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Volunteer at
Secondhand Hounds

We are always looking for people who can help us save the lives of more dogs and cats. If you love animals and would like to help out in ways other than fostering, please read below to learn about volunteer opportunities.

How do I become a volunteer? 

First, fill out our Volunteer Application. This is sent to our Volunteer Coordinator. Your application is reviewed, and you will be sent some additional information about our organization. You will be required to complete a Volunteer Agreement online as well. 


Approved volunteer looking for your handbook? Click here!

Some volunteer opportunities will include required training before duties can be performed. Once approved, you will be contacted by our Volunteer Coordinator for various tasks through our weekly volunteer email.


It is up to you how much you volunteer! We have activities going on throughout the week that need volunteer support. Your choices listed on the volunteer application will determine what emails you receive from us. You can always be added or removed from various lists if your interests change. To change your preferences, please fill out this form.

We welcome all who would like to give their time to Secondhand Hounds and want to ensure all volunteers have a positive experience. Our volunteer positions vary in expectations and demands. For the safety of our volunteers, staff and animals, we request that a supervisor is provided if a person with a physical or intellectual disability would like to volunteer. For questions regarding this policy, please reach out to us on our Contact form.

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How old do I need to be to volunteer?

Intake and Let Outs

18(+) years

Office Hours

at 16, you can assist, 18+ you can volunteer alone


12(+) can volunteer with a parent/guardian, 18(+) can volunteer alone

Puppy Parties

12-16 can volunteer with a parent/guardian, 17(+)can volunteer alone

How about large groups of volunteers?

Unfortunately, we don't have any regular opportunities for larger groups. We are a foster-based rescue, so all of our animals are in homes, not at our office. However, we are ALWAYS appreciative of donation drives that groups would like to do for us - whether it's monetary or supply donations (we take used supplies in good condition as well as new). Visit our Donation Wishlist to see what items we're in need of right now! 

  • How long does one typically foster a dog or cat before it finds a forever home?
    It is very hard to give an average time an animal is in foster care. Many puppies and kitties are adopted within a month​ or two, while some adult dogs have been in foster care for years! Most of the time, our animals are adopted relatively quickly, but we cannot make any guarantee as to how long they will be in your home. We ask that you commit to the animal you are fostering until a forever family is found.
  • Can I choose what dog/cat I want to foster?
    Yes! All of our animals needing a foster home are posted on our Secondhand Hounds Fosters Needed Facebook page. If you find a dog or cat who interests you, contact the Foster Coordinator and he/she will ensure the animal will be a good fit for your household. You can also give us criteria for the type of dog or cat you want to foster. After you let us know your criteria (i.e. age, size, gender), we will do our best to match you with the perfect foster animal.
  • What is the role of my Foster Coordinator?
    Foster Coordinators help find dogs and cats to come to rescue, and are responsible for placing them in foster homes that are a good fit. Foster Coordinators are also the main resource and support system for all of the fosters. If you have a question about your foster animal, you should talk to your FC. If it is a question that they can not answer, they will delegate that question to someone who has the answer. See them and all of our staff here!
  • Where do the dogs/cats come from?
    Our animals are rescued from high-kill shelters all around the Midwest. We have volunteers who regularly visit these facilities and look for animals that need our help. We have developed great relationships with shelter workers who contact us when they have animals in danger of being euthanized. If you are interested in more information about your specific foster, we will do our best to tell you where he/she comes from, and his/her background story, if possible. We also receive some of our animals from owner surrenders – owners who can no longer provide care for their animals, but who want to ensure the best possible new home is found for them.
  • Am I putting my personal pets in danger by agreeing to foster?
    Because our dogs and cats come from shelter situations, they have unknown histories and it’s quite possible they haven’t had their medical needs properly met. They sometimes have kennel cough (the equivalent of a human cold) and worms, among other possibilities. Before we bring the dogs/puppies and cats/kittens into a foster situation, we de-worm them, vaccinate them, and give them Frontline or other flea/tick preventatives. We highly recommend your resident animals are on Frontline or another flea/tick preventatives prior to fostering.

Questions about volunteering?

If you have any questions about volunteering for us, please email

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