ABOUT US - Our History and Board Leadership
  1. Stacy Gaskins
    Stacy Gaskins
    Founder and Chairman of the Board
  2. Jeannine Huck
    Jeannine Huck
    Board President
  3. Kimberly Bandusky
    Kimberly Bandusky
    Advisory Board Member
  4. Darlene Kokotan
    Darlene Kokotan
  5. Delonda Belanger
    Delonda Belanger
  6. Debbie Nolan
    Debbie Nolan
It started with a beagle..
In 1999 our Founder, Stacy Gaskins, was not at all familiar with animal rescue, and had not heard much about spay/neuter, animal neglect and cruelty, or humane issues in general.  That year she was living in a highrise condominium in downtown Chicago and had noticed many fellow residents walking their dogs on the lakefront when the idea struck, she decided to find a little girl dog to spoil and love!

It was Stacy's mother that mentioned visits to the local animal shelters, so she and her mother spent a Saturday visiting one shelter after another with no luck.  Just before the end of the day they decided to visit one last shelter before they closed, and as they were leaving Stacy ended up meeting a humane investigator that had just come in with a litter of beagle pups and a terrible story of abuse.  Stacy's life changed forever when she pulled the tiny puppy up from the bottom of the pile, she met Bailey Anne at that moment and the love for that little girl was so strong that Stacy decided then and there that she would do all she can for the rest of her life to help pets in need and to work toward ending the abuse, cruelty and neglect that is inflicted upon so many animals in our country. 

And so it began..
Stacy immediately joined forces with the humane investigator, now a very dear friend, and she learned the ropes of the animal welfare industry, and became a humane investigator.  Once she had enough experience under her belt she formed a hound rescue organization.  It was there that she met her very dear friend, Jeannine Huck, because they both were parents to Black and Tan Coonhounds!  Jeannine too felt the passion to learn the animal welfare industry and wanted desperately to make a difference, so together they continued their journey.

By 2007 Stacy and Jeannine had befriended many kindred spirits that supported and encouraged them to expand the organization and save more lives.  In May of 2007 the National Animal Welfare Society of the U.S. (NAWS) was formed and there was no stopping us.

That year we opened a high volume spay/neuter clinic and transported dogs and cats in from very low income areas to try and make a dent in the overpopulation problem. 

In 2012 we moved into a much larger facility in Mokena, IL where we were finally be able to house our adoptable dogs and cats, as well as have our wellness and spay/neuter clinic in the same facility.  We have developed an amazing staff in all departments - medical, club services, retail, and rescue, and our volunteers are truly the epitome of hard work and compassion.

We have continued to find amazing men and women who share our love for the animals and all of whom work tirelessly to serve the pets in need.  We still have so much more to do - please consider joining us in this mission of love!

Bailey Anne Gaskins
​Our Inspiration

Blessed With Our Amazing Staff
All for the love of the animals..
It takes all of us to implement the mission and vision.
We cannot say enough positive things about our medical, club and rescue staff.  Under the compassionate leadership of our two full time doctors - Melissa Goodemote and Marisa Panozzo, and the incredible staff that works hard every day to care for the pets, we are blessed to have such a great team.  Pictures coming soon!