Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dog Finds Happines at Found



Dog finds happiness at Found!
When you look at Magnum, the 150-pound bulldog mix pictured here, it’s hard to imagine anyone raising a hand against him; actually, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone abusing any dog, much less being dim enough to pick on one that’s their own size. Unfortunately, Magnum was regularly “beaten to a pulp” during the first year of his life, when he was puppy, according to Alicia Boemi, Executive Director of Found.

Fortunately for Magnum, he did find Found, a no-kill animal shelter located on Chicago’s northwest side. Found started as an unintentional offshoot of Stay, the dog hotel co-located at the northwest side location. People would sometimes abandon their dogs outside of Stay, and its proprietor, Michael Heltzer, began to take them in, letting them swim in Stay’s pool and socialize with the other dogs. Found became an official non-profit organization two-years ago. What makes Found so different from other shelters is not only its no-kill policy, but its animal rehabilitation program, or “re-homing” as they like to call it.

Found takes animals from Chicago’s Animal Care and Control almost exclusively. They choose the animals they take-in based on Found’s available space, funding, and the amount of dogs with certain behavioral issues they already have on the property. Each dog brought in is given a thorough evaluation, fifteen pages worth of steps, at the end of which, the handler really knows the dog and they’ve begun to establish a foundation and develop a relationship.

Before he was rescued, Magnum was severely and repeatedly beaten. A kind soul, a man named Cody, took him in, but couldn’t keep him due to financial restraints (Just imagine how much a 150-pound bulldog mix eats!) and other issues, which is when he was turned over to Found.

A fundraiser for Magnum is in the works and you can donate to Magnum’s cause, or any of the other worthy animals currently sheltered there, at www.FoundChicago.org The organization can always use volunteers (you must be at least 18 years of age, fill out a volunteer application, sign a waiver and take a training course). Learn all about how to volunteer at Found, here!

You can also help by coming to Day of the Dog (because every dog should have its day!) on October 16th. A fall festival for dogs, cats and their families, Day of the Dog raises money for Found Chicago. The fest will be held at Found, 4100 N. Rockwell, 11 a.m – 4 p.m. $5 suggested donation to enter.

Boemi says Magnum is not available for adoption and it’s unknown when he will be. He likes to run on the treadmill (Really!) and his trainers are working with him to build his confidence, introducing him to other dogs to socialize him. They’re also trying to expose him to as many things he may never have been exposed to (fireplugs?!) before. Boemi says the “re-homing” process can take anywhere from a month, to a year, to five years. She says for Magnum, it’s all about getting him over all the fear his early abuse induced. I’ll try to keep you posted on his progress.

Whether you volunteer, attend Day of the Dog or simply make a donation, know your kind action(s?!) will go a long way toward helping Magnum, and all the other animals at Found, experience something they may never have been exposed to before: happiness.

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