A Huntsville teen is making the most of her free time amid the pandemic by starting her own dog treat business.

When 15-year-old Carlie Heeringa was having trouble trying to find a treat that her pet dog Daisy would eat – she decided to take matters into her own hands and started creating her own recipes.

In an interview with MyMuskokaNow, Heeringa says she was inspired to start her own company after her sister was given a dog treat cookbook.

“She made treats, but I was probably more interested in it,” she said. “We started making them for our dog, Daisy, and she really liked them, and we stopped buying her treats and just started making them all the time because she wouldn’t eat the treats we bought her.”

After seeing the reaction from Daisy, Heeringa said a lightbulb went off – and the idea of ‘Daisy Cakes Dog Treats’ was born.

Heeringa started the venture with some help from the Ontario Summer Company program – developed by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation &Trade and administered in Muskoka by the Muskoka Small Business Centre.

The program helps people ages 15-29 with dreams of becoming their own boss and provides them with up to $3,000 in awards, along with 12 hours of practical business training and biweekly meetings with mentors.

For Daisy Cakes, Heeringa says she’s hopeful the company will be successful for a long time.

“It would be fun to make dog food sometime. I don’t know if that’s a realistic thing, but I would like to try. My aunt has a little miniature schnauzer who gets some at Christmas as a gift, and he absolutely loves them.”

There are three criteria for Daisy Cakes.

The first and most vital is that Daisy needs to love the treats – because if she does, chances are other dogs will as well.

Secondly, they need to be good for dogs and not contain preservatives or unfamiliar ingredients.

Thirdly, they need to meet human consumption standards, and both look and taste great.

Heeringa’s advice to others like her looking to start their own business venture is to not be afraid to fail.

“You can’t get anywhere without trying anything, so you have to give something a try to learn how it goes.”

For more information on Daisy Cakes, you can email Heeringa directly at carlie@daisycakesdogtreats.com.