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202 Forest Street
Jacksonville, FL 32204

Meet Stephanie! A FOJA Artist Series Designer!


Meet Stephanie! A FOJA Artist Series Designer!

Amy Samson

With the launch of the Artist Series Merchandise, we thought it would be nice to showcase the artists involved with the project and get to know them a little better. Check out Stephanie! She has created two designs for FOJA to use on shirts (and other products) for our fundraising project! Don't forget to get your pre-order in now to insure you get yours in August! Shop here!

Stephanie and her husband Jim (also a designer/illustrator that will be featured later in the year), and their two dogs, Archie and Skips.

Stephanie and her husband Jim (also a designer/illustrator that will be featured later in the year), and their two dogs, Archie and Skips.

1. Name, title, and website:

Stephanie Ward

I am a freelance Graphic Designer, formerly living in Jacksonville but currently working in Oregon.


2. Why did you want to help FOJA?

I have two little shi tzu mixes that have made such an incredibly positive impact on my life. They’re both rescue dogs~ Archie was found at a Georgia flea market sharing a cage with chickens, and Skips was found in the woods in Clay County. It wasn’t until they shaved down his matted fur that they discovered he was injured and missing a foot. Thanks to some seriously heroic people, our dogs were able to find a home with us, and I'm thankful for them every day. It is because of the efforts of people and organizations like FOJA that dogs like Archie and Skips are able to start a new, happy life. FOJA’s dedication and mission is so crucial to the care and protection of animals in the Jacksonville area. They’ve made such a tremendous impact on our family, and I am happy to do anything I can to help spread the love!


3. What are the name(s) of your pet(s)?

Archie & Skips


4. Why do you feel what FOJA does is important?

Thanks to FOJA’s fundraising efforts, countless animals in Jacksonville have been provided with medical care and a comfortable shelter environment. I especially appreciate their efforts to reduce unnecessary euthanasia (Because of his injuries, Skips was going to be euthanized before some kind souls intervened). And their dedication to educating the public about animal welfare and safety.


5. What are some of your favorite activities that involve your pets?

One of my favorite things to do is be outside in the yard and run around with our dogs. Archie and Skips became fast friends— and their favorite games are tug-of-war, fetch, and “everybody sit on Mom while she’s designing”. Now that we’re in Oregon we’re taking them out more and experiencing nature together.


6. What inspired your design?

Boots n’ Cats was inspired by a co-worker teaching me how to beat box… He told me to “just say boots and cats really fast” and I always thought that was hilarious. Because I went with a loose, doodlie style on my designs, I decided to draw the cats in the exact same style I used to when I was a kid. That was just a throw-back thing that made the design even more fun for me. The same goes for the animal hodgepodge design. It just reminded me of drawing animals in elementary school instead of learning long division. I wanted it to be casual and playful—like my dogs!

7. Share your adoption story:

Archie came to Jim as a puppy~ like I mentioned, his sister was at a flea market in Georgia when she saw this little furball getting pecked at by chickens. So she scooped him up, told the seller he was a bad man, and got him the hell out of here. Jim and Archie have been buddies ever since, and Archie charms the socks off anyone he meets with his huge goofy smile.

Skips came to the Clay County Shelter in really bad shape. When they shaved him, they discovered the foot, as well as bad skin issues on his ears, back, and tail. The staff thought he was so sweet, they allowed him to sleep in the office instead of the shelter, but things still weren’t looking good for him with his injuries. There is a woman named Karen Hettinger who specializes in saving injured animals, and she came and took him home. Amy (with FOJA!) saw her post photos on Facebook, and knew we were looking for a friend for Archie. When we saw him, we couldn’t believe how similar they looked, so we contacted Karen. Skips’ injury was still pretty recent. It was so bad, many vets recommended we amputate the entire leg (I really didn't want to do that to him!). I’m a squeamish person (I faint at the sight of blood), but we had to get that wound healed. So at the recommendation of a vet at the Humane Society, I put raw honey on it every night, and it healed beautifully. He got around fine but limped pretty badly, so after a few failed attempts at home-made peg-legs, we contacted and had a custom-fitted prosthetic made for him. It was about a 2 month long process from getting a cast made, to trying out prototypes, and getting the final boot. Now Skips is fast as hell and comes down with frequent cases of the zooms.