Pooch treat bakery helping prisoners re-enter society
A GERMAN-engineered, healthy dog treat, founded in Ipswich, baked at Borallon Training and Correctional Centre that all started with a smelly fart - sounds far-fetched?
But this is the story of young entrepreneur and German national Katharina von Heusinger who moved to Ipswich for love.
She ended up staying here to create a business selling healthy dog treats and works at Borallon prison rehabilitating offenders.
Ms von Heusinger always wanted to work with animals so after studying, she went abroad for work experience.
She travelled from Europe via Singapore where she met partner Reiner Adolfsen, who is from Ipswich.
"We stayed in contact, we travelled through New Zealand together and fell in love," she said.
The pair travelled through New Zealand together and had an unforgettable time.
"Then it was back to reality. I went back to Europe and started a job in market research for the animal health industry. I decided after two years, in 2015, I would move to (Reiner's) place in Ipswich," Ms von Heusinger said.
"(After I moved in) Reiner already had a dog.
"He could do a lot of tricks, and we gave him lots of treats but suddenly he started passing smelly wind.
"We had friends over; they thought it was very funny."
But Ms von Heusinger realised the food they fed the dog was affecting his health - and his stinky emissions.
It was then that her business, The Golden Bone Bakery, was born.
"I looked at the ingredients of the treats and they were full of sugar and preservatives and artificial colours and flavours to make it look like a meaty treat, but it's not," she said.
"There's so much misconception in the market. When I walked into the pet shop and supermarket, I was shocked at how cheaply produced all the treats are and how hard it was to find natural treats.
"We started at home, doing all of the treats, then the demand grew and we couldn't keep up.
"I became a member of the entrepreneur's club, Fire Station 101.
"First, I got into the Ipswich club to use their commercial kitchen but we grew out of it.
"Borallon Training and Correctional Centre is working with a social program called Work Restart."
This work seeks to rehabilitate the prisoners by giving them money and a skill set upon their release.
"We do a pre-mix to keep the recipe a secret. We do that at home and then we bring the bucket into the prison and they can use that, add the coconut oil to it and then they bake, pack, label, heat seal - they do everything and (the treats) are handmade," Ms von Heusinger.
"We employ six inmates to do the job and we have 30 on our waitlist.
"The re-offending rate in Queensland is 44 per cent, which is quite shocking and really expensive, but that rate drops to 7 per cent through the people who got released through (Work Restart).
Ms von Heusinger needs more stockists for The Golden Bone Bakery snacks. Health-conscious pooch owners can snag treats from Market Organics and the RSPCA.