Some dogs enter the shelter system happy and healthy. Others have serious medical problems that make it more difficult for them to find homes. When a dog has a terminal illness, the volunteers at Secondhand Hounds’ hospice program are there to help. They give sick dogs the comfort and care they need to live out their last days with dignity.Secondhand Hounds is an animal shelter based out of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. It does what a lot of other animal shelters do: find forever homes for dogs and other companion critters. What makes Secondhand Hounds truly special, however, is its hospice program. Volunteers at the nonprofit take in very sick dogs — and a handful of cats — and provide them with love and care.
Secondhand Hounds was founded in 2009, and as of 2016, it has saved over 10,000 animals. The hospice program began in 2015, and around 20 dogs receive care through it at any one time. Volunteers look after the animals in their own homes, while the shelter provides financial support and medical care.
Secondhand Hounds’ hospice program doesn’t try to stave off the inevitable, but it provides solace and love for creatures that might otherwise suffer. Pets with chronic illnesses are more difficult to place, and when the illness is terminal, they may otherwise wind up spending their last moments alone in a shelter. By giving these critters care at home, the quality of their lives improves drastically.
For example, Carol Marple’s furry friend, Bella Boo, arrived at the shelter in April 2015. Bella Boo wasn’t expected to stay for long, but as of July 2016, she is still alive and kicking. In an interview with the Star Tribune, Marple stated, “She seems to know that she’s safe, and she’s enjoying life.” Sheridan is another example of a terminally ill dog who benefited from the love and care of friendly humans. When Sheridan came down with canine osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, Sheridan’s humans decided to give him the time of his life. They took him out on epic adventures, ensuring he would live out the rest of his life as happily as could be. You can hear all about it in this post celebrating his epic last days.
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