FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Dawn Trimmel founded the International Street Dog Foundation in 2011. Over
the years, Dawn has traveled extensively (to over 100
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 is a licensed Humane Investigator by the IL Department of Agriculture.
Dawn is also a licensed CPA in the state of Texas and New York.
Jyoti is passionate about saving animals and spends most of her free time trying to help street animals of Delhi & National Capital Region of India. She strongly believes in “adopt don’t shop” policy and is pained to see what illegal breeding has done to India’s animals. She works with multiple rescues in India to socialize, build confidence and train rescued dogs with the the end goal of finding their forever homes.
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.
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.
Amy is ISDF’s rescue photographer. Amy is passionate about helping dogs so in her spare time she photographs our rescue dogs in an effort to help them find their homes. She has a knack of capturing their personalities. Amy is owner of Amy Ann Photography. You can view her work on her website and see a gallery of the ISDF dogs she has photographed in the past there.
Photographs truly save lives and her addition to the team is very excited as it will give our dogs a much better chance of finding their homes.