By last year, Stay had become an impressive center, complete with training, temperament testing, on-premises veterinary care and treatment, and a growing base of knowledge and experience in assisting dogs with behavioral and medical issues. When the building next door went up for sale, Heltzer took it on to expand the services, finally able to establish an area for animals in need. Knowing that in 2009 alone 10,000 dogs had been killed in Chicago, purely for behavioral or medical reasons - all of which were treatable - Found was initiated to rescue those who would otherwise be put down for non-life-threatening reasons.
Found operates on a mission basis of three R's: Rescue, Rehabilitate, Rehome. The organization takes in animals in need of behavioral or medical treatment, works with them and gets to know them well. Once the animals are stable, they are available for adoption. Adopters have the benefit of knowing the particulars of each pet, and educated on how to help them and to incorporate them into their own homes. Does the training stop with Found? No, says Heltzer; being in a new environment requires training again, or on a continual basis. The organization seeks not only to rescue and rehome animals, but also to provide a solid future for these pets, diminishing future issues by addressing them upfront, These animals are saved from death row, given the opportunity to be the spirits they really are, and offered the dream of forever homes.
Found works with the community as well; the organization provides a pet pantry for local community members in need, and offers educational and informative assistance to further the cause of bright futures for pets in the area. The new facility opens this year; In addition to Stay, the hotel, there is also Animal Ark Vet Clinic to provide orthopedic and alternative treatment, grooming and training services and the Found center for rescue and rehab. Incorporating some of the latest ideas of best business practices and housing protocols, Found provides glass-walled suites for the animals that temporarily live there. It is a 501c3 no-kill organization; unless a pet is in extreme pain and at death's door, there is no euthanasia.
Rescuing animals that would otherwise be senselessly destroyed, rehabilitating them through behavioral techniques, training and state-of-the-art equipment, and then rehoming them into permanent homes that are equipped with the information they need to sustain their relationship with the pet - these are the pillars of Found in Chicago. Michael Heltzer has been busy doing good for animals!