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Pet Food Donations at the Food Bank

HUDSON, N.H. — Stephen Trachtenberg and his wife, Karen, have been serving the needs of pet owners who are customers of their store, Chasing Our Tails Inc., in Greater Nashua for four years.

Recently though, the couple decided to expand the repertoire of pet owners they serve to include those who can’t afford to shop at their store.

The business has donated about 800 pounds of dry dog and cat food to the Dracut Food Pantry and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank.

“We had wanted to do something, but didn’t have a major venue to do that. It turned out we had some stuff that was ready. It just went out of date in the last week or two,” Trachtenberg said.

“Not only are people struggling to feed themselves, but their pets too. Every month there’s three people walking by to sign in. They’re like, ‘Any pet food?’ I have to tell them, ‘Honestly, we have like three cans,'” said Kevin Willett, a member of the board of directors at the Dracut Food Pantry.

“It was a good day at the pantry. That was an extremely generous donation. We’re extremely appreciative of it,” Willett said.

Because of the recent recession, which some people are still feeling due to being laid off, more people who can’t afford to feed their pets have been turning them into the Humane Society, he said, so a donation like the one from Chasing Our Tails can help the pets to stay in their homes.

Amy Pessia, executive director of the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, said that having a significant stock of pet food is particularly important for the mobile food pantry’s service to homebound disabled people and seniors.

“It’s particularly harmful for them to feed pets their food; it can lead to pet obesity and they’re sacrificing their own nutrition,” Pessia said.

Thanks to the donation by Chasing Our Tails and the recent letter carriers food drive and a neighborhood food drive in March, the food bank is well stocked now, she said.

“Hopefully with these donations, we’re going to be able to keep up with the demands through the summer. Our pantries are able to provide that extra special service to them and the pet-food donations help tremendously. We’re so thankful for those pet food donations and supplies,” Pessia said.

A resident of Nashua who is originally from upstate New York, Trachtenberg, who has two English Springer Spaniel dogs of his own, said the business has evolved from its beginnings, when he and his wife were selling their products at craft shows.

“We started out as a manufacturer of dog and cat products and then grew into a retail store; what we are is basically a nutrition center. We manufacture our own line of treats,” he said.

They also just opened a grooming salon.

“We’re growing,” Trachtenberg said.

Pets with special dietary needs, such as those with allergies or illnesses, are among their specialties and they do direct consultations with veterinarians and customers. All store food is certified organic by the USDA and much of it comes from local farms.

“We’re the only store in New England where if we don’t have it, we can make it,” Trachtenberg said.

In the summer when they are home from college, his daughters work at the store; this year, his youngest, who wants to go to veterinary school, will work there from June to August as a groomer.

A member of the Masonic Lodge of Nashua, Trachtenberg also participates in a literacy charity called Bikes for Books, which gives books to boys and girls in elementary school.

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