Training & Communications Manager Jess Celebrates 5 Years at Downtown Dogs

As part of our ongoing series for readers to learn more about the folks who care for the pups here at Downtown Dog, let’s hear from Jess: 

Q: What led you to work in the animal field/business?

A: I’ve always had an affinity for animals! Even as a young kid I was always checking out “Dog/Cat Fancy” magazines from my elementary school library along with any books about drawing all kinds of animals! After graduating college with a degree in studio arts, I felt like I needed a job that fulfilled a different part of my soul and ended up working in the animal care industry!

Q: How did you come to find employment at Downtown Dogs?

A: After some experience in the animal field, I wanted to join a team that was led by a management group that aligned with my morals and ethics around dog culture. I read about Ralph’s story on the Downtown Dogs website – how he came to own the business ten years ago, and his passion for caring for dogs. When I came in to fill out an application, I instantly felt positive  energy as I was genuinely welcomed by the person at the front desk (who turned out to be none other than Downtown Dogs’ General Manager, Lindsay)! It didn’t take long for me to know that Downtown Dogs was the right fit for me! 

Q: What are your favorite and most rewarding parts of working at Downtown Dogs?

A: I appreciate Downtown Dogs for our commitment to working with every dog as an individual. It is so rewarding figuring out how to set dogs up for their own comfort and success! I love getting the opportunity to work with dogs that require some extra trust building and handling techniques to help them find success in a daycare environment!

Q: What advice would you give parents of dogs going to daycare for the first time or returning to daycare after a break.

A: Remember that dogs like their routines! When beginning a new routine, ease into it slowly but steadily. Depending on the pup — and as parents’ needs allow — it can be smart to start a new daycare regime with shorter stays and every other day, rather than several, longer days in a row. It’s important to build on positive experiences slowly, giving time for the dog to adjust and develop trusting relationships with new people, playmates, and environments. 

Q: Can you tell us about your own dog (and/or other pets)?

A: I have an Australian Cattle Dog/Great Pyrenees/Lab mix named Banksy! He sure is cute and very smart but is especially suspicious of new people. His distrust is shown by barking incessantly while giving folks the side eye. After a lot of treats and allowing him to come to you in his own time, he finally realizes that he does like people. It took a lot of trust building, patience, and cooperative care work for Banks to trust me to do his nails and any grooming related services! Aside from being what I like to call “spicy,” he loves to do nose work and explore all that the outdoors has to offer!

Q: Besides being a pup parent, what are your interests outside of work?

A: Outside of work I’m usually hiking or exploring with my partner. I enjoy fishing, rock collecting, and reading. Additionally, you’ll often find me in my art studio working with acrylic paint, pastels, and other mixed media materials!

Q: What has working with dogs taught you about life?

Life is short. Our time with our fur babies is short and things can change in the blink of an eye. Appreciating our loved ones and the small things in life helps us stay present and live life intentionally every day. Working with animals has helped me develop a spiritual and instinctual connection with them that has given me a sense of purpose. So, having an animal in one’s life is a direct link to pure joy!

Ralph shares that every interaction Jess has with a dog in our care highlights her many years of dog handling experience. He says, “Jess’s depth of knowledge gives her a wide range of tools and techniques to help each dog have a great experience. And she does a great job sharing those skills with the other employees to help make them better dog handlers. Whether she knows it or not, Jess is also a skilled ‘process person’ and that shines through in the training materials, job aids, and standard procedures that she develops for Downtown Dogs.”

Erin, our Chief Administrative Officer, says “Jess is one of the most punctual, reliable, and organized employees we have ever had! She keeps up with communication with clients and staff, helps avoid anything slipping through the cracks and has a tremendous amount of dog knowledge/pack management experience.”

 Erin adds, “She has a true passion for helping each and every dog and showing them the best day they can have! Jess does great with our more reluctant dogs, who need some extra time to trust new people. She leads by example with how she handles the dogs with kindness, patience and understanding. If an employee is struggling to handle a certain dog she will personally show them what to do, what the dog is telling us and explain all the different approaches we can take to make the dog feel comfortable with us. She does a fantastic job in identifying if a dog needs a schedule change, an extra nap, or is maybe just having a rough day and talking to parents about what the dog is communicating and what options we have for them to be successful.”









If you feel like your pup could benefit from socialization, play time, and the expert care of Jess and the rest of the Downtown Dogs team, give us a call at 612-374-3647 to schedule an evaluation. We’d love to meet you and your pup!

 Abbe is our Retail & Community Outreach Liaison and the editor behind all Downtown Dogs and Dog’s Day Out blogs. A life-long dog lover in her own right, Abbe is wife to Downtown Dogs and Dog’s Day Out owner Ralph (whom she calls “the Big Dog”). Together they parent resident bloggers Frannie, Helen, and Lyle.