FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Dawn Trimmel founded ISDF in 2011. Over the years, Dawn has traveled extensively (to over 90 countries) and witnessed thousands of injured and malnourished street dogs in need. In most cases local adoption is not feasible as the street dogs are typically not deemed “pet worthy”. The scale of suffering was too much to even comprehend at times and when she researched foundations working in those countries to help the dogs she found very few who that provide assistance to dogs in need. After a fated meeting with John and Gil Dailey, the Founders of the Soi Dog Foundation, she decided she had to do something no matter how small to help and she filed for 501(c)3 status in the United States and the International Street Dog Foundation was born. Dawn has been working ever since to help street dogs with nowhere to turn through medical assistance, sterilization, raising awareness, and re-homing urgent cases into the US.
When asked why Dawn chooses to spend her time and money helping international rescues vs dedicating her time to dogs located in the US – the answer is simple “They need me the most!”.
Dawn currently lives with Macha (a tripod rescue from the Soi Dog Foundation) and any ISDF rescues currently waiting for their forever homes.
Simmi saw the plight of Indian street dogs when she relocated to India in 2012,
she decided to leave her corporate life and dedicate her time in working for the
street babies. With the help of few like-minded rescuers and a local vet, they
started spay/neuter program in India. She was one of the pioneers in finding
homes for Indian street dogs outside of India. Successfully placed over 70+ dogs
in three different countries before meeting Dawn. Since then she has been a
flight volunteer for navy Indian dogs that come to ISDF. Strong follower and
believer of Dawn’s amazing work and efforts, she is so excited to be a part of
this wonderful team. Simmi hosts a talk show in India and also runs her language
institute in India. She has three beautiful desi babies, Gigi, Lola and Fluffy.
Her dream is to build a shelter for animals in India
Cyndi’s dog rescue journey started with an epiphany in 2008, and since then she has volunteered at MD Anderson Cancer Center, soup kitchens in Houston, and every animal shelter in Houston. In 2009, she joined a rescue group that works in an area of Houston where dog fighting, starvation, neglected pups and their moms, and bags of dead dogs are commonplace. She was one of the first to adopt dogs out of Houston and into Canada, and later began working with a Taiwanese organization to send their rescue dogs to North America.
ISDF’s focus on the dog meat trade is one that, despite the horrors in her own backyard, was tough for Cyndi to look at without doing anything. She decided she couldn’t turn away any longer from the images of cages full of dogs waiting to be killed, which is where her journey with ISDF began. She prays that her experiences will prepare her for the fights—and miracles—that await.
We adopted our first ISDF dog, five-month old Lucy (Khushi) in 2014. Since we had some experience fostering dogs for rescue groups, we immediately began fostering for Dawn at ISDF. This eventually led to us adopting Lucy’s brother, Jute, eight months later. My wife and I like to say that we didn’t set out to help save the street dogs of India or the rescues from the meat-trade, but simply fell in love with every one we met! We also set out to learn about the history and behavior of street dogs, including reading everything we could get our hands on, and working extensively with dog behaviorists to better understand our own dogs. What we’ve learned is that these dogs are highly intelligent, good decision makers, and have a strong desire for human contact. As noted canine scientist, Ray Coppinger, has written in his book, ‘What Is A Dog,’ “contact with humans is by-far their most successful survival strategy.” Despite the cruelty many of these dogs experience, they maintain a desire for human contact. For us, street dogs aren’t just dogs in need of rescue, but a genetic marvel; direct descendants from the first dogs that thrived on the edges of early human settlements. Plus, they have evolved to be physically hardy with few of the genetic diseases we see in most domestic breeds. Our Lucy and Jute have responded very well to the latest positive reinforcement training techniques and have become just as loving as any of the domestic dogs we’ve had in our family over the decades, both rescued or pure-bred. In fact, I’d say their affection has been more passionate. And thanks to our experiences, I am able to help newly adoptive families work through the occasional issue with their ISDF dog. We are determined to spread the word that street dogs are not defective, part-feral rejects—far from it—but amazingly intelligent survivors, capable of loving its family as completely as any dog. As I’ve told Dawn before, despite three decades of owning and loving more than a dozen domestic dogs, I’ve become permanently hooked on street dogs.
Fey is a graphic artist who has a passion for all animals in general. She was in love with street dogs since she was little. She was feeding and rescuing many dogs and cats in her neighborhood. When she moved to US she became active locally in California and she was involved in fostering and rescuing. She also became active in social media giving support to many rescuers in Turkey.
Her concerns regarding the street dogs increased with the urban development and the expansion of the city scales and the destruction of the old neighborhoods, which became a major issue in Turkey, especially with the street dogs. The city removes the dogs from some neighborhoods upon complaints and dumps them in the forests. She made a documentary movie called “Dogs of the Dream Forest” it is about the efforts of volunteer groups to sustain and protect the dogs that are dumped in the forests. This movie had helped her to connect with ISDF and Dawn and became an active ISDF Rescue Partner, assisting with the re-homing of many Turkish street dogs into the US. She believes that street dogs are the best, being a mutt gives it a unique character, personality and looks. Also street dogs tend to be very intelligent as they have to fight to survive the street/forest life. Suffice it to say, she is hooked on street dogs!
Fey wants to raise awareness on issues facing street dogs in Turkey and around the world. She understands that often times the only chance of leading a fulfilled life for a street dog is overseas adoption. An overseas adoption is in most cases a life saved and she intends to save as many lives as she can…. one dog at a time. Fey’s family includes one street dog from Istanbul, who is an Anatolian shepherd mix, and two others who are rescues from Arizona and California.
Stephanie fell in love with street dogs while volunteering in Thailand, where she spent six months running around farms with all manner of hounds, large and small. But the airline on which she flew back to the States only allowed falcons to accompany passengers, so she gave up her dream of giving a Thai canine a home … until she stumbled upon ISDF. The stars aligned on a cross-country road trip to bring her to Chicago the day after a small blond dog arrived from Songkhla, and the rest, they say, is history. Sen Yai (เส้นใหญ่) is now the fat noodle of her heart, which he shares with his fierce leopard cat brother, Miso. When they are naughty (which is often) Stephanie threatens to make soup.