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Salisbury woman fostering her 40th dog in need over Christmas

While most of us will be spending Christmas Day opening presents and enjoying time with loved ones, doggie foster carer Jo Heather will be busy caring for her 40th foster dog. 

Jo, from Salisbury, is a foster carer through Dogs Trust’s Home From Home scheme which launched in 2015. It finds foster homes for dogs that need a little extra TLC and time out from the hustle and bustle of the rehoming centre, such as young puppies, older dogs and those who have previously lived in a home all their life.

Jo will be fostering Nelly, a one-year old Chihuahua cross who was handed into the rehoming centre when she was five months old and her owners couldn’t afford her vets bills.

For Jo, fostering has brought many benefits. Not only does she help to care for dogs in need whilst they await a permanent home, but it has allowed her to rekindle her love for painting, and says it’s all down to the four-legged friends she has brought into her home. She has taken the time to hand paint a picture of every single dog that she has cared for 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 like to use the time to sit quietly during an evening, with a tired dog curled up by my side and paint away. It’s very therapeutic for both of us.”  

Dogs Trust Salisbury Fostering Scheme in numbers


dogs spending Christmas in a foster home


dogs rehomed from the scheme this year alone


dogs who have spent time in foster homes in 2019

4 weeks

average amount of time spent in a foster home

This Christmas, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, wants to remind people that ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®’ and to encourage people not to rush into buying a dog, especially at Christmas time. For anyone who wants a four-legged friend in their life but can’t commit to having a dog long-term, fostering could be the ideal solution.

Emma Sainsbury, Co-ordinator of the Home from Home fostering scheme at Dogs Trust Salisbury, said: 

“We believe a dog is for life, not just for Christmas® and our fantastic volunteer foster carers really do show our dogs the love behind this statement; encouraging them to reach their full potential and giving them a safe and loving environment to enjoy whilst they wait for their new families. 

“Our team of volunteer foster carers are amazing and allow us to look after even more dogs as every dog in foster care frees up a kennel for another dog in need.” 

As well as owning her own dog, Sid, a Miniature Schnauzer, Jo has fostered 40 dogs since she joined the scheme in 2017 including her first foster dog, Jack Russell Terrier, Mimi, a Cavapoo called Teddy and a Pug called Barry. 

Jo said:

“Being a foster carer is so rewarding. Seeing the change in the dog as they settle into a home environment and their little personalities shine through is amazing. We love lavishing our attention on them and taking them into our home while they wait to be adopted. This Christmas we’re looking forward to celebrating the festivities with Nelly and spoiling him/her with lots of love, toys and festive fun!” 

There are 17 active foster families who help to take in dogs in need, but Dogs Trust Salisbury is always looking for more foster carers to call upon. 

Visit to find out more about how you can help.