Sweet Little Scarlet

Scarlet is a sweet 6 month old terrier mix. Every time I stop at the shelter to visit her she wants nothing but love. Lots of kisses and a chance to sit in your lap is all she is after. Someday we hope to find her a loving family to give her just that. But first, Scarlet needs to have heart surgery.

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She came to us about a month ago and Dr. Timmerman at the Vinton Urbana Veterinary Hospital discovered that she had a level 5 (out of 6) heart murmur. Scarlet was taken to Madison Wisconsin to have further tests done. They did an EKG and an Echo-cardiogram. Basically, the valve wall in her heart is very think which makes it hard for the valve to open up as it should. She goes back on the 29th for a follow up visit but they have told us they believe she will be eligible for a balloon valvuloplasty, where they go in an put a balloon in her heart to try to break down the tissue and open up the valve in her heart. 

We are doing a special fundraiser for Scarlet. Please, click here to give if you can. And share with family and friends. Scarlet only wants a chance to find a family that will love her and care for her. Lets pull together and give her that chance.


Happy Tails-Hollywood & Jake

This story brought tears to my eyes. It’s amazing how a little 4 legged friend can make such a difference.

March 28, 2011 was a day that changed our lives forever. After 16 great years of fun,
love, many long walks, hikes and doggie kisses, it was time for our beloved ‘first child’
and only sibling to our child to move on. We went in as a family of four and left as an
incredibly broken family of three.

As we walked out, we decided through our tears that we were done with animals. We’d
given Garcia – a miniature pinscher – so much love and just couldn’t bear to go through
this pain again. Besides, we wouldn’t have to worry about who was scooping the back
yard, rushing home to make sure the dog got out and wouldn’t have to arrange for
someone to watch him when we went out of town. This was starting to sound like a
pretty good deal!

When we got home that night, our buddy wasn’t there to welcome us. Even though
he was blind and nearly deaf in his later years, when he realized we were home he
would always come to greet us. The energy in our home was forever changed. The next
morning when I got up for my morning coffee, my little snuggle buddy wasn’t at my
side. The energy of my morning routine was gone. Surely I would get used to this, I told

Fast forward six months. My husband is in a local band and travels periodically on the
weekends. Our son is a busy teenager and is finding himself away from home more
and more as he gets older. My normal routine when they would be gone was to walk
the dog then come home for snuggles while I actually get to run the remote control and
pick something I wanted to watch for a change. As I sat down one evening, a single
tear rolled down my cheek. I wasn’t sure what set it off but I was incredible emotional
and missing my Garcia. It was a few minutes later that I realized it was six months to
the day that we had lost him. I put a post up on Facebook about having a sad day and
missing my little man. It was a post that changed everything.

My husband was at a gig that night and checked his Facebook while on a set break.
He saw my post. Up until that moment, he and our son had still said they didn’t want a
dog. However, my husband realized that I was the one that was suffering. As their busy
schedules kept them from thinking about it, I was home….lonely.

It was at this same time that a friend of ours was coordinating a benefit concert and had
chosen Last Hope to be the benefactor of fundraising at the event. My husband was
intrigued by the benefactor and clicked the link to the rescue’s site. The first picture that
popped up was a beautiful image of Hollywood. He later admitted to me that he had
looked at other dogs available for adoption, but this picture spoke to him and he just
knew this would be our next dog.

The following Monday without any warning, my husband emailed me a photo of
Hollywood. Without even opening the photo, I emailed him right back and told him
this better not be some sick and cruel joke! He said it wasn’t, that he had talked to our
son and they agreed it was time to adopt our next best friend. I truly cried – not having
realized how much I wanted this.

We started the adoption process which was awful! Okay, it wasn’t awful. But I just
wanted it to be done so I could get a new furbaby already! We met Hollywood and
simply fell in love. She was everything we were looking for and more. I was an absolute
wreck while waiting for the final approval process to be complete. I was on a business
trip out East and kept checking my phone every five minutes….I just had to know!

I was in New York when we got the news that we were getting our girl. I sat in my
office and cried. I was thrilled! Now the tough part, she was allowed to come ‘home’
when I was still out of the state! My beautiful girl picked me up at the airport the next
night. I sat in the backseat and got the best welcome home snuggles ever.

Hollywood has been amazing. She is an incredibly smart girl who loves to please. To
the point where she’s already earned her CGC! We couldn’t be happier. Except…..we
kept finding ourselves on Last Hope’s site wanting to rescue all the beautiful little faces.
Five months after Ms. Wood (as we like to call her) joined our family, conversations
started as to whether Hollywood would like a sibling.

