My Significant Other is quitting smoking today, but that isn’t what this post is about. I bring it up because when you write a blog the criteria for which no one has ever fully articulated, you can pretty much say what you want.
Everyone thinks I should be excited that SO is quitting. Granted, there is an element of excitement to living with someone who might at any moment make a passive-aggressive comment about where you put the mail. Still, if I craved that brand of excitement, I’d date me. Instead I chose someone who self-soothes with toxic chemicals and now she’s gone and changed.
I won’t dwell, though. It’s like my sainted grandmother always said, why complain about your SO quitting smoking when you could interview the owner of an ice cream truck made for dogs?
Grandma knows best. And so does Donna Santucci, at least when it comes to gluten-free dog treats. The founding owner of Fido to Go, Santucci provides Chicago’s canines with cookies and doggie ice cream. Santucci, a seasoned dog and cat groomer donates ten percent of sales from one of the dog-friendly treats to a designated charity. This July, funds go to the U.S. Soldiers to bring their pups home from overseas and in August sales will benefit the Chicago k-9 unit. Our Town spoke with Santucci about her business’ birth and future.
Our Town How did you develop your recipes?
Donna Santucci I wanted to feed my own dog, Maddie treats that were wholesome, gluten-free, and without any additives and sugars [so] I began developing a slew of recipes that fit the bill. Soon, I was supplying treats and baking doggie cakes for the pets of family and friends.
OT What inspired you to open Fido To Go?
DS With demand growing for my great-tasting At first I thought of opening a store which could combine my grooming business and collection of gluten and allergen-free dog treats and cakes, but one day, as I watched an ice cream truck stop at the beach and the kids lining up to get a treat, the idea for a mobile doggie treat food truck was born. I wanted to bring something fun and unique to the dog community. Why not give back to the one’s we love and bring us so much joy?
OT What would you say to someone unwilling to pay a higher price for a more nutritional dog treat?
DS The old saying is true, “you get what you pay for.” These furballs are part of our family and nobody wants to see someone we love suffer from allergies, fatigue, tummy upset and ear infections. In the long run, it may be better for everyone’s pocket book to feed our pups high quality, healthy and nutritious pet food and treats. The more expensive route? Back and forth to the veterinarian’s office.
OT What’s your best selling treat?
DS Dogs are similar to humans, they all like different flavors so, it depends what your dog likes.
OT Any advice for someone looking to open a small business?
DS Follow your passion and be educated in the business you plan to open. If you are solely in it for the money, you’re at high-risk to fail.
OT What are some future goals?
DS Growing Fido To Go, whether it’s franchising or purchasing more trucks and opening a store. It’s too early to tell what our future holds. Maybe next season we will all find out.
My dog is a fan. Photo by Patty Michels.
Follow Fido to Go on Facebook.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," (Soft Skull press) is available for pre-order here. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following facebook.com/OurTownBlog.ChicagoSunTimes and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez and Facebook.