Who We Are

DREAM is a rescue for dachshunds and dachshund mixes. We focus on dogs and homes in our geographical area – Atlanta, North Georgia, and Savannah. Our mission is supported solely through donations, and we are run completely by volunteers.

Vision and Mission

We envision a time when every dachshund in Georgia has a loving home for its entire life. We believe that the welfare of our companion animals is an indication of the health of our society. We see the current welfare of our companion animals as a disease. To treat the symptoms of this disease, we rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome dachshunds in need. To treat the causes of this disease, we educate the public on compassionate dog guardianship of any breed. We want to have a deep, direct impact in a limited geographic area, rather than a small impact in a large geographic area.

Values and Guiding Principles

Dog welfare. We put the welfare of our dogs first. We will not take in a dog that we cannot adequately care for.

Friendship and Fun. We are volunteers. We value each other and the contribution we are making. We can stay motivated by making sure that we enjoy working together and have fun.

Using Our Gifts. Each of us contributes what we most love to do, so we maintain our enthusiasm over the long term.

Compassion. For the dogs, of course, but also for each other and for the people and organizations we want to educate.

Positive examples. We believe that people learn through experiencing the positive, not from being lectured or judged. Our education materials and methods will reflect that value.

Financial responsibility. We raise as much as we spend. At least 90% of our funds are spent directly on medical care for dogs.

Focus. We believe that a small group can make a deep impact in a limited geographic area. We take care to maintain our focus so that our time and resources are spent making that deep impact.

Replicability. We document our processes, so that our successes can be replicated with other groups. In this way we can have a broader geographic impact over time.

DREAM Board Members

Kristin Leydig Bryant ~ I am a freelance business consultant specializing in change management, communications, and training for medium and large-size companies. I moved to Atlanta after receiving my MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where I focused on Strategic Management and Management of Non-Profits. I worked as a consultant for Ernst & Young before striking out on my own in 2002. I fell in love with dachshunds when my first dachshund, Susie, joined our family when I was three years old. Susie was the puppy of my Aunt Marianne’s dachshund, Kuchen. My husband and I began fostering with DARE shortly after we were married in 2000. We were there for the start of DREAM and we love helping so many dogs! Our dogs have really benefited from fostering; they are much more accepting of new dogs than they used to be, and they are more confident. I especially like working with the dogs with back injuries, coaching people whose dogs have had back injuries, and helping dachshunds lose weight.

Michele Mazzei ~ My life mission is to help create and strengthen bonds between people, animals and the natural world. I was designed for sharing my joy of animals and nature with others. I feel there is beauty in all living things, even those often misunderstood like insects and snakes AND dachshunds!  By working with DREAM, I help give long dogs another chance at life while enriching the lives of humans that come in contact the dog. As people learn and experience life in the company of another animals, we learn things about ourselves and hopefully become more compassionate about other humans and all living things. Anyone who has visited my house has had a learning experience with my menagerie. I know my life is enriched eachday with DREAM.

Ivy Carruth ~ In grown-up world, my expertise is in working with emotional and behavioral disordered kiddos-it’s great for having awesome stories to share at Thanksgiving. Everyday is different. We laugh, cry, cuss and sometimes we spin our wheels. Just like in rescue. DREAM Dachshund is my heart. I believe in what we do, in educating others about the possibilities (and the realities) of the present and the future and in saving one dog at a time. Dachshund’s are the only breed of dog I have ever had in my life- grew up with them, and now- have converted my husband- he’s of German heritage so it wasn’t THAT hard! We have 3 in our permanent pack, but I love spending time with all of the new ones who come in as they begin their journey to their new family. Due to a job opportunity, I’ve recently moved to Sydney, Australia, but I remain 100% committed and involved in DREAM and in helping the dachshunds in the areas we serve to find loving, permanent forever homes. And, yes. All 3 C-dogs moved with us to Sydney to chase kangaroos, bark at koalas and steer clear(!) of crocs……


Sherry Aden ~ In real life, I am a retired high school science teacher who does part time bookkeeping for several different businesses/people. I’ve always loved dogs, but only since I began being treasurer for DREAM did I learn what great personalities doxies have. What began as a labor of love for a couple of close friends transitioned into a love of DREAM and its peeps who work so hard to help so many.

Michelle Shultz ~ Why Dachshunds you ask? Well, I like a small breed that I can carry around and snuggle with more than one at a time. I have been helping save the long dogs since Kristin ran us down shortly after moving to EAV in 2006. We had two dachshunds at that time and now have five. :)   We started with Shorty and Wesley. We now have Wesley, Angelina, Arthur, Quinn and Fritz. Could not imagine a home with no pups in it! My paying job is with Publix Supermarkets where I have been for 27 years now. I love what I do with Publix and Publix supports me in what I do with DREAM.  What I love most about working with DREAM is seeing the babies with a forever home that makes the home a better place. What we do is time consuming and tearful (both happy and sad), but what I get from working with these Ladies and babies is more than I can put into words. Unconditional love from the pups and forever friendships from the people. This is why I work to save as many pups as we can.

