Rozzie & Me: Hannalore Tice
The Rozzie & Me blog series is guest-written by RVMS Marketing Committee Volunteer Kelly Ransom. Kelly will be interviewing residents, business-owners, and folks from all walks-of-life who make Roslindale a special place to live and work.
Roslindale is home to lots and lots of dogs and dog-lovers alike, but Hannalore Tice, owner of Boston For the Dogs, might be the Rozzident who loves dogs the most. Today, we are chatting with Hannalore about how she started her small business, how Boston could be more dog-friendly, and why the RVMS Summer Farmers Market is the perfect place to bring your pooch.
Kelly: Where are you from originally?
Hannalore: I am originally from Hudson Valley in New York. I moved around quite a bit after high school, throughout college and after college. I went to school in Albany and then moved down to Georgia, and that's when I got into dog rescue -- I found an abandoned pitbull on the side of the road. Throughout my childhood I volunteered at the New England Aquarium. My degree is in education and marine biology, so I ended up coming up here for a teaching job at the Aquarium for the summer, and then I just never left.
KR: When did you move to Roslindale?
HT: I'm in my fifth year of living in Roslindale. I was originally living in Brighton when I moved up here, and it just wasn't really kind of like the life of a community that I was looking for. I felt like it was a lot of temporary people because it's mostly students and college kids. I was looking around and I just couldn't really find anything that I liked. It's also extremely difficult to find something that's dog-friendly, and I had three dogs. So, I found a cool dog friendly place, a rental, in Roslindale. When I came out here it kind of changed my life a little bit. I loved it, and I feel like such a local now.
KR: Tell me about Boston For the Dogs.
HT: Working with a lot of rescue dogs and volunteering for a local rescue, I kept finding that a lot of dogs were getting re-homed or clients were having a really hard time with their dogs because they just weren't getting enough structure and exercise. I had a pitbull that needed structure and exercise because she was super young, and the success I had with her sparked the idea. I had a part time job for a little while walking dogs when I lived in the Brighton area, and it made me realize that I might be able to turn this passion into a career; to do my own thing but in my own way. I started Boston For the Dogs, and it worked!
The cool thing about BFTD is that it was developed with a community in mind. Everything that BFTD does is for the dogs, so that our clients and their dogs can live a better life, together. Our core focus is DO MORE WITH YOUR DOG! The style of training that I use isn't about having an obedient dog; it's about having a stable and happy dog. It is mostly me training people the value of simply doing more with their dogs. I love helping dogs that previously had no training learn to be good dogs; how to follow proper social skills. It's just awesome to be a part of the transformation, of both the dogs and their owners. Everyone ends up so much happier.
Boston for the Dogs stands alone in what we do. We are a dog-walking company, but if you are looking for someone who is just going to come in-and-out and just check on your dog, then we are not the company for you. We are invested in the dogs, in their humans and most importantly in their relationships. We don't call our clients "clients." We call them family, and when the family has a problem, we all join forces to solve it in the best way we can, together.
KR: How many staff do you have?
HT: Currently, we have eight staff. I started out with just me, and it stayed that way for about three years. Then my friend Gian started helping me one day week just so that I could have one slow day and do business stuff. When Corey came on with me two years ago everything just took off. Now, we feature a wide array of skills by our handlers. Some of our handlers on the team are really good with the senior dogs. A couple of the team members love the high energy playgroup dogs. Corey and I love the pitbulls and the shepherds that need training, structure and love to hike. Each person on the team perfectly falls in line with all the needs of all the dogs that we have in our Boston for the Dogs Family and everyone benefits!
KR: Do you provide the majority of your services in Roslindale?
HT: We have a very large service area, and I also know that it's slowly growing which is awesome. We've had a few clients that have moved to Roslindale just so they could be close to us, which is cool. We have a lot of dogs, and they all have different backgrounds and training. We have some dogs that go out with us on our hikes. We have some dogs that are part of our playgroups. We're out here in Roslindale every day, and about 60 percent of our clients are here. We also service JP and West Roxbury.
KR: Do you think Roslindale is dog-friendly and how could it become more dog friendly?
HT: I think that Roslindale really wants to be dog-friendly. It really, really does. A lot of the rules and restrictions that are put in place are because of city and state-wide health codes. The style of businesses that our community has does make it very difficult to be dog-friendly. I find that there are a lot of people advocating for more dog-friendly stuff. Right now, everybody wants a dog.
A way that could make it better for dogs is by having some more dog-friendly patio places. That would help create a more dog-friendly atmosphere. There are lots of opportunities. I think some dogs really do love, need, and enjoy dog parks. Dog parks are a great social place for humans and dogs. There are lots of places that we could provide a space for dogs within our community.
My biggest complaint in the Roslindale dog world is that it seems incredibly difficult for everybody to pick up their dog's poop, but I think it is because there is a lack of garbage cans. I find that people are not cleaning up because they don't want to be carrying used bags around. When you're walking around, you realize you must carry that garbage for so far and then sometimes you end up with a mess.
I'm hoping that over the next couple of years Roslindale does become more dog-friendly. It's difficult because a lot of housing is not dog-friendly.
KR: Besides dog-related things, what else would you to like to see happen in Roslindale in the future?
HT: I'm excited to see the breweries come in. I would love to see more of a nightlife in Roslindale. I would love to see a couple more bars -- and bars with space for live music or open mic nights. Roslindale is home to so many local musicians and artists and I feel like if we're not providing spaces right here then we're not keeping money in our community. I am still young and there are young people moving into our community, and they all have to leave and go downtown or to JP. I feel like we're really missing out on some great stuff.
Also, I'm not going to lie, I would love to see a Trader Joe's. I think that the dynamic of having access to that food would be great.
I also think that having more universal spaces that could be used by the community for co-working would work well. I don't necessarily want to rent an office, but also at the same time I don't want to keep working in my living room. It makes it very difficult for work life balance. I keep going down to WeWork for big business meetings, and I don't want to do that. That's an hour of commuting just to get down there, and I'm leaving Roslindale even though my business is based in Roslindale.
KR: What's your favorite thing about Roslindale?
HT: One of my favorite things about Roslindale is that the community is evolving. It is fun seeing the culture and the arts that the new people are bringing in are starting to really take shape. I also love the fact that slowly we're kind of getting everything that we need here. Rozzie has all my favorite restaurants and most of my favorite stores and they are all within a ten-minute drive from my home. Everything I need is right here at my fingertips. I just wish I could take my dog into some of those places. I need a dog-life balance.
KR: Do you have a favorite Roslindale event?
HT: I love the RVMS Summer Farmers Market because I can bring the dogs there. Sometimes I have a table at the market, and I don't have anything to sell. We offer coloring and a dog-petting station. It's a great way for everyone to come over and meet the dogs. I think it's a great opportunity for us to tell people in the community what services we offer and for them to meet the team. I loved Savor the Square last year. I love all the food in Roslindale.
KR: Do you have a favorite memory of Roslindale?
HT: Honestly, most of my favorite memories are dog-related. Some of my favorite memories are at Peters Hill when we take our dogs and some of our clients' dogs and having class up there. We have so much fun in the class that I teach. It’s a natural classroom, and we work on teaching the dogs social skills. The humans are super-relaxed, and we just hang out, and it's a fun opportunity for all of us. Those memories are my favorite. Being able to live in a place where I can teach class in an outdoor space is awesome as well.