WESTPORT, Conn. — When Paul Gallant’s dog, Hunter, was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors gave him six months to live.
But through holistic medicine and a food-based approach, Hunter will turn 10 in November. Through it all, Gallant, who has worked in masonry for 30 years, cooked all of Hunter's meals.
After he started feeding Hunter healthy, wholesome food, Gallant thought of selling his high-quality pet food to others. But it would take a last-minute change of heart to finally persuade him to start his business.
“I had a job all lined up when I came down here. On a Friday — before I was supposed to start on a Monday — we decided to do this,” said Gallant, who said his wife provided him with some encouragement to start the business. “At that point I was 54 and [in] 10 years I didn’t want to be 64 and say, ‘Gee, I wish I had done that.’ So we gave it a shot.”
Gallant, a New Milford resident, was at the vibrant Westport’s Farmers Market last Thursday, offering four-legged consumers organic pumpkin cookies and organic pumpkin peanut butter cookies along with four types of wet food.
Gallant buys local produce and freezes it in hopes of providing products with locally grown produce year round — and only natural ingredients. “There’s nothing artificial in there,” he said. “There are no dyes, no colors. It’s all real vegetables.”
All the food is made in a commercial kitchen on a regular basis. “It’s all fresh,” he said. “It’s all small batch.”
Gallant provides custom food solutions — in both wet and raw food. He also accepts special requests for packaging. One customer prefers their pet food is washable glass containers, for example.
Each of his foods is named after a dog. Hunter’s beef with greens is named after Hunter, of course. And Jessie’s Turkey and beef jambalaya with blueberries was named after a friend’s dog.
Don’t want to make the trip to the farmers market? Gallant also delivers on market days and offers a subscription service to customers.
Will Gallant’s business become the “top dog” on the pet food market in Fairfield County? “We would like to strengthen our subscription service and then get into some stores,” Gallant said. “We’ll see where it goes from there.”
For more information on Paul’s Custom Pet Food, visit his website here .