Honoring IGCA Rescue Angels
IGCA Rescue is one of the country’s leaders in Italian Greyhound rescue. They have saved untold numbers of our darling little IGs from horrible fates. Rescue volunteers from all over the country foster these dogs in their homes, where their health and temperament are evaluated. All dogs are taken for a veterinary check-up: when necessary, vaccinations are updated, the animal is neutered/spayed and its teeth are cleaned. Each Italian Greyhound is evaluated so that it can be placed in a home suitable to both the dog and the new owner. Our rescue volunteers are the absolute BEST.
But above and beyond the above “Job Description” our rescue volunteers put their personal lives on hold every day in order to take care of multiple dogs. They make that last sad trip to the vet more often than they can stand. They spend time in tears as they comfort a dying dog. They are up in the middle of the night more nights than they sleep. When they’re not nurturing a dog, they’re in the car on their way to rescue yet another one. Without these volunteers, IGCA Rescue would not and could not exist. They are truly Rescue Angels – our unsung heroes. In an effort to honor and thank our wonderful volunteers, we’d like to use this space to introduce you to as many as possible. We believe that everyone needs to know and appreciate each of these inspirational souls.
First up is our Director, Mary Frankio. Mary has been with IGCA Recue for over 14 years. She is also the representative for East Coast Italian Greyhound Rescue, covering the states of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont! Mary and her volunteers are BEYOND busy! Mary resides at home with her 87 year old mother (Gramma Frankio) and her roommate, Regina. When she’s not rescuing IGs (when would THAT be Mary?) she’s working on restoring a 1965 Mustang and a 1971 MG. She definitely has a love of all things fast! She also enjoys landscaping and gardening. We sent her our interview questions and she graciously took the time to respond.
How did you become involved with IGCA Rescue?
While doing rescue work with GPA-MASS (Greyhound Pets of America – Massachusetts), I did a home visit and met a 15 year old black and white IG and was hooked! I called Michelle Popka and within 6 months adopted my first Iggy, one year old Raffie. I learned from Michelle that no one was covering New England and dogs were being put to sleep and I could have NO part of that! I had to help save these little guys and girls. That first year we got in three dogs and thought it would be easy. Boy were we wrong!
What do you find most satisfying or rewarding about your rescue work?
Seeing dogs start to trust me after not being able to trust anyone their whole life. Seeing that “happy tail”. And of course sleeping with my eight (yes 8) little ones, seeing their faces every morning like it was Christmas. I have a special spot in my heart for the “age challenged” – the senior. I love every minute I get to spend with them.
What do you find most challenging or most difficult about your rescue work?
Having to deal with people who have no understanding of how wrong they are in treating their dogs and having to keep my mouth shut to ensure that the dog comes safely into rescue. The absolute MOST difficult part is sitting quietly with a dog and saying goodbye as it passes over the Rainbow Bridge.
Please tell us a little about your favorite or most memorable rescue experience.
The most memorable one was getting a call from a young man in his 20s whose uncle had a dog in serious need of help. Uncle had serious mental issues and had been abusing this dog for over a year. The poor little IG weighed only 6 pounds (he should have been around 11 pounds for his size), had a broken hip and bruises all over his body. The young man was horrified that his uncle could do such a thing and begged me to take the dog ASAP. He is a little guy, not more than 3 years old and has the heart of a lion.
If you could tell every IG owner or future owner JUST ONE THING, what would it be?
If you don’t want a dog velcroed to your side for the next 15 years – DON’T GET ONE!
What Mary hasn’t mentioned is that in addition to fostering and providing loving care to the dogs directly she is also very active in fundraising. About half of the products on the IGCA merchandise site were suggested, located, or created by Mary and her family. Mary's mother, Gramma Frankio, is an expert seamstress and makes many of our coats, all of our harness vests, etc. Mary spends hours traipsing between her house and the post office as she mails off IG related merchandise to Rescue supporters.
Thank you Mary, for being an IG Rescue Angel.