Hunter's Story

The story of Paul's Custom Pet Food begins with Hunter . . .

Paul and Lynn with Hunter at Stout Oak Farm in Brentwood, New Hampshire.

Paul and Lynn with Hunter at Stout Oak Farm in Brentwood, New Hampshire.

Over seven years ago, Hunter's groomer discovered a lump the size of a walnut below his jaw. We had it biopsied and learned it was malignant: Hunter had cancer. Our traditional veterinarian recommended we see a veterinary oncologist right away. We met with a doctor and team of assistants who examined Hunter and walked us through the results of the biopsy. They told us his cancer was aggressive; it had metastasized and traveled to his blood stream. We were given the option of surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy, and told he had six months to live unless we took immediate action. At the time, Hunter was just over three-years-old.

After much discussion, we decided we would not take the recommended traditional action. We shared the news with friends and family. And one friend insisted we see Dr. Hannah Wells, former chief of staff and practitioner of traditional Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine at Health and Wellness Animal Hospital in North Hampton, New Hampshire. We had an appointment Dr. Wells within a day.

Dr. Wells studied Hunter's file, biopsy results, oncology report, and conducted a thorough examination of him, including analysis of his chi. She explained that as a young and energetic Golden Retriever, he ran hot and that the tumor and cancer was also hot. She indicated he would need cool foods and herbs to fight the cancer, and asked if we were willing to prepare his meals. "Of course we are," Paul said. Dr. Wells prescribed a mix of Chinese herbal medicines and a recipe for Hunter's food. She explained the differences between cool foods and hot foods, the importance of whole, chemical- and processed-free pet food, and the fundamental way food interacts with each pet's unique make-up.

Seven years later (we happily update this sentence yearly), Hunter is as energetic as a puppy. Although the basic recipe for his diet remains the same, Dr. Wells has made adjustments to his food along the way, pursuant to Hunter's changing dietary needs and as he's aged. Despite a little white around his nose and eyes, Hunter shows no signs of slowing down (sometimes to our chagrin). We joke that through food and plants we might just have discovered the canine fountain of youth.

And the lump below his jaw is gone.

For information about Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), visit the Chi Institute website. 

See the PBS video spotlight about TCVM, right.

Read more about Dr. Wells and Hunter's story here.


Meet Paul And Lynn

Paul in the New Milford kitchen, photo by Carol Kaliff.

Paul in the New Milford kitchen, photo by Carol Kaliff.

Paul Gallant

Paul's commitment to preparing real food for pets began in 2010 when Hunter was diagnosed with cancer (read the full story above). In order to stand a chance against the cancer, Paul began cooking for Hunter without hesitation.

Anyone who knows Paul knows that when he puts his mind to something, there is no stopping him. Prior to starting Paul's Custom Pet Food, Paul worked closely for 30 years with contractors, architects, and landscape designers as a materials procurement specialist for a brick and stone supply company. With Dr. Well's guidance, Paul taught himself everything he could about holistic pet health and nutrition. When he learned that exercise was also important to pet health, Paul started walking with Hunter every night - inclement weather notwithstanding. He once told his buddy, "If you keep living, I'll keep cooking."

For seven years, Hunter has kept his promise. And Paul has kept his. Determined to share his experiences with others, Paul opened Paul's Custom Pet Food in 2014. Today, Paul works with numerous pet owners and veterinarians, pet nutritionists, and herbalists to craft recipes and prepare customized meals for pets' unique dietary needs. He sources only the highest-quality organic and/or locally sourced ingredients from farmers and small businesses and crafts all food by hand in small batches. Paul sells his food one-on-one at farmers' markets and delivers it personally as often as he is able, getting to know both pets and their caretakers by name. Paul's Custom Pet Food is Paul Gallant's passion and - as with all other endeavors he embraces - the business is personal. Like the pact he made with Hunter, Paul will keep cooking for his pet customers as long as they need him.

Lynn after gathering a bunch of Swiss chard from her garden.

Lynn after gathering a bunch of Swiss chard from her garden.

Meet Lynn Felici-Gallant

As Paul's wife and Hunter's companion, Lynn has witnessed first hand Paul's extraordinary dedication to Hunter's well being and his desire to introduce whole, clean, healthful, food to other pets. Naturally she has benefited from Paul's passion through the extended years and play time she has with Hunter. But more than that, Lynn is also completely supportive of Paul's desire to pay it forward.

As a professional gardener, garden writer, and whole foods advocate, Lynn is the promotional and administrative force behind PCPF, connecting Paul with farmers, herbalists, farmers' markets, and food groups to further the company's mission of extending the real food movement to pets.

As an organic home gardener, Lynn takes special delight in watching Hunter eat right out of her beds, nibbling on kale or munching on carrots. And as a former attorney, designer, and retail merchandiser, Lynn applies her training to help the two loves of her life in any other ways she is able.

Even if that means endless hours tethered to the computer.


Meet the Team

Joe Scheidler

Joe Scheidler is an economics major at the Harvard University Extension School and founder and CEO of Pathlete Inc., a revolutionary online student athlete recruiting program. A recent delegate to the United Nations University, Joe is extremely motivated at a young age and shows ambition and drive that doesn’t come around very often (regardless of age). He produces impressive market research and competitive/ financial analytics for PCPF. He is an exciting addition to the team and brings a well-rounded knowledge and youthful perspective to the table.

 

Rick Gallant

Our unofficial (for the time being) west coast representative, Rick Gallant gave Paul the confidence to take the big plunge with PCPF. He lit virtual fires under us and suggested ideas no one even thought to consider. He and his late husband, Manny (pictured below in August, 2014), even set up a Paul's Custom Pet Food display at a couple of high-end, en plein air events in LA and Manhattan Beach, representing us with unrivaled energy and passion. Every business needs a Rick. We are grateful beyond words for him (and for the thousands of pens and other business essentials he and Manny purchased for us!).


Paul, Joe, and Lynn at a meeting in NYC.

Paul, Joe, and Lynn at a meeting in NYC.

Hunter and Paul.

Hunter and Paul.

Manny after setting up a booth in LA, summer 2014.

Manny after setting up a booth in LA, summer 2014.