Huntsville student-run business going to the dogs
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Carlie Heeringa and Daisy

Carlie Heeringa and her dog Daisy, who is the inspiration for Heeringa's business Daisy Cakes Dogtreats. July 2020 - Heeringa family photo

When Carlie Heeringa found herself struggling to find a treat that her beloved pet, Daisy, would eat, little did she know that it would lead to her running her own business. Carlie’s business, Daisy Cakes Dogtreats, began as a way for her to express her love of dogs, healthy baking, and most importantly, catering to her Great Pyrenees’ critical palate.

“At one point, we stopped buying treats for Daisy, and switched to making her homemade cookies from scratch,” says Heeringa. “Daisy was very happy with the switch, but she still has her preferences. Her favourite flavour is the Peanut Butter Chia Seed cookies. All treats I sell must be not only approved, but loved, by Daisy.”

When Carlie is in the process of testing recipes, there are three criteria that need to be met.

“Most importantly, Daisy needs to be in love with them because she is very particular in what she eats.

“If she likes them, the chances are pretty good that other dogs will love them too.

“Second, they need to be good for your dog in that they do not have any preservatives or unfamiliar ingredients in them.

“Third, they need to be made to human consumption standards, looking good and tasting great. Once a treat meets all three criteria, they are ready to be sold fresh. And dogs can’t seem to get enough!”

"Our miniature schnauzer, Kaiser, loved the treats and kept coming back for more," says pet owner, Jane Ann.

Daisy Cakes Dogtreats was started with assistance from the Ontario Summer Company program developed by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and administered in Muskoka by the Muskoka Small Business Centre.

It offers a unique opportunity for full-time students aged between 15 and 29 with dreams of being their own boss. Up to $3,000 in awards are available to youth who are accepted into the program, along with 12 hours of practical business training and biweekly meetings with mentors to help keep things on track.

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