The Story of Roch: When a Man, his Dog, and a Saint Launched a Startup

Discover the story behind our startup, the journey of Roch de Montpellier, and meet the canine co-founder who inspired us to start the Roch Society.

The Story of Roch: When a Man, his Dog, and a Saint Launched a Startup
Cofounder Kali

Once upon a time, there was a man who decided to go into business with his dog, a beautiful black labrador. She was a good girl, people liked her wherever she went and she was always happy to see them, which made her a fantastic travel partner. Cofounder Kali had a simple dream, she wanted to jump into every body of water she could find, be it a lake, sea, or ocean, and the man promised her that they would travel the world together to swim in all of the water they could find.

Their journey took them to lots of different countries and along the way they stayed in lots of different dog friendly hotels, some were friendly and welcoming, others not so much. Despite calling themselves 'dog-friendly', many places were not as accommodating as they advertised and sometimes it was struggle to find somewhere she was allowed to stay. Sometimes she was turned away for being 'too big', despite being quite a small labrador, other times she was turned from a dog-friendly hotel because their one dog-friendly room was occupied.

The final straw was when the man and his dog were tricked into staying at a property of a well known global hotel group, a company that spends millions of dollars on dog friendly marketing, yet upon arriving at the property they quickly learned that dogs were not allowed in any of the 'dog friendly' hotels public spaces. Not in any of the bar or restaurant terraces outside, not in the gardens, the hotel lounges, or in fact anywhere but the lobby and the walk to the room, completely ruining their stay. To add insult to injury the manager in charge lied to the man and his dog, telling them it was because of local regulations.

Frustrated yet determined, the man and his dog decided to turn their negative experiences into something positive, they pledged to find the most dog friendly hotel in the world, and together they created the Roch Standard. The name 'Roch' was not a random choice; it is a name which carries profound significance.

Roch de Montpellier, Early 16th Century, Normandy, France

The Patron Saint of Dogs, St Roch of Montpellier, was a wealthy nobleman from the 14th century. His life took a turn when he lost his parents at 20, leading him to renounce his privileged life. Roch distributed his wealth among the poor, gave his title to his younger brother, put on the clothes of a simple attire pilgrim, and set off to Italy on a pilgrimage to live a life of service and humility.

Along the way Roch encountered numerous Italian towns ravaged by the plague, and driven by his compassion he stayed to heal the sick using what have been descriped as miraculous healing abilities, earning him reverence as San Rocco.

Helping plague victims exposed Roch to their illness and he contracted the plague, but instead of seeking help he crawled into a forest and made a shelter, believeing that he was about to meet his end. But fate had different plans. A dog stumbled upon his shelter and somehow understood Roch's critical condition. The dog began bringing Roch bread stolen from his master, and licked his wounds clean. Through his unwavering friendship the dog provided Roch with the emotional support and hope that he needed to survive his deadly illness.

Roch's story exemplifies the spiritual connection between humans and dogs, symbolizing the depths of their loyalty, companionship, and healing power.

Inspired by their enduring tale, the man and his dog christened their venture Roch in tribute to the Saint and the extraordinary bond he had with his canine savior, together they dreamt of creating a world where humans and their dogs traveling together were not merely tolerated, but welcomed and included.

Our journey is rooted in faith, fellowship, and the profound love that exists between humans and their faithful canine companions. Inspired by the saintly spirit of St Roch, our ambition is to be a beacon of compassion and service in the world. Our work embodies Catholic principles, such as stewardship, charity, and love for all creatures. By fostering an environment of inclusivity and respect for our four-legged friends, we honor the sacred bond humans share with their dogs.