Secondhand Hounds Rescue Merges With People & Pets Together Food Shelf
Both organizations will retain their names and continue normal operations. People & Pets Together

Secondhand Hounds Rescue Merges With People & Pets Together Food Shelf

The two animal welfare nonprofits will combine their resources under the Secondhand Hounds umbrella to reach more animals and pet owners in the Twin Cities.

Minnetonka-based animal rescue Secondhand Hounds is merging with People & Pets Together, the first pet food shelf in the Twin Cities.

Both organizations will retain their names and continue normal operations. Secondhand Hounds will also keep its Minnetonka headquarters, while People & Pets Together will continue running a food shelf in Minneapolis.

The partnership aims to keep more families and pets together, reduce the number of animals being surrendered, and lessen the need for animal rescue intervention, officials said.

As part of the merger, People and Pets Together executive director Kim Carrier will take on an advisory role after nearly 12 years with the organization.

“At one of the very first food shelves I ever went to with pet food, a weeping woman said how grateful she was because she had been cooking up meat for her cat since she couldn’t afford cat food,” Carrier said. “Last year—a decade later—she sent me an email from California letting me know she was doing really well now and expressing how much it meant to her that we were able to help at that time. Sometimes you wonder if what you’re doing is making a difference, and that just made it feel like every second of the last 12 years was worth it.”

Secondhand Hounds executive director and founder Rachel Mairose said since her organization focuses on saving animals, it doesn’t always deal with the root of the problem. She said the merger with People and Pets Together will allow her organization to help those dealing with homelessness and financial hardship, and ultimately keep animals in their homes.

“We’ll be able to use our combined resources to do more for individuals and families who are struggling to keep their beloved pets,” Mairose said. “We can also provide more help to those who feel they have run out of options.”

Founded in July 2009, Secondhand Hounds is a nonprofit that provides adoption, rehabilitation, and hospice care for pets. That includes shelter, veterinary care, and daily necessities for at-risk animals—all while working to find each one a permanent home.

People & Pets Together, formerly The Pet Project, began in 2009 in response to the global economic recession and many stories of people having to give up their pets due to financial hardship. In early 2016, the nonprofit opened its pet food shelf in South Minneapolis.

Last year, the food shelf distributed 96,097 pounds of dog and cat food, as well as 13 tons of cat litter. Additionally, People & Pets Together delivered 94,256 pounds of dog and cat food to various Twin Cities (human) food shelves, tripling 2019’s total.

Mairose said she’s looking for a bigger location for storing supplies and offering more vaccine and spay/neuter services for those who can’t afford them.

Two People & Pets Together employees have moved with the merger to join the Secondhand Hounds staff.

“We’re trying to keep everything very similar to how it’s been run but make a bigger impact by using Secondhand Hounds resources to really grow that program and allow it to thrive,” Mairose said.