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Zoo-per Dogs Trust supporter dedicates life to animal welfare

Dogs Trust supporter Linda Frew has adopted more than 10 rescue dogs in her life, and fostered many more on Dogs Trust’s Home From Home Foster Care Scheme, but she is not your typical dog lover.

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas, but to Linda this doesn’t just apply to dogs. Linda’s dedication to caring for animals extends well beyond her front door, as she is a Senior Zookeeper at Belfast Zoo caring for a wide variety of animals including: primates, big cats, bears and chimps.

Linda has been a supporter of Dogs Trust for almost 10 years and found out about Dogs Trust’s Home From Home foster scheme through a colleague who also worked at Dogs Trust Ballymena. With her wealth of dog handling experience, it wasn’t long before she was hand-rearing puppies and making dogs feel welcome in her home while they waited for their forever homes.

Linda said:

“Fostering is a great way for me to give something back to animals that have played such a big role in my life. I’ve been a zookeeper for almost 30 years and there is no greater feeling than knowing you have helped enrich the life of an animal in need of care.

“Each foster case is different and given my experience in animal behaviour, I have always felt compelled to take on dogs that need a little bit more support than most. Working in a zoo, I’ve found that socialisation is pivotal to an animal’s development and we have even used dogs to help nurture other types of animals.

“One example is Lily, a young lion cub that had been rejected by her mother. When something like this happens it is important the cub doesn’t imprint or rely too heavily on a human as it may lose its ability to effectively interact with others of its kind.

“Lily was introduced to Keepa, an eight-week old Akita who was in my care at the time. The experience was very valuable for Lily as socialising with Keepa helped her learn animal behaviour and how to play and understand the concept of hierarchy in pack animals.

“I remember all my foster dogs and have photos or doggy ornaments to remind me of them, I have quite a collection.”

Stephanie Scott, Home From Home Coordinator at Dogs Trust Ballymena, said:

“We are really grateful for Linda’s dedication to our fostering scheme and she has been such an asset in our rehoming efforts. Linda recently did a fantastic job of hand rearing three Dogs Trust puppies, Doberman Cross siblings Tab, Alys and Etta; who are all thriving now thanks to her.

“Our canine carers are exceptional; all of the dogs in our care receive incredible support, however, nothing nurtures a dog’s development more than a loving home. This is especially true for dogs that have lived in a home for the majority of their life.

“The Home From Home scheme is proving very successful and many dogs have found their forever home as a result. However there is no shortage of dogs that need our support, and we’re always looking for more people to open their hearts and homes to help foster the dogs in our care before they find their special someone.”

Should you be interested in fostering a dog please contact the team at Dogs Trust Ballymena. All foster families receive full support and advice regarding the dog in their care. Dogs Trust also equips them with everything they need such as food, bedding and any veterinary treatment.

For more information about the Home From Home foster scheme, please contact:

Stephanie Scott, Home From Home Coordinator Tel: 02825652977 Mob: 07443 981 710 Email: [email protected]