Going the extra mile: Jo dedicates 30 years to helping dogs in need

‘Kenilworth’s Joy Poyner shares her highlights from 30 years working and volunteering for Dogs Trust.

Dogs trust kenilworth worker Jo, posing with dogs Luka and Bingo, in a green field before they found their forever homes.
19th June 2024

Human heroes help us go the extra mile for dogs every day. One such hero is Jo at our Kenilworth rehoming centre, who is celebrating her 30th anniversary at Dogs Trust. Over 30 years, she has done everything she can to help thousands of dogs and puppies find their forever homes.

“I remember being 24, working in boarding kennels and the stray dogs would go to Dogs Trust Kenilworth,” says Jo Poyner. “One day I went to have a look around and it wasn’t long before I was working here looking after 60 lovely dogs!”

Jo went on to become one of the first Canine Carers and spent seven happy years caring for hundreds of pups in our kennels. In 2019, she swapped kennel life for working in reception and being a friendly face for potential adopters and local supporters.

Whatever her job title, Jo has always done what she can for pooches that needed an extra helping hand. She says, “I take dogs that aren’t getting interest, or have no history, home for the weekend to see how they are.” This information means adopters have a picture painted for them of how a dog may be in a home and gives dogs the best chance of finding a perfect match.

Meeting Misty

One dog that Jo helped on her path to her future home was Misty.

“Misty could find kennels overwhelming and would bark a lot. He’d had no interest and I really wanted to help, so I took him home.” Jo had three dogs herself at the time, and the four pooches became the best of friends.

He was a completely different dog in the home. He was so affectionate and a pleasure to have around. We also found out that he was house-trained!


Misty went home with Jo for many weekends as she wrote notes about him and got more photos of the adorable chap. After over six months, a family walked in and asked about Misty. They talked to Jo about how he was in the home and it wasn’t long before he was adopted and in his forever home.

“They still have him and they’ve kept in touch with me over the years and send me updates!” Jo adds.

Giving dogs their happiest final chapter

Being front of house at Kenilworth, Jo becomes a friend to all the dogs at the centre. And she does, of course, have sadder stories. “A Rottweiler came in once who sadly had not long to live. I had just lost my other dog, so I took him home to give him the best life for whatever time he had left.”

This is only one of the later-in-life dogs Jo has cared for. From serious health issues to behavioural challenges, Jo's door has always been open for after-work snuggles at home. Whether it’s a night, a weekend or more, Jo says harder times are worth it for knowing she gave an older dog the happiest closing chapter she could.

Dogs trust kenilworth worker Jo, sitting on a wooden bench enjoying a treat break with a tan adult long-term dog called Jaymee (now Mimi).

What puts a smile on Jo’s face after the harder times is seeing how some dogs transform in our care. This is thanks to having access to our trainers, vet care, real-life rooms (which get them ready for living in a home), and socialisation with other dogs.

“We get some very scared dogs come in, but it’s so rewarding seeing them come out of their shell and learn to trust you. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job!” Jo also notes that she loves getting her “dog fix” of the day when some of the long-term dogs hang out in reception with her (and maybe get a treat).

“I always know I’m making a difference”

Jo says her time at Dogs Trust has been a rollercoaster. She says she will always treasure the happy days of staff tears because a dog has finally got a forever home after sometimes years of waiting. 

“In my time, we’ve never seen so many people wanting to hand their dogs over and you can’t help but get attached.” She adds: “One moment you can have a huge high and the next get some sad news, but through it all, the dogs make it all worth it.”

Dogs don’t ask to be here. People have put them in situations that led to them being here or handed them over here, and we do the best we can to make up for that.


Jo says what has led to three decades of working and volunteering for Dogs Trust is knowing she is always doing something worthwhile. “After the busiest day and going home knackered, I always go home knowing I made a difference.”

“It may be only a drop in the ocean compared to some things, but you’ve made a difference. The dogs don’t ask to be here. People have put them in situations that led to them being here or handed them over here, and we do the best we can to make up for that.”

We need your help too

Our volunteers and staff like Jo go the extra mile wherever they can, but we still need your help to continue caring for dogs in need. Support us in giving dogs all the training, healthcare, and support they need to have their happiest next chapter.

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