Fundraiser to aid Plainfield-based animal rescue group
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News May 25, 2012 4:30PM
ZuZu, a beagle collie, gnaws on Collin Robinson, 14 of Plainfield while Clifford, a beagle basset poses in the foreground. Collin's mother, Nancy Robinson is organizing a benefit on June 9 for H.A.R.T. of Illinois, a rescue organizaiton that waqived ZuZu'
How to help
What: H.A.R.T. (Homeless Animal Rescue Team) of Illinois Benefit
When: 3–7 p.m. June 9
Where: Joliet Moose Lodge, 25 Springfield Ave., Joliet
What: All-you-can-eat buffet, beer, bands, raffles, auctions, moonwalk and pet adoption.
Tickets: Adults $15 (with beer) and $10 (without beer). Children under 12 are free.
Contact: Nancy Robinson, co-chair, at 815-573-6622
Donate: Via PayPal at www.hartofil.com.
Etc,: Bring a donation for pets and receive a free raffle ticket.
Updated: July 3, 2012 9:40AM
Nancy Robinson’s husband lost his job just when the fees came due for adopting a beagle collie from the Plainfield-based H.A.R.T. (Homeless Animal Rescue Team) of Illinois.
So Robinson, of Plainfield, called Jill Kerzisnik, the rescue’s president, and said, “If you waive the charge, I’ll raise thousands of dollars for your rescue.” Robinson had a deal.
That was four months ago. Since then, Robinson has assembled a team of hardworking, good-hearted volunteers (one woman even mailed out 3,000 fliers at her expense) to plan a June 9 benefit to help pay H.A.R.T.’s veterinarian bill, which is nearly $5,000. Robinson also hopes to raise a little extra for the medical kitty. Her total goal is $10,000.
“I always wanted to raise awareness and funds,” said Kerzisnik, who also has four children and a home-based business.“But unfortunately, just me and a few select volunteers do everything. We never had time to coordinate it.”
Last fall, when Robinson’s dog Clifford, 13, whom she adopted 11 years ago from a shelter as a companion for her son Colin Robinson, now 14, appeared to be dying, she immediately went on the hunt for a replacement beagle basset.
For two months, Robinson searched rescue sites seeking the right dog until someone directed her to H.A.R.T. When Robinson learned Moe (later renamed ZuZu when Moe turned out to be female), was scheduled to be euthanized in two days, Robinson immediately contacted Kerzisnik and begged to become a foster parent. ZuZu immediately adjusted to Robinson’s household.
“I’ve never had a female dog so easy to please,” Robinson said.
Clifford, who Robinson learned was not dying at all, but merely suffering from hypothyroidism, easily treated with thyroid replacement hormone, quickly became fast friends with ZuZu.
So when Robinson heard some of the rescue stories from Kerzisnik, such as the dog she recently acquired from a 46-year-old woman who died of cancer, Robinson became more determined than ever to help H.A.R.T.
“Jill is one is one of those people I connected with right away,” Robinson said. “I find her incredibly inspiring.”
Kerzisnik, a former volunteer for other animal rescues, founded H.A.R.T. in 2007 and incorporated it as a 501c3 in 2009. She has two goals for H.A.R.T.: to become self-sufficient through a sponsorship program and to build a physical facility.
With it, H.A.R.T. could rescue more dogs than is possible through a foster-care program only. The rescue could also offer low-cost vaccination and spay/neuter clinics, training classes and educational seminars.
“The No. 1 reason dogs are turned into shelters are behavioral issues,” Kerzisnik said. “If we could offer training classes to the public, we would be reducing the number of animals that end up in shelters.”
Currently, H.A.R.T. has rescued 3,000 animals from high-kill shelters, primarily from Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. Kerzisnik said 3,000 families now have the joy of a pet. However, initial medical care for abandoned and/or abused dogs that have lived in overcrowded conditions is expensive.
In case anyone at the benefit might be interested in adopting a dog, Kerzisnik will have several available to meet.
“No one can resist a cute face,” Robinson said.