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.

Our 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 each day with DREAM.



Ivy Carruth 

Being a founding member of DREAM and serving on the Board of Directors is something that feeds my soul more than I ever could have imagined. I adopted my sweet Grace and after that, I was in it, hook, line and sinker. I got such support from my adoption coordinator and I thought- ‘I want to do this.’  Back when we first started (2005!), we got so excited every time we pulled in a dog, and even more so when we received an application that was a good match. You know what? That hasn’t changed one iota. Dachshunds are the only dog I’ve ever had. What I was born into, has continued to this day. They are spunky, clever, sassy. They think they’re smarter than we are. I’m now owned by 3 dachshunds, and they are each so different with personalities that make my day everyday. In 2012, we moved to Australia, ALL of us.   Leaving them back was a deal breaker. They love it here, the sun, the sand, the more relaxed speed of life. They’ve met some other sausages (Aussie for dash-hound) but still prefer to be baking in the sunbeams or pretending like I never feed them, “Mama! Gimme fooooood!”  The world is small. Flying back for the ever fabulous Howl-O-Weenie is something I do every year. I also work on managing the social media aspect of the organization. I’m glad you found us. Some of the best dogs I’ve ever met in my life, grateful, weary but hopeful, have been through rescue. I’m the lucky one for being a part of it. 


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. My husband loves the dogs just as much as I do. Dachshunds have been a part of my life since I was 5 years old, and 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 started 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?”…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 merely 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 an important 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.



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 full of other fun things. When we got married, both my hubby and I had dogs. 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 TEN! 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!


Susan Samples 

I am a wife to Greg and a mother to 2 fabulous children, Avery and Riley.  I enjoy going on vacations, being with my wonderful family, and of course watching my dog family grow! We have 4 dogs (3 of whom I rescued through DREAM) Angel, Hope, LB, and Mindy. I was born into a home with dachshunds and I have never looked back. I starting fostering with Dream in 2012 and became a Board Member in 2015. I am very lucky to have found DREAM Dachshund because I  amd able to make a direct impact in working with my favorite breed and I also get to do what I love every single day…. saving the lives of these amazing little dogs and helping them find their forever home. 


Cindy Vaughn   
I have always felt connected to animals:  Dog, cat, turtle or bird, it doesn’t matter, I adore them all. 
After many years of working in the hotel business as a Corporate/Special Event Planner and Catering Sales Manager, I decided I was ready to pursue what makes me truly happy. I took up photography. I learned about organic gardening. I started kayaking. Then I met 8 week old Roxie, my long haired, red doxie girl. Yes, I had a dachshund growing up, along with a menagerie of other animals, but that girl in particular stole my heart. I knew in an instant she was one of my soul mates and this began my true understanding and love of the dachshund breed.
I moved to Georgia a few years ago and met a DREAM foster and supporter. I started fostering and volunteering for DREAM, foster failed with my black and tan girl, Teala Jewel and I now devote time to my favorite breed by serving on the Board of Directors, fostering and helping any way I can. Humane Education is something I am very passionate about. I speak at schools and groups and teach children about proper pet care, telling them about rescues and sharing the story of one of my rescue dogs, Piper. The rest of my time is devoted to my pet sitting business and my pack of three. Four, if you include my husband. I do still find time to kayak, garden and work on my photography.
I am honored to work with DREAM and I look forward to the day when animal shelters are empty and rescues are a thing of the past.


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