The effort of a former Elk Grove Village woman to save stray dogs in Mali continues even while she has been redeployed to other duties.
The Daily Herald ran a story on Feb. 18 about how U.S. Air Force Maj. Gina Stramaglio, the first pilot to refuel French fighter planes attacking an al-Qaida-linked movement in the North African country, had in her off hours been working to improve deplorable conditions at a shelter for dogs.
She recruited other airmen to help the local people caring for 90 homeless dogs housed in an abandoned school. And she and her mother, Karen Stramaglio of Elk Grove Village solicited donations locally to help in the effort.
"I have received $4,100 in cash and checks from people throughout the Chicago area," she wrote in an email. "Most included personal notes and stories, so I have created an Excel spreadsheet with names, donations, addresses and phone numbers so I can contact them with thank you notes and updates on how the dogs are doing along with how their money was spent."
She said she had advance notice she was being transferred to a new assignment and that a very strong small core group are keeping things running smoothly.
"We have weekly rotations of volunteers bringing the dogs into the vet hospital," she wrote. "Three dogs go in to the vet each week for spaying/neutering, basic medical care, post-op care, and full immunizations. After that, the volunteers photograph them and put them on Facebook to make a strong push for adoption.
"We are still providing food as well, but wanted to try and produce some permanent effects by making the dogs more adoptable."
Karen and Gina Stramaglio said that Dr. Mark Kraklio, veterinarian at Golf-Rose Animal Hospital in Schaumburg, was especially instrumental in donating medical supplies and coordinating the local fundraising effort.
The donations made so far will last about another four weeks, with another $5,500 required to spay/neuter, immunize and take care of basic medical needs of every dog in the shelter.
"We could always use more money to take care of all of the dogs," she wrote. "Aside from money, the dogs could really use flea/tick topical treatments.
"I keep begging the leadership here to send me back, but that seems impossible at this point."