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Board of Directors

Elise Bissell



Elise Bissell has been passionate about animal rescue since she was a child. She recalls rescuing kittens out of trash cans and injured dogs and cats off the road where she lived in a small west Texas border town called Marfa. She attended Texas Woman's University School of Nursing and graduated top 10 of her class in 1988. After spending several years as a Clinical Nurse at Parkland Memorial Hospital, getting married, having children, and then running her own medical case management businesses, she left the world of nursing for a life entrenched in that of animal rescue. She has always believed that all animals deserve to be loved and live happy, healthy lives. After founding and running Take Me Home Pet Rescue for the past 10 years, an organization whose primary focus is on shelter animals, she has left that organization to start another nonprofit organization that focuses on helping the street dogs of South Dallas. She assisted in forming the City of Richardson Animal Shelter Advisory Commission.

Relle Austin



Relle Austin grew up in the Australian Outback and began rescuing animals at the age of 5 when her parents found a baby wallaby in its dead mothers pouch.  They taught her how to nurture and care for it and since then she has gone on to raise lambs, goats, calves, birds and eventually cats and dogs.  Relle began her tertiary studies at the Queensland Agricultural College and graduated from the University of Queensland, where she learned all she could about animals and their care.  She moved to Texas in 2008 and began volunteering for her local animal rescue where she was a medical foster for some of the sickest intakes and went on to help with animal behavioral assistance and feral rehabilitation. Relle recently discovered her passion for street dogs and is active on the streets of south Dallas, trapping/catching stray dogs and working with people to educate on the importance of spay/neuter, vaccinations and parasite control.

Jana Dodson



Jana was attracted to the rescue field when her youngest son wanted another dog. A mom to 4 boys who are now young men, Jana treasured the countless number of fosters who taught the boys compassion and responsibility. Her family  always had an extra dog along at carpool and sports games. An SMU college graduate who pursued a career in system implementation consulting until the birth of twins, Jana is passionate about children and animals. Jana first served as the DSDA Foster Coordinator for the past 2.5 years and became  Treasurer in 2020. 

Jennifer Jackson

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Jennifer was born and raised in Richardson, TX and graduated from UT Dallas. She is the mother of two wonderful boys who are a phenomenal help with fostering dogs. Jennifer got into fostering and helping dogs after she adopted her rescue dog, Jake, from Relle Austin 2014. Since then she has adopted another rescue dog Snicker, aka Nick, who was a foster fail from the candy bar litter. Along with fostering dogs and raising two kids, Jennifer also teaches elementary. She loves her job and loves sharing with her students the foster dogs she has in her care. Jennifer loves to foster what she calls the "littles." At her house you will probably not find a dog over 20 pounds, though she will never turn away a dog in need. To this day Jennifer has fostered over 150 dogs including a 8 mama dogs and their litters. She enjoys finding new and different ways to spread the word about the organization she loves.

Ginger Raith Weadock


Board Member

Ginger grew up in Richardson in a pet-loving family and all strays knew they’d find a soft place to land at the Raith household. Ginger took in her first foster in 2004 after losing her ‘heart dog’ Brittany. Hundreds of dogs owe a big thanks to Brittany for leading Ginger to Rescue! Ginger joined DSDA in 2018. Since then she has fostered puppies and dogs across the spectrum from small to large, puppies to adults, those with medical needs and the healthy. She recently hosted her first mama dog and litter of puppies, which she says was an amazing experience! Give her a minute and she'll tell you just how important and rewarding volunteering in Rescue has been in her life! Ginger has a type – black and white pups! Senior resident dog Domino is a great role model to all incoming fosters and Ferris is a rambunctious, playful DSDA alumni from the 2020 State Fair litter. These boys are patient with new intakes and sweetly share their Mama, part-time of course. In addition to fostering, Ginger helps with many tasks needed to keep our organization running smoothly, including social media posts, volunteer recruitment, and coordination for special events such as our now infamous Bake Sales. Psst…. look for these in mid-summer and Thanksgiving! When not lending her smarts and heart to DSDA, you can find Ginger on a running trail, cooking up something fabulous in her kitchen, or enjoying and exploring Dallas' amazing food scene.

Volunteer Coordinators

Carolyn Damato

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Medical Coordinator

Carolyn grew up in New Jersey and moved to Florida where she attended high school. She moved to Dallas in 1982 and spent over 20 years in finance and fostering animals in need. Her passion for animals began at a very young age having cats and dogs her entire life. She has rescued stray cats just about everywhere she has lived. She began volunteering and fostering in 2013 for different animal rescue organizations. After first serving 2 1/2 years as our Social Media Coordinator she has changed hats and in Year 2020 began co-managing the medical care of all the DSDA animals.

