Established in early 2010, Found was a natural outcropping of Stay, a posh dog hotel that was once home to Michael Heltzer's furniture business along the Chicago River in northwestern Chicago. Although Stay offers upscale dog suites for overnight boarders and day care, on occasion owners were dropping off their dogs and never coming back to claim them. Instead of shipping these dogs off to the city, Heltzer and his staff kept the dogs, cared for them, trained and worked with them and then found forever homes for the rehabilitated dogs.
Andrea Tosone, Director of Development, says that those first early dogs set in motion a new mission for the staff at Stay. "Stay became known for accepting boarding dogs that other kennels wouldn't take," she said. Now, with the addition of Found, the boarding facility also has a no-kill shelter and rehabilitation and re-homing program.
"It has been our policy that we do not turn away a dog due to a behavioral or medical condition. We focus on more challenging dogs who might have behavioral or physical needs and who some people might see as less adoptable," Tosone says. "We receive a lot of referrals and there is a small team of us who will assess the dog and develop a program to address whatever issues it might be having."
Just recently, Heltzer teamed with a Chicago-area veterinarian and a third component was added. Heal is a state-of-the-art veterinarian facility that provides for the medical needs for the dogs at Found as well as for pets in the general public. Located on next door to Found and Stay, the triumvirate takes up an entire city block, about 65000 square feet, Tosone said.
"On any given day, between both Stay and Found, we'll house at least 100 dogs. About 30 of them are waiting for their forever home," Tosone says. A dedicated and compassionate staff of 20 provide most of the day to day care at Stay but Found depends on a much smaller pool of staff with support from well-trained volunteers.
Now that the organization has buddied up with BOGO Bowl, the public can help provide even more support to the non-profit. By purchasing a bag of dog food from BOGObowl.com for your dog and indicating Found as your buddy of choice, the shelter will receive a bag free. The more dog food they receive allows the group to dedicate resources to other programs such as training and socializing the soon-to-be pets.