We have never been a two-dog family and weren’t even sure WE were really capable of
this. We had developed a friendship with Chad Prenatt and started talking to him about
doing a short-term foster to not only see if we would be fit for two dogs, but to help out
Last Hope and Cedar Run when they needed weekend fosters. We gave Chad a few of
the dogs we thought we’d like to try out and after much conversation we landed with

On our meet and greet with Jake at Cedar Run, he and Hollywood hit it off. While slow
to start, they played great together and she wasn’t put off by his energy during play.
We were very pleased! I went to pick him up that Friday and couldn’t wait to get him
home to Hollywood. She was so incredibly excited – they played in the yard so hard,
something that you could tell Hollywood had been missing.

A couple of weeks into having Jake in our home (and many photos of his sweet face
later) many people began to ask if we were going to keep him. We stood our ground
that he was a foster for Last Hope and that we hadn’t made any decisions yet. We were
taking it one day at a time. Enter Chad Prenatt again. He asked us one day how things
were going with Jake. I told him things were going great! Jake was sweet, an incredible

snuggler, he listened very well and adores his foster sister. Chad said, ‘Well, I had a
couple call and ask about him today.’ I looked at my husband with a look of fear and
about had to pick my eyeballs off the floor. In that unspoken moment as we locked eyes
and let it all sink in, we knew that we were officially a two-dog household and that Jake
wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. He had found his forever home.

I can honestly say that our home is finally complete again with Jake and Hollywood.
The energy is back and the greeters are at the door to welcome us home every day. Sure,
poop scoop duty is back, we have to buy larger bags of dog food and the nine pound
lapdog that was in the form of a miniature pinscher is now in the form of two 50+
pound dogs. We truly wouldn’t have it any other way. I realize now that my beloved
Garcia would want me to share my love with another dog. He would be happy to know
that another four legged furbaby was getting saved, getting love and living a long
healthy life, just like he did.

Now, I gotta run. I have a call to make to Cedar Run to make a reservation. Something
I’m more than happy to do.


My Auction Adventures

There are 2 breeder auctions coming up in Iowa on April 26th and 27th.
These dogs are going from one horrible situation to another. Bailing out Benji provides an inside look into these auctions.

Bailing out Benji

I did something that I have been trying to mentally prepare myself for since I started Bailing Out Benji… A small group of friends and I drove almost two hours to attend a puppy mill auction in Vail, Iowa. Thankfully, K-D Kennels owned by Dean and Karen Grell is officially OUT OF BUSINESS. After years of bad USDA reports, they are leaving the business. Sadly for all of their 240 dogs (and a few puppies), they were being auctioned off like property instead of going to rescues. Please read my story, share it, and reach out if you have any questions! 


This was a very intimidating experience, for sure. Walking on to this property that I had read so many awful things about, not knowing if I will be kicked out immediately, or if I will be hauled away because I couldn’t keep my comments to myself. The thoughts were…

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Happy Tails-Virgil

I thought I would share a story Sonia received recently from a prior adopter.


Virgil here was adopted by Chris & Suzi and Sonia recently received this email from Chris. It sounds like things are going well!
Suzi & I have been meaning to do this for some time.
Attached are a few recent pictures of “Virgil”. We’ve left his name un-changed cause it suited him so well (plus, it “carries” well when I’m yelling for him to come home). Virg and his house mate Bindi (another rescue, female GSP from Cedar Bend) are our home/life companions and very much have the run of the place. He adores Suzi and while not “over the top”, Virg is Suzi’s dog.
Virg is now a 70# “wup ass” dog with a loving disposition and a 6’ vertical leap from a standing position! Big & blocky, dower looking all the time, when he wag’s his tail – his whole body wiggles. He’s quite vocal, chips & whines, grunts, etc. and always the guard dog, has a heck of a bark/growl.
He is an absolute rock star with our family including infants and gets along great w/every dog he meets. Cats, squirrels, porcupines – not so good.
Did I mention porcupines?
Virg did a “stomp & chomp” on a porky almost a year ago and some of the hundreds of quills he got struck with are still festering out, including one in the joint of his driver side front paw. Vet is pretty sure the porky didn’t make it but we’re all sure Virg wished he had never meet the porky!     
Suzi & I will watch our finances and try to continue w/periodic donations.
Also, to anyone you might share this e-mail with – NEVER “buy” a dog (or any pet). Adopt from Last Hope! Tended & Loved from Last Hope to Your Home. We’ll never “purchase” a pet again. Too many great options available for rescue to ever consider adding $$ to “the mill”!
Thank you!

This Week in Adoptions

I know it’s been a while since we’ve had an update. It’s been a busy couple weeks. We’ve had several new foster homes set up and we had around 15 adoptions this last week alone. So with that I will leave you with some pictures of those lucky dogs who found their forever homes.



Anabelle                                                  Clover






Griffin, now Lyla





Recon                                                                        Rocko



Rocky                                                         Cash