Belinda McDonald ~ After resisting my true calling for many years (I tried engineering, EMT-ing, and personal training), I finally gave up and accepted that what I really wanted was a life that included spending as much time with dogs as possible.  My real job is a pet-sitter extraordinaire, and that keeps me hopping all day and many nights for K9BFF.  I have a soft spot for grouchy senior male dachshunds, so that is what I tend to foster (and there are a lot of them in need).  For DREAM, I am the vetting coordinator, making sure that all the dogs get the care they need and also keeping all the foster homes stocked with heartworm preventative.

Vikki Long ~ I have been a dog lover my whole life and was never without at least one, but always had big dogs until a few years ago. An acquaintance had a doxie that needed a new home. I found DREAM and offered to foster that dog. It was the beginning of a love affair with the breed and it has been dachshunds ever since. Fostering is such a rewarding endeavor! I love that I can be a stepping stone for these little ones to find their way to their loving forever homes. Working with Belinda for K9BFF and at Peace of My Heart Boarding pays the bills but it isn’t really work because I’m doing what I love which is spending time with animals and dogs in particular. The DREAM ladies are truly the most amazing group of women I have ever had the pleasure of being associated with!

Kim Hembree ~ Accountant by day. Dachshund lover for life!!! Wife, dog mom, & foster dog mom, among other things. I live on the north side of Atlanta & have 5 Dachshunds & a Gordon Setter, who is the mother hen of the group. Love my husband and my pack!!! He loves the dogs just as much as I do. I’ve had dachshunds since I was 5 years old. I can’t imagine my home without them. It’s incredible to watch how much they can teach the foster dogs as well. They help us a lot with the new ones, giving them the confidence that everything is going to be alright. I got into fostering due to my love of the breed & seeing so many dogs in need. People ask “how can you do it – how can you let them go?”…and I say when I see the smiles on the faces of the dog & the new family, I just know that I am doing the right thing. I am just a bridge for that dog who just needs a second chance as well as the family that is searching & yet to find their next pet. What could be more rewarding?!?

Marge Griffin ~ I am an emergency response planner at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After retiring from the Army, I wanted to focus on achieving more balance in my life and I knew volunteer work would become a big part of that balance. I learned at an early age that giving back is very rewarding and helping those that cannot help themselves is especially near and dear to my heart. It started with helping our elderly neighbors and quickly transitioned into fostering for DREAM. My first exposure to Dachshunds was Tipper and Moose; as they say, the rest is history!  Working with DREAM has become an integral, amazing part of my life. Seeing the dogs overcome fear, health issues, behavior problems and find their forever homes is truly an amazing transition. I cannot understand why everyone doesn’t do this in their spare time.

Melinda Chavez ~ Working as an RN/NP pays the bills and helping the long dogs feeds my soul. I have been in love with dachshunds since my first encounter with one as a teenager. As soon as I graduated from college, had my first job with a paycheck, I became a doxie mom and haven’t looked back since. There are few things in life as rewarding as matching a dog, which would have been euthanized or was living in a terrible situation like a puppy mill with that special person looking for a new family member. Many times it’s love at first site, both for the dog and the human. I definitely had this experience with my beloved “Spike,” a Dream Rescue alum. I’m proud to be affiliated with such a hardworking, bossy group of women, all dedicated to making life better for dachshunds.

Terri Ramsey Smith ~ My childhood was spent with dachshunds in the house. Fritz and Gypsy were black and tan tweenies that totally ruled the roost. My dad rescued and rehabilitated squirrels and flying squirrels and we had a menagerie of pets – birds, turtles, snakes and aquariums. When we got married both my hubby and I had dogs and we still do 31 years later. We are in the automotive collision repair business and one day a customer came in and his car had a DREAM Rescue sticker on the window. I asked him about it, being a doxie lover, and he told me what DREAM did and how much fun he had every October at Howl-O-Weenie. We took a couple of our dogs that year and we were just amazed by the whole thing. Next thing you know, we began fostering for DREAM and adding to our pack which now consists of 10! There’s never a dull moment and the weenies rule our roost as well.
Recently, the amazing ladies of the DREAM Board of Directors asked me to join them in their mission to save, rehabilitate, and rehome the “lost long dogs” and I am proud and humbled to be a part of something so gratifying and worthwhile. There is just no love like Doxie love!

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