Dogs Trust

Dedicated doggie foster carer creates her very own ‘Paw-casso’

A dedicated doggie foster carer who has helped care for more than 30 rescue dogs has rekindled her love for painting, and says it’s all down to the four-legged friends she has brought into her home. 

Jo Heather from Salisbury started fostering dogs through Dogs Trust Salisbury’s Home From Home scheme in 2017 and has taken the time to hand paint a picture of every single dog that has come into her home. From Collies to Terriers, puppies to oldies, each one has given her hours of relaxation as she captures their likeness whilst they sleep. 

Jo said:

“I studied Fine Art a few years ago but life got in the way and I had not picked up a paint brush for some time. But once I started fostering, our doggy visitors inspired me to revive my love of painting. I have always been inspired by nature, wildlife and animals, so I like to use the time to sit quietly during an evening, with a tired dog curled up by my side and draw and paint away. It’s very therapeutic for both of us.” 

Jo says that she’s always been a supporter of the charity but officially decided to get involved when she stumbled across an advert for foster carers at the rehoming centre in Newton Tony while she was dropping off some doggy donations and has never looked back. 

Jo added:

“As my daughters were growing up, we would often visit the centre with donations and we were always in awe of the people who worked there and the valuable role Dogs Trust played. During one visit two years ago, we saw a poster highlighting the need for foster homes and thought that might be a way to get involved and play a positive part in a dog’s life.  

“After a visit from the Home from Home coordinator, Emma Sainsbury, our minds were made up. She explained the support we would receive from Dogs Trust and the type of dogs who benefit from being in a foster home. It is so rewarding to see a dog starting to trust, to learn to play again or start to enjoy walks after being nervous of the outdoors. We have attended various Dog School classes that have really helped with our understanding of dogs, but above all we just open our home and enjoy offering a safe space, full of care & kindness. We have had some wonderful dogs of all ages and we are always so happy to see them find their forever homes. It really warms your heart.”

Emma Sainsbury, Home From Home Co-ordinator at Dogs Trust Salisbury, explains:

“We are so incredibly lucky to have a fantastic network of foster carers like Jo. The Home From Home scheme is there to help our doggies whilst they wait to be adopted, but it’s also so heartwarming to see how the dogs can help their foster carers discover things about themselves too. 

“We believe a dog is for life and our fantastic fosterers really do show our dogs the meaning behind this statement, giving them a safe and loving environment to enjoy whilst they wait for their new families. For anyone who is a dog lover but dog-less and who wants a four-legged friend in their life but can’t commit to having a dog long-term, fostering could be the perfect solution.” 

For more information on the foster scheme at Dogs Trust Salisbury, please call 0300 303 0292 or email [email protected].