Jack - The little lost JRT dog who started Jo Lyons vocation in shelter photography

Jack – The little lost JRT dog who started it all



It was 18 March 2011, and I remember it was a late, cloudy Friday afternoon in early Autumn.  I was driving to the park with my dogs Ruby and Daisy in the back of the car when up ahead on a semi-busy road, I spotted a small dog standing in the middle of the road.  I pulled over, got out and approached him and he ran off the road and into a driveway.  There was nobody around and he wasn’t wearing a collar or any ID.

It was getting late and there was no way in the world I was going to leave him there in danger, so I scooped him up and placed him in the car on the front passenger seat next to me and headed home.  The other dogs in the back went nuts… not only because they weren’t getting the walk they were so looking forward too, but because I put a strange little dog not only in the car, but in the front seat!


When we got home, I gave him a warm bath and a warm meal and settled him in for the night after introducing him to our dogs.

Once we’d all eaten and the house was settled, I took some photos of him and jumped online to try and find out if he was reported as being lost.  This lead to me going onto FB to find pages where I could post his photos and try to find his family.

Well it actually lead me down the rabbit hole of the rescue world and it was during this online adventure that I discovered the Renbury Farm Animal Shelter Facebook page.  I truly thought it was like an animal resort for lost animals… it looked so welcoming on the website.  (Stay tuned for a future blog post where I will tell the story of how I first experienced Renbury and how that lead to thousands of animals over 5 years finding a forever home through the power of photography).

Little lost dog even slept on our bed that night, must to Daisy’s confusion, but she really didn’t mind.


So the next morning it was a warm and sunny Saturday.  After breakfast, Neal and I took little lost dog to our local vet to have him scanned for a microchip.

It turned out that I’d actually scooped him up from his very own driveway!  His family were ecstatic to receive the call and told the vet they were happy for us to drop him back at their home.  When we got to their front door, they were very relieved to get their little dog back, and grateful that I’d actually taken him home, as someone had left the gate open and they weren’t home. 

Oh, and by the way, his name… it was Jack.


A few months ago I was driving home from the park on a winter’s morning.  As I turned right into this very same street where Jack lived, I couldn’t believe my eyes … there he was again!  This time on the edge of the road outside his same home, but not a sign of anyone around.

I pulled the car over and ran back to him… again he ran in to the driveway, but this time I guided him to the front door (he was a little snappy and very old now).  I rang the doorbell, and before long the same woman I’d met when I handed him back seven years ago opened the door.  I quickly explained who I was and she remembered.  She told me that sometimes when her husband packs the ute for work, Jack wanders out to the front yard, but normally goes back in before her husband drives off.  He must have been hidden in the bushes sniffing away, and hubby assumed he’d gone back inside and headed out the driveway and off to work!

Jack’s Mum and I stopped for a little chat … and she told me how he was very old now and not in the best of health.  Her little dog was the catalyst for my shelter photography vocation so I told her how he started it all, and promised to send her an email with my website so she could see for herself what her little dog had done for the world of animal rescue.  Since then, I haven’t seen little Jack again, he may still be pottering around the backyard, and I’m certain they will make sure he doesn’t get “lost” again.  I’m pretty sure I won’t “find” him again out front.

So I hope you enjoyed reading this story of what lead me on this path of animal rescue and pet photography.  I’d love to meet and photograph your dog so please get in touch if you’d love me to create some beautiful memories for you.

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  1. Sonika Schroeder on 2 May, 2019 at 1:24 am

    Hi Jo
    I’m a self taught artist from South Africa who now lives in the USA and I, like you, love dogs more than life! They are the topic of most of my art and my truest inspiration. I stumbled upon your work when I was searching for a specific dog on Pinterest. I immediately fell in love with the image I saw. When I clicked on it I saw your name and website. I was so thrilled that there was more to see of your enchanting work, capturing the true spirit of our fascinating furry friends. Those action shots are so spirited! But then again there are no shots of a dog, no angle of any kind that doesn’t captivate my heart.

    I truly admire your work. I loved reading about you and Jack and I honestly hope your dreams come true to move somewhere out into the country to have your little place with a studio and plenty of room for your “overnight guests”. That sounds AMAZING!

    • Jo Lyons on 2 May, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Hi Sonika, Thank you so much for your lovely feedback. It’s certainly been a journey and I love creating memories of these beautiful animals. We have found our paradise by the way… a 44 acre farm just 3 hours north of Sydney. We absolutely love it and will be moving there in a few months so looking forward to a change to country animals and beautiful scenery. All the best with your creative work and love of dogs also. Jo x

  2. Jackie-Bichon on 16 June, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks for the information,my JRT,is a blessing. I had just retired when I got him as a rescue, he keeps me active. He doesn t like other dogs and goes ballistic when he sees them when we are walking.

  3. Deborah Thomas on 6 November, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Hey Jo!! I saw a picture on Flickr of a Brindle Pit that you were trying to get adopted from the Renshaw Animal Shelter back in 2015….was it ever adopted? We have a Brindle pit and my heart went out to him.

  4. Deborah Thomas on 6 November, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    I sent you a comment earlier asking about a brindle pit that you photographed in 2015….I saw that “Seattle” was adopted. Yay!! Hope he had a great life. Thank you for all of the selfless, wonderful work that you have done with your life.

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