Retired army veteran Colin Wayne has become a successful entrepreneur and social media influencer, and he owes it to his own real-life influences – his dogs.
Colin Wayne is a retired decorated army veteran who was injured eight years ago in Afghanistan. He was hit by a rocket attack and miraculously survived. Since coming back from war, he has recovered and gone on to create a multimillion-dollar company in Redline Steel, and has garnered an Instagram following of over 500 thousand. By his side though through it all? His canine companion – a golden doodle named Honey. According to Colin, he owes much of his positive mindset post-war to this sweet pup. We sat down with him to chat about his experience in Iraq and how dogs have changed his life.
AW: Before you deployed to Iraq back in 2009, you had a dog named Gunner. Was it difficult leaving him behind?
CW: Saying goodbye to your pet is never easy, not even for a tough guy like myself. Regardless of how far apart you are, the love you have for your pet never fades. Although I was pretty sad leaving Gunner, I knew he would be well-taken care of and would receive the appropriate attention. Fortunately, my mom was helpful in taking care of Gunner so much that they both grew quite affectionate towards one another and he ended up becoming her dog permanently.
AW: You now have a family of your own and a new golden doodle named Honey. What about this mixed breed do you like?
CW: I think the best characteristic of a golden doodle is their lovable personality and overall gentle demeanor around others.
AW: How is Honey with your family?
CW: One of the things my wife and I discussed when searching for a family pet was their long-term health. With three children, two of which are ages 3 and 1, it was extremely important for us to find a dog that could grow up alongside the kids. Honey has been a huge blessing to my family, especially my two daughters who love spending as much time as they can with her.
AW: How does having a dog help your mindset as an entrepreneur and CEO?
CW: There are so many things we can learn from a dog’s behavior and playful personality. From their natural resiliency to their unbreakable bond and loyal companionship for their family, dogs can teach all of us a thing or two about being unapologetically happy with who we are on a daily basis. With all the different technology readily available in our hands, it’s ironic how easily we can be disconnected from others.
AW: Do you have any advice for other veterans who are looking at adopting or getting a dog of their own? Would you recommend one?
CW: Absolutely! It’s no secret that dogs can produce numerous benefits such as lowering anxiety and depression due to their innate ability to provide emotional support in times of distress. Many Veterans have a hard time acclimating back into civilian life after deployment and it’s important to have someone by your side that is consistently there for you without judgement or asking for anything in return… well, besides a treat or two. In other cases, disabled veterans rely and depend on service dogs for a variety of tasks and assistance in everyday life. While there’s many heroes within our veteran community, some of these heroes have four legs that are helpful rehabilitating our soldiers upon their return home.
AW: Your company has a whole product line of dog-related steel monograms. Has your relationship with your dogs helped to inspire your creativity for this line?
CW: I think owning a dog has definitely sparked some creative ideas with regards to our dog-related designs. Not only have my furry friends starred in various ads/marketing videos in the past, but I also know from first-hand experience and can relate to what families want for their pet.
AW: Do you agree with the old adage “A dog is a man’s best friend”?
CW: Definitely. The mutually symbiotic relationship between a dog and a human is elevated due to their natural ability to stay in the present moment without thinking about the future or regretting anything from the past. No matter what happens in your life, you know that at the end of the day, your dog is going to have your back and express the same enthusiasm and unconditional love towards you when you’re together.