BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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 8 years ago, which she still currently serves as Commissioner.
Growing up in Southern Dallas, David Maldonado has first hand knowledge of the loose and stray dog problem. In 2016 he started volunteering in dog rescue to help with the dogs that were being dumped in South Dallas near Dowdy Ferry. Since then, he has assisted in rescuing and trapping many dogs. He helped launch the South Dallas Outreach Team with its founder. He enjoys educating the Hispanic community about responsible pet ownership. David believes in not only rescuing the neglected street dogs but teaching people to be better pet owners as well. Education is key to stopping the stray dog problem in Dallas. Dallas Street Dog Advocates is the perfect outlet for those two things
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.
Christine grew up in Australia and has always been a huge animal lover. As a child she collected and rescued many two and four legged friends. After moving to Texas she has continued to love and nurture many furry friends. Christine and her husband live in Richardson and are raising two beautiful daughters. Christine’s current four legged family includes two dogs, a cat and a horse. Christine has served on the board of many non profits over the years in treasury and other functions. She is the CFO of a Southeast Texas based environmental company.
Megan lives in Celina with her husband and 2 kids. Megan and her husband fostered dogs for WoofStock Second Chance Camp in Aubrey before they had kids. She grew up with dogs and lab mixes hold a special place in her heart. She has an 8 year old lab great Pyrenees mix named Daisy and a Maltipoo mix (who she foster failed from her friend Jennifer, our events coordinator) named June. Megan taught first grade before deciding to stay home with her kids. She now teaches part time and spends the rest of her time wrangling kids and dogs. She loves taking our foster dogs on outings to take pictures of them exploring the town. Megan's kids love dogs as well and enjoy helping her take pictures of the dogs or love on them.
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 Snoopy, and has become a better advocate for rescue dogs. Along with fostering dogs and raising two kids, Jennifer also teaches kindergarten. 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 30 dogs including a mama dog and her 11 puppies. Jennifer loves being the Event Coordinator for DSDA. She enjoys finding new and different ways to help raise funds and spread the word about the organization she loves.
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 two children. After her children went off to college, she began pursuing her passion for animals. Due to her daughters passion for animals she discovered Take Me Home Pet Rescue. There she helped support the rescue by fostering, developing their medical system as Medical Coordinator and then becoming the Office Manager. 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, she foster failed. He has become a wonderful foster brother to those waiting for their forever homes.
Jana Dodson was attracted to the rescue field when her youngest son wanted another dog. An SMU graduate who pursued a career in system implementation consulting until the birth of twins, Jana is now the mom of 4 almost grown young men and passionate about children and animals. Fostering provided an opportunity to nurture both: introducing a foster dog into one's routine and many growth opportunities for the foster family, as well as the dog. Children develop a greater sense of responsibility, compassion, and intuition when working to train the dogs. When meeting with potential forever families, children build confidence while talking with strangers. Plus, Jana found that one of the best solutions to a stressful day in the life of a teenager was the unconditional love of a dog and, of course, puppy breath. They spent 6 years working together to foster dogs, especially large breed puppies. Now, Jana helps recruit, mentor, and manage our foster humans.
SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR
Carolyn grew up in New Jersey and moved to Florida where she attended high school. She moved to Dallas in 1982 and spent 25 years in finance. She has been married for 20 years and has 2 dogs and fosters cats. 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 rescues and has developed a fondness of bringing their personalities to social media to help find their forever homes.