Plainfield-based rescue focuses on small dogs, cats
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News July 23, 2012 2:28PM
Brandy Gergescz, founder of Plainfield-basecd Annie's Little Angels Humane Education and Small Breed Dog and Cat Rescue, poses with Max, a 5-year-old Chihuahua. Max suffers from a neurological condition that causes him to spin when excited or nervous. |
How to help
What: Fundraiser for Annie’s Little Angels Humane Education & Small Breed Dog & Cat Rescue
When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 6
Where: Heroes West Sports Grill, 1530 Commerce Drive, Joliet
What: 10 percent of your purchase will be donated to Little Angels. Inform your server that you are there for the fundraiser and they will give you a form to fill out.
Contact: 815-641-1368, or www.annieslittleangels.org.
Updated: August 25, 2012 6:03AM
A suspected neurological condition causes Max, a 5-year-old Chihuahua, to spin around whenever he’s excited or nervous. He doesn’t like to play with other dogs and panics if they come near his food. Unless Max is kept on schedule, he “forgets” he’s potty trained.
But he does wag his tail in a happy, friendly way when people and dogs and cats come near and he loves to lie on the couch, snuggle and have his ears rubbed.
“He’s a great dog,” said Brandy Gergescz, founder of the Plainfield-based Annie’s Little Angels Humane Education & Small Breed Dog & Cat Rescue. “He just needs attention and a loving home.”
Annie’s Little Angels caters to small breeds and cats — especially the abused, abandoned and neglected — the type of pets that generally adapt poorly to shelter life. When caged in such an environment, small breeds, to protect themselves, will either fearfully “shut down” or aggressively lash out at anyone who approaches.
“People deem them unadoptable and they’re euthanized,” Gergescz said. “You’d think they’d tear your face off, but once you’ve gotten them out of the cage and away from the shelter, they’re giving you kisses.”
The “Annie” in “Annie’s Little Angels” was Gergescz’s first dog, a Maltese. After Annie died, they returned to the store to adopt another Maltese from what they assumed was the same breeder. Gergescz was horrified when she researched the dog and learned it had come from a puppy mill.
Gergescz was only 21, but desiring to help other dogs in similar situations, she began volunteering with various rescue groups. As she did, Gergescz realized the overwhelming need for a rescue that worked exclusively with small breeds.
She founded Annie’s Little Angels in 2009 and added the feline component in January.
Annie’s Little Angels, with eight foster parents, currently cares for 10 dogs and 20 cats. Gergescz will always accept more animals as long as she has the foster parents to provide for them and a manageable veterinarian bill the rescue can pay.
Qualifications for fostering and adopting are simple: A loving environment and a commitment to the animal. When fostering, the shelter provides food, litter and medical care, although the foster parent may opt to provide the first two, if he or she chooses.
Gergescz tries hard to match adoptive families with the ideal pet. The turnaround rate from foster home to permanent home is approximately two months, longer in the summer when families are generally busier.
“We’re not worried if you have or don’t have a fence or kids or if you work,” Gergescz said. “We’re more interested in making sure everyone interacts well, if you care for the animal and if the fit seems right. Some pets do need fences or homes without children. We go case by case. We don’t want to end up in a situation where the animal needs to be ‘rehomed.’”