A message from Rachel Mairose, Founder & Executive Director, Secondhand Hounds:

When I was starting Secondhand Hounds back in 2009, I heard so many people in rescue claim it was our job to get animals away from those who could not afford their care. That all animals deserved access to the best food, the best veterinary care, the best… you name it.

I bought into it. For a while.

At the same exact time, Kim Carrier was starting her own organization – an organization who threw that notion to the wind. Instead of penalizing people who had fallen on hard times by taking their animals away, she was doing her best to support them while they regained their footing. People & Pets Together. The first pet food shelf in Minnesota.

Kim was (and is) a pioneer. She understood that the “best” was a home with love. “Best” was staying with a family that knows and loves you. “Best” was family.

And then it clicked for me. The only possible way rescue will be put out of business (our ultimate goal!) is if we stop the mentality of “take” and instead concentrate on what we can give. In doing so, we can support animals staying in homes – allowing us to concentrate our rescue efforts on the ones truly in need. The ones without homes. It also allows us to earn trust within all different kinds of communities so when we talk about spay/neuter and reducing overpopulation it becomes a collaborative discussion. And someday, the norm.

So in 2019, when People & Pets Together (PPT) asked if Secondhand Hounds would be interested in a merger, I was ecstatic and inspired and humbled. It felt like the puzzle pieces were all falling into place. Together, we could become an organization who wasn’t always bailing out the sinking animal rescue board. We could become an organization focused on patching some of those holes to stay afloat – permanently. (I love metaphors!)

Over the last 18 months, I have been serving on the PPT board, learning about their incredible program and ways to advance Kim’s mission even further. Now, officially, we have merged into one organization with a big vision. I hope you are as excited as we are. This is a dream come true.

Now, to help you get to know PPT a little better, I want to introduce you to People and Pets Together through the eyes of Nick and Kate, two of PPTs amazing program directors who we are thrilled are joining us here at Secondhand Hounds. Nick has been with PPT since 2017, and Kate since 2019. They were both asked what PPTs mission means to them and their responses are an amazing attestation to the importance of this program.

Nick shared that “something as simple as providing pet food and supplies, or veterinary care, to someone experiencing hardship, can make a huge impact. The best part of my time with People & Pets Together has been meeting our clients and learning about the dogs, cats or other animals they share their lives with. People & Pets Together helps people from a mix of backgrounds and experiences– seniors living on a fixed income and young people who were recently unemployed, people who are dealing with health problems, and working families who struggle each month to make ends meet. Our clients may have little else in common, but they all love their pets and make sacrifices to keep them.”

Kate was in agreement, and added that PPT’s mission “is to end pet surrender. Our clients are faced with the question of how to keep their family, including their pets, fed. We’re here to answer one of those questions. I work with People and Pets Together because I believe in our work and know that I could find myself in the same position that clients find themselves in. My pets are very important to me. My dogs have helped me through painful loss, hiked with me to undiscovered places, and kept me company during lonely moments. They bring me great joy and I never want to be without them by my side. And I wish that for every person who enters our door.”

If that didn’t win your heart over, we don’t know what will, but here’s a little more background just for fun. PPT was founded in 2009 in response to the global economic downturn and heartbreaking stories of people who were forced to give up their pets due to financial hardship. When our community members visit a food shelf, they can only leave with what they can carry – and that often means choosing between a 4o pound bag of pet food, or food for themselves. PPT makes sure they don’t have to choose which family members they’ll get to feed that week. In 2020 alone, PPT delivered 94,256 pounds of dog and cat food to Twin Cities Food Shelves, and distributed 96,097 pounds from their own pet food shelf. We’ll do the math for you here: that’s 190,353 pounds of pet food for families in need, just in 2020. They also served 1,024 households – that’s 1,024 families that stayed together with PPT’s help. We are so excited to say that by joining together, we will continue to see those numbers go up, and continue to touch the lives of people and pets alike.

Want to help?

Now that we’ve officially come together as one organization, we can focus on finding a new home for PPT with more space than we currently have so we can increase the amount of lives touched and establish more pet-related resources for the Twin Cities at large. Picture storage for hundreds of pounds of pet food, space for training classes, and so much more. If you have any leads on a space that might work for our newest venture, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].

Our Future Vision for PPT

One of the coolest things about this merger are the future opportunities it opens up. People & Pets Together will allow us to expand services to keep animals with their loving families. Our dreams don’t stop at supplying food, supplies, and veterinary care to those facing economic hardship. There is a distinct need for respite foster care for those struggling with addiction, mental health, domestic abuse, and injuries/ailments preventing them from caring for their animals temporarily. Secondhand Hounds, alongside PPT, is committed to re-imagining the way we think about animal rescue. This is the only way we will be able to start overcoming our homeless animal issue. And we cannot wait.

I’ll leave you with these words from PPT’s incredible founder, Kim Carrier.

“This merger is really a culmination of a lot of love, hard work and dedication. Not only from me and Rachel but from the hundreds of volunteers dedicated to our joint missions. Merging seems like a natural fit so that all services needed could be in the same house. If you want to keep your pet, we can help you. If you really just can’t keep your pet, we can also help you. I think that there was a lot of frustration for each of us not being able to do both and now together… we can.”