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Meet Elise Bissell of Dallas Street Dog Advocates in North Dallas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elise Bissell.

Elise, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In 2006, after working as an RN for 20 years, I changed my career path to focus on my lifelong dream of helping homeless animals. Our youngest son had started kindergarten, which left me with extra time. As a longtime resident of Richardson, I first began volunteering at the city shelter by photographing adoptable dogs and cats for the website. Soon after, I found myself serving as Vice President on the Board of Richardson Animaluv, a nonprofit organization that raises funds and awareness for the City of Richardson shelter pets.

Two years later, in 2008, I opened a storefront in Richardson to my first nonprofit, Take Me Home Pet Rescue, whose primary focus is helping local shelter pets find loving homes. During the nine years that I was Director of TMHPR I also served as a Commissioner for the first Advisory Board for the City of Richardson’s Animal Shelter which helped to develop current intake practices of vaccinating/heartworm testing, hiring an on-site veterinarian and supporting the building of the George Bush Bark Park among other things.

During my tenure at TMHPR, with the help of social media, my personal focus began to shift towards helping the adoptable abandoned street dogs before they are brought into shelters and became exposed to diseases such as parvo and distemper. On May 2, 2016, Antoinette Brown was mauled to death by a pack of loose owned dogs near Fair Park. This incident heated the seriousness of the loose and stray dog problem in southern Dallas.

During the summer of 2016, I spent many weekends at Paul Quinn College with other dedicated rescuers working together to find a solution to the stray dog problem. During this time a professional study was completed estimating roughly over 9,000 loose and stray dogs were on the streets at any one time in the southern zip codes of Dallas.

Over my years at TMHPR, with the help of social media, my personal focus began to shift towards helping the adoptable abandoned street dogs before they were brought into shelters (exposing them to diseases such as parvo and distemper). On May 2, 2016, Antoinette Brown was mauled to death by a pack of loose owned dogs near Fair Park. This incident heated the seriousness of the loose and stray dog problem in southern Dallas. During the summer of 2016, I spent almost every weekend at Paul Quinn College with other dedicated rescuers estimating there are roughly over 9,000 loose and stray dogs on the streets at any one time in southern zip codes of Dallas.

In 2017, based on our increasing interest in helping stray dogs and people living in surrounding communities, Relle Austin, David Maldonado and I parted ways with TMHPR (who stayed focused on shelter pets) to begin a new chapter, and together we founded Dallas Street Dog Advocates( DSDA). Since the inception of DSDA just two years ago we have brought in over 200 abandoned street dogs from southern Dallas and unincorporated areas of Dallas County, provided all the necessary medical care, and found loving homes for these dogs I am proud to report that we have many dedicated, hardworking volunteers who share our mission and thankfully many donors who do as well. But there is still a lot of work to be done!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There is nothing smooth about dog rescue.

First, we are always looking for new foster homes, which are the lifeline of rescue. Foster homes provide the love, stability, and training for every dog brought in so that the dog becomes easily adoptable into their forever home. It is truly a labor of love!

Second, donations for the medical treatment required to care for these dogs is always a BIG need. Most of these dogs have never seen a veterinarian and usually have numerous medical issues including but not limited to heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, skin conditions, fractured bones, and dental issues. We also spay/neuter, vaccinate, and microchip every dog before the adoption is finalized. These services add up fast!

And finally, the search for the perfect forever home is never easy. We promise every dog that we will work our hardest to find the best fit for them. We take into consideration the energy level, size, age, temperament, etc.

On the flip side of all our needs, I feel that we are very fortunate to live in a society where not only are people open to loving a dog that has had a rough start but also donating to help them receive the medical care they need so that they can become amazing adoptable family members.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Dallas Street Dog Advocates – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Dallas Street Dog Advocates is a nonprofit all volunteer-run organization. We focus on rescuing the homeless, abandoned and forgotten adoptable dogs directly off the streets of southern Dallas and the unincorporated areas of southern Dallas known for dog dumping.

We work with local community leaders in these areas as well who report back to us about new dumped dogs and dogs living in the area who need to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated. We also provide food, flea/tick supplies when needed. The fact that our volunteers venture into uncharted territory to search for these dumped dogs I believe separates us from many of the other organizations who focus strictly on shelter rescue or owner surrendered pets.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are looking forward to saving more dogs and helping more people in areas where loose dog problems are the most intense.

Pricing:

  • The cost of rescuing a street dog averages about $500+
  • DSDA Adoption Fee for puppies 12 months and under is $300
  • DSDA Adoption Fee for adult dogs over 12 months is $250

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition, please let us know here.

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