By Ginger DeShaney
Jane Hayes Handrahan loves dogs. Some might even call her a “crazy dog lady.”
“Anyone who has surrendered their heart to their dog understands what I mean. I love dogs because people …,” she said, trailing off. “Dogs are wicked cool. They all have their own cool personalities. They’re kind of like people, but they don’t talk back. They are always happy to see you. They don’t make snide remarks.”
Then there’s that unconditional love dogs offer.
Jane turned her passion for pooches into a business.
Several years back, Jane made the unfortunate mistake of buying her beloved black German Shepherd, Leyna, chicken treats made in China. She then realized that polyurethane was an ingredient in the product to increase its shelf life. “I almost threw up,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m giving my dog this!’ ”
She looked locally to find Leyna’s favorite chicken treats and found some in a nearby neighborhood, but they cost $10 for 3 oz. “I realized I couldn’t afford it,” she said.
So she took to the Internet in search of treats, and not finding anything, she researched how to make the treats herself.
Jane, who has always had dogs, bought a small dehydrator about seven years ago and dehydrated the chicken treats herself. Leyna loved them! Jane told friends about the treats and they wanted to try them with their dogs. Needless to say, those dogs loved them, too! (By the way, cats are big fans of her treats, as well.)
Thus, her business, Wolfie’s All Natural Treats, was born. Leyna, who has since crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, was the catalyst for the name. Because a lot of people — mostly kids — thought Leyna was a wolf, Jane came up with the name Wolfie’s.
Her dog Mina graces the Wolfie’s packaging. Jane and Mina unknowingly photobombed local photographer Mucka Finyardi at Castle Island one day. He was there taking photos of the flag but Jane hadn’t seen him. Later on, Mucka texted Jane a photo of her and Mina, telling Jane about her photobomb. She asked Mucka to crop her out of the photo and now Mina is the face of Wolfie’s packaging.
The 100% all-natural chicken treats are hand- and homemade in South Boston. Jane also makes pork treats (not a big seller), turkey meatballs (for dogs allergic to chicken), and occasionally liver treats. There are no preservatives and no additives.
She quickly outgrew her little dehydrator and invested in three industrial strength dehydrators as more and more people wanted the dog treats.
Jane grew up across the street from K&8 Market and asked the owners if she could buy chicken wholesale from them. They told her, “Bring some [treats] down and we’ll see how they go.”
She shops regularly at Lambert’s and was telling people there about the treats. They told her: “Bring some over.”
While her treats are no longer on the shelves at K&8, they are on the shelves of the following:
- Deja Brew
- Roza Lyons
- Olga’s Kafe
Jane also sells her goods at local pop-ups and does especially well in South Boston because people know her, she lives in Southie, and a lot of people here have dogs. Customers can also reach out to Jane on her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WolfiesAllNaturalTreats) and via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jane is not a shy person: “I’ll approach people with dogs and I’ll just tell them” about the treats and where they can find them.
She will ship her products and has customers to whom she regularly sends treats.
But this crazy dog lady doesn’t just make delicious dog treats. She also creates custom collars and leashes.
Her “crafts” room houses her three industrial dehydrators and her industrial sewing machine.
She got started making leashes and collars after she saw something online that she really liked and thought, “I can make that.”
In addition to the leash/collar designs she creates, she’ll make whatever anyone wants. She’s done themes including nautical, preppy, Irish, military, you name it!
To keep up with demand, Jane, who is also a dog walker, makes treats almost every day.
Customers are thankful for the crazy dog lady because they have peace of mind knowing they are giving their dogs all-natural treats.