Group gives homeless pets a second chance

July 29, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Every dog has a story, and oftentimes these dogs deserve a second chance, regardless of their abilities and behaviors.

Found is a not-for-profit rescue and re-homing center for dogs with medical and behavioral conditions that can be successfully rehabbed.

Michael Heltzer started this organization nine months ago.

"We take all dogs, not only dogs with behavioral issues or medical problems, but sometimes we get a dog that simply needs to be handled immediately," said Heltzer.

As the owner of Stay: A Modern Dog Hotel on Chicago's North Side, Michael felt there was a need to help these dogs.

"We like the challenge, both intellectually and kind of emotionally. To do that we're better equipped, because of the experience we've had the skill we have here and the facility with rehabilitation," Heltzer said.

"And also, for me more personally, because I've had these experiences with there more difficult breeds, I know those are the ones that are never, never getting a second chance."

Every dog has a story.

Ralphie is a 3-year-old collie/sheltie mix who was found living in a car. He was heartworm positive and very anti-social. Now a loving dog, Ralphie needs a home.

Nine-year-old Daisy is a greyhound who has some arthritis in her back legs. She is happy and gets along with other dogs.

Serious behavioral issues brought 2-year-old Tank to Found. He is a Rottweiler who is benefitting from physical therapy.

Looking at Highway, a 3-to-4-year-old St. Bernard, you would never believe his story.

"His head was spilt open from side-to-side, he had stitches and staples everywhere, he had blood that-- I mean it was really tragic seeing this animal come in, and he was probably a dog that should have been 90 pounds and was 40 pounds," said Heltzer.

With multi-services, Highway has been able to regain his strength with some trauma head injuries. Executive director Alicia Boemi has adopted Hudson, a 9-month-old lab/pit bull with behavioral issues. She says, at this time, they can only take a handful of dogs.

"We take the dogs that are going to be euthanized that day or in the future, like in a week or so," Boemi said.

"We evaluate them we see what their needs are, if they a have bit of fear-based aggression, we're not afraid of helping them with that. If they're heartworm positive, we're not afraid of helping them with that, if they're a puppy and they're deaf, they really just need extra intensive training."

Many of the found dogs do get adopted. Sonny, a deaf dog, is one of them

"I don't think the world at large understands how unique the relationship is between a dog in need and people willing to give care. It is more magical than you could ever imagine," said Heltzer.

The cost to adopted a Found dog is $200. That includes all the medical costs. They are building a new facility which will open next year and be able to help more found dogs.

To learn more about this organization go to

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