Melinda Ferris


2nd Medical Coordinator

Melinda grew up in California and has loved animals her whole life. She graduated from UC Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering then made her way to Texas with her husband where they raised their son and daughter. Her daughter's passion for animals introduced her to a local  rescue group.  Once Melinda became an empty nester, she volunteered at the rescue by fostering and  developing systems to help things run smoothly.  As Dallas Street Dog Advocates started their journey she helped them get off the ground by fostering and becoming their Medical Coordinator.  Along the way she has been able to join the intake team on a few of their adventures and feel the joy of rescuing helpless dogs, watching them blossom and find their loving forever homes. The newest member of her family is Murphy, the big fluffy lovable Great Pyrenees/Golden retriever mix, which yes was a wonderful foster failure.  

Elena Katok


Foster Coordinator

Elena grew up in College Park MD, after her family emigrated from the former Soviet Union. She loved dogs her whole life, but the family never allowed her to adopt a dog as a child. She
graduated with a BS in Finance and Economics from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and then from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business with a Ph.D. in Operations Management.

Elena moved to Dallas in 2012 with her husband Gary Bolton, when they both joined UT Dallas Jindal School of Management. They have one son Uriel, who grew up loving dogs and other animals. Elena and Gary had French Bulldogs since the late 1990s, but when their beloved Frenchie Orson died in 2021, Elena took in a foster puppy from Dallas Street Dog Advocates and never looked back. Elena and Gary foster failed their third puppy, Beatrice, who became an integral part of the fostering process in the Bolton household, teaching shy and insecure puppies how to dog.


Since becoming involved with DSDA Elena learned of the desperate plight of street dogs in the DFW area, sparking her desire to make a positive difference. In assuming the Foster Coordinator role for DSDA Elena tries to use her expertise in Operations to help the
system run smoothly.

Robin Perozzi


Microchip Transfer Coordinator

Robin moved to Texas from Florida with her husband, Bert, oldest son, and rescue pup, Nellie, in 2009. They adopted Baxter in 2011 and when Nellie passed away, they adopted Piper. Robin is passionate about giving back to her community and about animal welfare. She found DSDA through a fundraising event and NTGD and fell in love with how welcoming the Board members and volunteers are, and the commitment everyone has to saving dogs.


Robin also volunteers with the Women of Flower Mound and is a past Board member for the DFW chapter of the University of South Florida Alumni Association. Her goal is to do whatever she can to help improve the lives of homeless and neglected pups.

Kathryn Kuehn


Post-adoption Coordinator 

Kathryn Kuehn has lived in and around Dallas her entire life. Having always been passionate about animals, She has cared for a variety of pet’s during her life including dogs, cats, large and small birds, horses, rabbits, ducks, fish, small rodents, and reptiles.
Kathryn graduated from SMU with a degree in Psychology. She later studied massage therapy and served as licensed massage therapist for 20 years. In 2014, she faced her greatest personal challenge surviving Sepsis brought on by a Streptococcus A. infection which transformed her into a quad amputee. It has not stopped her from continuing to take pleasure in volunteering.
Kathryn met her husband David at a specialty pet store they worked at together, and has been married since 1994. They have 2 boys, one attends SMU and their other son attends a STEM high school.
Kathryn has cared for rescues since she was a child, at one point seeking to attend veterinary school and establishing a no kill shelter/rescue. Life did not work out that way, but she has
remained a hard working advocate for adopting rescues with DSDA providing an opportunity to help rescues find forever homes.
Kathryn has served as DSDA’s Vet Check Coordinator since 2018. In January 2022, she further assumed the position of Post-Adoption Medical Coordinator. Kathryn and her family care for two rescued dogs - Lucky, from Take Me Home Pet Rescue, and Buddy from DSDA, both of whom
are loved and cherished.

Olivia Gray



Olivia has been a DSDA fan since 2020 after adopting her dog Ruth. Shortly after, she opened up her home to begin fostering puppies and adult dogs. One of the dogs ended up as a foster fail (now known as Moss).


What Olivia finds most rewarding about being part of DSDA is the dog community support and the proactive approach DSDA takes to tackle the street dog problem in the Dallas Metroplex.


In her spare time, Olivia enjoys being active outdoors with her family, yoga, and finding methods to incorporate technology into rescuing dogs.

Open Positions

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Interested in becoming a position held volunteer?

Open positions:

  • Fundraising

  • Social Media

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