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Snapshot: Mary-Kay Novak

Published: August 11, 2017

The Newtown Bee

Occupation: I own Your Healthy Pet, a pet food and supply store here in town. My husband, my son, and I started the store in 2009 and recently our daughter joined us. We want Your Healthy Pet to be a place where people can come and educate themselves on healthy food and treats for pets, as well as be a very comfortable place for people to share their experiences.

Family: My husband, Tom, and I met in 1981 and got married a year later. We’ll be celebrating our 35th anniversary this year. My son, Ryan, is single and lives in Woodbury; he has cats and ferrets. My daughter, Casey Mecca, lives in Sandy Hook with her husband, Jon. We have two beautiful grandchildren, George and Grace, who are 7 and 5 years old. They are very involved in the NewArts plays and just love being on stage.

Pets: Chandler is our 9-year-old “chiweenie,” he’s a chihuahua/dachshund mix. A year after rescuing him, we got Phoebe, who’s a chihuahua mix. We have two cats who’d been rescued out of a factory in Bridgeport. Salem is our black cat and Cosmo is our orange cat. We got them a few months after our first cat, Shadow, passed away from kidney failure in 2006. Shadow was the inspiration for opening the store, because we saw the connection with what we were feeding him to the kidney failure. We wanted to learn more about food for the new cats and, after educating ourselves, we realized it really is important to feed pets as we do ourselves and our kids, as much as we can.

How long have you lived in Newtown? We moved to Newtown in 1998. After my husband and I got married, we drove through town and said, “We would love to live in Newtown one day.”

What do you like to do in your free time? In the summer, I like to hang out at the pool and have the grandkids over to swim. We love to garden and enjoy hanging around the yard. It’s very peaceful and quiet, and we love the nature. We hang out with the pets, take them for walks, and enjoy the down time.

Do you have a favorite quote? “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” by Dr Seuss. I think about that a lot when I think of family members who have passed. I do get sad, but when you think of the good times you’ve had, it makes you feel better.

What is your favorite travel destination? The Cape. We’ve gone several times with the family, and I really enjoy the Bayside, specifically Brewster.

What is the best part about Newtown? For a big town it still has a small town feel. I love the parade and how everyone gets so excited for it. As a business owner in Newtown, our customers are great. Everybody is so friendly, and you always find something in common with each person that comes in.

If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? My father. He passed away suddenly in 2006. My mother always said we were “two peas in a pod.” We did a lot together. He passed away before my daughter got married and all the grandkids, so I would love to spend one more day with him and tell him about all the family things he missed and that his great-grandson was named after him. I think he knows, but to physically be with him again would be wonderful.

Who is your favorite musical artist? My husband. He’s not famous, but he is, in my mind. He plays the guitar, and he has written many songs for myself, his mom, and the best one was for our daughter when she got married. He wrote and recorded the song for the father-daughter dance. Every time we hear it, we cry. It’s really beautiful.

Do you have a favorite TV show? Shameless. We try to watch one episode a day on Netflix.

What is your favorite food? My mother was Polish and made all the homemade Polish food. She made the best desserts that I just can’t duplicate. I can kick myself for not paying more attention when she was alive to show me how to make it.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? To remember that only you can make yourself happy.

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