Be The Hero Your Dog Thinks You Are, Treat Your Pup!
“As a Veteran, I’ve learned that resilience is key to pursuing the entrepreneurial dream,” says Leendert Bolle, founder of single-ingredient dehydrated dog treat company Hero’s Dog Treats. After 20 years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces, Bolle saw the immense potential to serve his community through entrepreneurship. “A friend in the pet industry was having a hard time finding quality ingredient pet treats at the time of my military release. The first thing I wanted to do was help,” explains Bolle. Launched in 2012, Hero Dog Treats quickly became Bolle’s next career path.
“Like most people, I had an idea for my business. But I needed structure to keep focus and develop that idea. A big help for me was Prince’s Trust Canada’s Operation Entrepreneur boot camp – it changed my life,” says Bolle.
Bolle’s military experience equipped him with the perseverance needed to commit to his next mission: finding a network to help him develop his business. “My relationship with the people I met through Operation Entrepreneur completely changed the vision I had for my business,” explains Bolle. “Suddenly I had new ideas and increased motivation to keep learning.”
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Bolle had to think pragmatically to adapt accordingly.
“In the military, you roll with the punches. As the pandemic and lockdowns progressed, we did exactly that. We were very fortunate because we had the resilience learned through the military and understood that we needed to act quickly to succeed,” says Bolle.
Hero Dog Treats has a wide range of products from deer antlers to bully sticks, in stores across Canada. “We want to make sure that dog owners know what they’re giving their pets, so there are no hidden ingredients,” he added.
Instrumental to the growth of Hero Dog Treats has been Bolle’s business mentor Mike Rici, a mentoring relationship introduced to Bolle through Operation Entrepreneur’s Mentoring program. “We’ve been meeting every month since 2019. He brings a pragmatic approach to business decision-making and has changed the trajectory of my business,” says Bolle. “The Mentoring program requires 100% of your dedication to executing ideas, and the results are unimaginable,” explains Bolle.
For emerging Veteran entrepreneurs or those transitioning out of the military, Bolle says to “stop thinking about it, just do it and learn as much as you can.” Bolle also owns Arrowhead Coffee Company, which, in addition to selling great coffee, also supports former service members by giving back to several mental health initiatives and employing Veterans. Recently, Bolle was named as a 2022 CANIE Award finalist for Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year, presented by Prince’s Trust Canada.
To learn more about Hero Dog Treats visit their Instagram @herodogtreats.
Support Veterans and your community by choosing to Buy Veteran. Buying Veteran means buying local. To find Veteran-owned businesses in your community visit BuyVeteran.ca.