontaneity, but from hard and intense work.
Many people tell me today: "Conrado, you were very lucky." Naturally I’m not saying otherwise, but luck or chance in life comes when we take it and fight for it, without thinking on partying, holidays, meeting friends at the bar .... etc, as opportunity presents itself in your life, if you do not take advantage of it, the opportunity is gone …
What really helped me bury myself 24/7 with Luposan was the fact that I was living alone, had no wife or family with me, no friends and no one to help me. The first 4-5 years were spent sleeping only a few hours, working even week ends, I did not know what holidays meant. For me the 365 days in the year were Monday. For example, I did not take breaks for long lunches nor did I spend my time chatting with my friends at the bar. This exaggeration of hermit life allowed me to focus 100% on Luposan. So I say: Lucky? Yes! But in exchange for a complete immersion, because ... "from nothing comes nothing."
Symbolically speaking "I married Luposan / Markus-Mühle". Having no financial means, I had to do it all by myself. At night I began to prepare the website for Luposan-Spain, to translate all products and catalogs because there was nothing in Spanish or English . When the trucks arrived from Germany, I had to unload them on my shoulder, I also did the distribution, I packed the orders, then I went to Pedreguer or Denia post office, etc. I went around pet shops throughout the provinces of Alicante and Valencia. I had to learn to calculate prices and hire carriers, learnt the difference between a bill and a delivery note, I did invoices, calculate the VAT, also did the bookkeeping, etc.. Only enthusiasm, conviction and passion were and are my weapons. Naturally at first I made many mistakes. But that is how I learned ... Sometimes overconfident, people abused my good faith or because of my lack of experience in the "world of lions ", many customers left me unpaid debts, distributors demanded me to try to "earn" money without working for it, and even lived through rough situations which left me with lifelong consequences ...
Almost 99% of the problems I had or have, are related to the "money god” and little or nothing to do with the interests in food and pet health: dishonest competition, unpaid bills, freeloaders, rascals who want to make money without working ... Sometimes I thought I should call it quits, but life is a struggle and we should not give up but go ahead and trust in God, who has the final word! Because life is not just work and money.
My goal was never only to profit from animals. Luposan was not born nor lives with this vision. Life is not just about having material things or making money ... Life is very short and quickly passes. We must work, earn, save, etc. .. but not go crazy. What good is a lifetime spent on bricks and material things, I think it is not worth it. Today we are here and tomorrow we don’t know ... Everything happens very fast. Today you are 20, tomorrow 30, then 40 and next time you think about it, you’re about to turn 50.
The passion and desire for possessions and money is the cause of many diseases and can shorten our life. Not worth it. Our health is worth more! A mind that has inner peace with nature, with creation, with animals, with others and with God, is a healthy mind with an optimistic future.
I am convinced that God did not create animals so we could abuse them and use them purely for profit.
Nature will come back around ... if it’s not already coming back at us, one day Mother Earth will give us surprises that can’t be stopped with money.
My message to all is:´
Love and respect all animals, they are beautiful creations of God and nature, is a wonderful gift to enjoy nature and animals, without damaging them, without using them to make a business for our selfish amusements.
Time has passed and now we are the official representative and distributor Luposan / Markus-Mühle in Spain, Andorra and Portugal. Since May 2009 we opened the central warehouse for Spain. While we now have company structure, I still remember well how this product came to Spain: thanks to my dear Lara. So I am particularly sensitive to a customer service for people and their pets, a goal that is beyond any marketing strategy or business purpose.
We do not consider ourselves feed sellers, NO! - We are Luposan- and we advertise Lara’s story, on what a simple German Shepherd dog could get and achieve.
I learned a lot from Lara:
Lara showed me a lot in life. I learned what loyalty and unconditional love means, being at my side at all times especially in difficult situations or loneliness.
With Lara I learned to love animals and nature and be thankful to God for his wonderful creation.
Lara showed me that one should not think less of a living being because it is an animal ... on the contrary, an animal can teach us so much, help us in life and often change it, as was the case with Lara and I, which led me to have a respected and valued company in Spain.
Lara taught me to "walk" or rather forced me to get out and move at least every 3-4 hours because I had to let her out. Without it I would have been all day, 15-16 hours "stuck to the chair" working at the computer, something that is not good for anybody’s health.
In times of stress I might have mistreated Lara ... I tried and I learned that humans, we tend to be hard or let off steam with the weak, those who depend on us or those who love us and that should not be. From this experience I learned that we must respect even more those who love us and are true, faithful and on our side.
With Lara I learned that an animal is a living being with feelings, desires, who suffers, who is glad to be excited.
I also learned how to drive carefully, taking care not to run over any animal.
I learned to help as much as I can other dogs "Lara’s Brothers" who wander abandoned on the streets and highways.
Lara taught me to suffer for the animals, today I suffer when I see those dogs tied up in a field, or in a house where the owner goes 1-2 times a week to bring food and water, if you can call hard bread or chicken bones food ... I suffer to see the loneliness of those animals who are alone in a cottage attached to a chain only to bark at strangers or take care of an abandoned house.
So, to you my dear Lara, I dedicate this article with all my heart and although we are sad knowing that you are no longer with us and that left a huge and deep hole in my heart, you live in us, in all that is Luposan Spain, because thanks to you, without having planned anything... you made us bring Luposan to Spain and completely changed our lives and that of many people and, above all, the lives of thousands of your comrades in Spain. Because of you we have created a business, jobs, which many families depend upon and it has become a large chain where money, trade and greed are not welcome.
Thanks to life, thanks to God, thanks to my Lara, thanks to Markus, thanks Luposan.
Lara, that God hold you in dog’s heaven. You know what I would give anything to hug or caress your head one more time ... on writing this article I have shed a lot of tears and I had to write it in several parts, because there were times I could not keep writing ... Lara, I’ll remember you till the last day of my life, and maybe if life really exists after physical death, we shall meet again, I would love to see you!
Today director Luposan® / Markus-Mühle® of Spain