Everyone’s path to employment is unique, and so are St. Francis House’s workforce development services.
To strengthen our portfolio of options, St. Francis House partnered with The Urban Hound, Boston’s premier dog care, training, and grooming facility, to open The Urban Hound at St. Francis House in October 2019 offering relevant and accessible hands-on employment training for our guests.
Through a 6-month paid internship, the Dog Care Academy provides skill-based training and creates career pathways in the growing pet care industry for the individuals St. Francis House serves. Currently, the Dog Care Academy is in its first session at both The Urban Hound at St. Francis House at 50 Boylston St. and the Urban Hound’s flagship location in the South End.
While this new initiative brings a much-needed amenity to the downtown Boston neighborhood, it also gives an opportunity for the local community to get involved with making a difference in the lives of our guests. Humphrey the Boston Terrier has been spending more and more time at The Urban Hound at St. Francis House, and we got a chance to chat with his mom, Heather Campbell, dedicated volunteer and longtime friend of St. Francis House, about bringing Humphrey to The Urban Hound! Heather and Humphrey are pictured here with Humphrey’s favorite Urban Hound supervisor, Jillian.
- First, please introduce yourself and your pup!
Humphrey and I live in an apartment near Boston Common with my husband and the youngest of our three grown children. (The oldest, by the way, is a staff accountant at St. Francis House!)
As a family we’ve been in the Boston area for over twenty years, which for me is the second time I’ve lived in Boston, since I also went to school and had my first couple of jobs here. Humphrey is our second Boston terrier, just over a year old, and still full of puppy energy.
- Tell me more about your experience with St. Francis House – when did you learn about us?
I’ve been aware of St. Francis House for a long time but really got to know it first-hand when we moved downtown from the suburbs in 2014.
- How long have you been volunteering? Why do you volunteer with St. Francis House? Do you volunteer with other organizations?
I’ve been volunteering in the kitchen, and to a lesser extent in the clothing room, since 2014.
When we moved downtown I was looking for local opportunities to volunteer, and St. Francis House is not only nearby but also addressing an issue that has become more and more prevalent in the city over time, the problem of homelessness.
All of us who are fortunate enough to have a home know how important that is, not just for the obvious reasons that it provides shelter, stability, and a base of operations for our lives, but also for our overall sense of wellbeing and our physical health. But especially when you live downtown, you realize there are so many people who are deprived of these essential benefits because of circumstances that have developed in their lives in spite of their best efforts to change them. That realization is more than enough motivation to volunteer st SFH.
On top of that, though, I’d also like to say that it’s a lot of fun – the camaraderie among the volunteers I work with on a regular basis means that I really look forward to my mornings in the kitchen!
In the past, I was a volunteer for over ten years at REACH, an organization that provides shelter and services for survivors of domestic violence, and for several years was President of its Board of Directors.
- When you first heard about Urban Hound at St. Francis House, what was your reaction?
Great idea! The neighborhood really needed a “doggy daycare” facility, and what better than one that will also provide job training for the guests of St. Francis House?
- What was the decision to start bringing Humphrey to Urban Hound?
We often need someone to look after Humphrey when we all have commitments outside the home and had never previously found a really satisfactory solution in the neighborhood. Just as important, dogs also need socialization with other dogs, and a day at the Urban Hound gives Humphrey more of that than we can otherwise provide.
- Will Humphrey continue going to Urban Hound? What does he like most about his days at dog daycare?
If it were left to him, Humphrey would be at the Urban Hound every day! In fact, whenever we take him for a walk on the Tremont Street side of the Common, he thinks that’s where he’s going and starts pulling on his leash and trying to get across the street to his buddies at the day camp! If we then start heading away in the other direction, he locks his legs in an attempt to change our minds.
What does he like most? Running around with a toy in his mouth, egging the other dogs on to chase him. We’re told that he does that all day long! And then when he comes home, he sleeps like a baby.
Luxury. Comfort. Style. Community: The Urban Hound is open for daycare 7 days a week and offers both full and half-day daycare options, structured walks, and training and grooming services. Dog Care Academy interns spend a significant amount of time as onsite to gain hands-on experience, develop transferable skills, and learn about the industry under the guidance of Urban Hound professionals.
Learn more about The Urban Hound at St Francis House or stay up to date by following The Urban Hound at St. Francis House on Facebook!