Dogs Trust Harefield is celebrating the invaluable difference that its incredible 100 helpers make to homeless hounds, such as Julianne Hicks who has donated almost 1,400 hours to the charity.

Julianne’s role as volunteer differs drastically to her day job as the corporate services director at the world's largest steel trading company, Stemcor Group.

Volunteering at the West London charity for the past five years, Julianne gives up every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays to help out the rehoming centre.

Her role includes providing a friendly face on reception, helping to walk the 130 homeless dogs and cleaning kennels. 

Julianne Hicks, from Kensington, said: “As the Corporate Services Director of a large firm, I have a wide area of responsibility, with my job requiring a lot of energy, positive determination and extremely long hours.

“However, I wanted to give something back in an area close to my heart.

“Sadly, my dog Daisy passed away six years ago, leaving me completely devastated.

“I couldn't bear to get another pet straight away but I loved dogs so much I wanted to be around them again to get over the sadness.

“I thought that if I could spend time with dogs that really needed some extra love it would be the healing I needed, and it was.

“It was crucial that I volunteered somewhere with a non-destruction policy, as in my eyes every life is a life and we don't have the right to end it unless it's the only humane option.”

Julianne explains: “My role is so varied – from welcoming visitors to the rehoming centre and helping them find dogs that are suitable for them to adopt, to assisting with the masses of laundry.

“Sundays are my favourite as I get to spend time with our four-legged friends in the kennels; cuddles, cleaning, walking and playing with them. 

“Cuddle time is meant to be relaxing for them but really it's the best medicine for us humans!”

After five years of volunteering at Dogs Trust the inevitable happened; Julianne adopted overlooked pooch, Miss Piggy.

Julianne said: “She had a tough time before coming to the rehoming centre, which sadly meant she was very nervous of strangers, especially men, but we developed a bond.

“Miss Piggy was also overlooked as she was an older girl, at 12-years-old, and has arthritis meaning she will be on medication for the rest of her life.

“She is the cuddliest and most affectionate dog once she has got to know you.

“Her story really tugged at my heart-strings and it wasn't long until my heart had been stolen and she had to come home!”

It is doggy day care for Miss Piggy during the day, who has a canine nanny while Julianne is at work.

Juliane concluded: “I am so happy to have been able to give her the comfy and loving retirement home that she so badly needed, and I can honestly say that she gives me so much more than I've given her.”

Dogs Trust Harefield would love to hear from caring, hardworking volunteers and committed foster carers. If you are interested in getting involved, please call the rehoming centre directly on 0300 303 0292 or visit