Secondhand Hope

Our Secondhand Hope program offers companion pet visits to Minnesota assisted living communities and other facilities. Our goal is to provide both humans and animals with comfort, socialization and companionship. Volunteers bring their personal animals, including dogs (both large and small) and cats, to participate in the visits. Each animal and its handler receives guidance from Secondhand Hounds staff in order to make the experience both enjoyable and safe.


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Numerous and varied scientific studies have proven that interaction with companion animals offers a wide range of benefits, both mental and physical. Some of those benefits include:

Physical Health:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Releases endorphins (oxytocin) that have a calming effect
  • Diminishes overall physical pain
  • The act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, reducing the amount of medication some folks need

Mental Health:

  • Lifts spirits and lessens depression
  • Decreases feelings of isolation and alienation
  • Encourages communication
  • Provides comfort
  • Increases socialization
  • Reduces boredom
  • Lowers anxiety
  • Reduces loneliness

All animals will be evaluated based on the certain criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Friendly demeanor
  • Willingness and enjoyment of petting and attention
  • Basic Obedience
  • Steady temperament
  • Ability to remain calm around groups of people and some medical equipment
  • Lack of jumping or “mouthiness”

Additionally, we will also be evaluating the human volunteers on their interpersonal skills, friendly and warm personality, ability to converse with a wide range of people and willingness to help. Our goal is for the program to grow to include many volunteer teams, so that we can provide a large array of people with the enjoyment and comfort of companion animal visits. Questions about this program can be directed to

Secondhand Hounds Hope Program FAQs

  • What is the Secondhand Hope program?
  • What are the benefits of the Secondhand Hope program?
  • How does volunteering work for the Secondhand Hounds Hope program?
  • I’m ready to volunteer!
  • What types of communities does Secondhand Hope serve?
  • I represent an assisted living community, what do I do to get my community involved?
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