I first heard Mason’s story about a month ago when he first came to us. But for one volunteer, it started nearly a year ago. 

Lori had been watching this dog run the fields out side Vinton for nearly a year. She tried every trick she could think of to gain his trust. But nothing seemed to work. Mason

Then one day we received a call from the Vinton shelter. They had a dog that had been hit by a car and needed surgery and wanted to know if we could help. Of course we agreed and Lori went out to transport the dog to our vets office. Much to her surprise, it was the same dog she had been chasing for months.

Mason had broken both bones in his front leg. After a few x-rays he had plates put into his leg. The total cost was over $1,700. He was moved into a foster home to heal up and get ready for his new home.

Just this week Mason went to his new forever home! He loves his new mom and dad already!

Mason FamilyWhile Mason may have spent a year on the run it looks like he will settle right in in his new home! Thanks to Last Hope he will be able to run and play with his family just like any other dog. To help Last Hope continue to help dogs like Mason donate here today!

Crystal Black

The Importance of Rabies Vaccinations

All states in the United States require pets to be vaccinated against the rabies virus and ours is no exception. But besides being the law, there are other important reasons to vaccinate your pets.

The symptoms of rabies are visible in one or several stages. With most animals, the virus will spread through the nerves of the bitten animal toward the brain. The virus is relatively slow moving and the average time of incubation from exposure to brain involvement is between 3 to 8 weeks in dogs, 2 to 6 weeks in cats, and 3 to 6 weeks in people. However, incubation periods as long as 6 months in dogs and 12 months in people have been reported. After the virus reaches the brain it then will move to the salivary glands where it can be spread through a bite. After the virus reaches the brain the animal will show one, two, or all of the three different phases.

ShotThe first is the prodromal phase and usually lasts for 2-3 days in dogs. Apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, solitude, and a fever may be noted. Friendly animals may become shy or irritable and may snap, whereas, aggressive animals may become affectionate and docile. Most animals will constantly lick the site of the bite. In cats, the prodromal phase lasts for only 1-2 days and they usually develop more fever spikes and erratic behavior than dogs.

From the prodromal phase, animals may enter the furious stage; cats are particularly prone to developing this phase. The furious stage of the disease in dogs usually lasts for 1 to 7 days. Animals become restless and irritable and are hyperresponsive to auditory and visual stimuli. As they become more restless, they begin to roam and become more irritable and vicious. When caged, dogs may bite and attack their enclosures. Animals progress to become disoriented and then have seizures and eventually die.

Animals may develop the paralytic phase either after the prodromal or furious stage. The paralytic phase usually develops within 2 to 4 days after the first signs are noted. Nerves affecting the head and throat are the first to be involved and animals may begin to salivate as a result of their inability to swallow. Deep labored breathing and a dropped jaw may result as the diaphragm and facial muscles become increasingly paralyzed. Animals may make a choking sound and many owners think that there is something lodged in the dog’s throat. The animal will get weaker and eventually go into respiratory failure and die.

There is no treatment. Once the disease develops in humans, death is almost certain. Only a handful of people have survived rabies after extremely intensive medical care. There have been several reported cases of dogs surviving the infection, but they are very rare.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and properly vaccinated animals stand very little chance of contracting the disease. While rabies vaccination for dogs is mandatory for all states, it is estimated that up to half of all dogs are not vaccinated. Some communities are also requiring cats to be vaccinated, which is very important because there are currently more cases of cat rabies than dog rabies. Some people estimate that less than ten percent of the cat population is vaccinated thus leading to the high incidence of rabies in cats. The standard vaccination protocol is to vaccinate cats and dogs at three or four months and then again at one year of age. A year later, a three-year rabies vaccination is recommended. The three-year vaccine has been tested and shown to be very effective.

All of our animals are vaccinated against Rabies. Please donate here to help us continue.

Julia Black

RTVD – Hannibal

Sometimes things happen beyond our control and then there is no one to care for a beloved pet. An unavoidable thing happened that caused Hannibal to be in our care. However, Hannibal had a disease that complicated things. Last Hope stepped in to help him.

This is our story of Hannibal

IMG_20141028_073957282Hannibal was living the life every animal would be lucky to have; a home to call his own, a loving owner and a place to lay his head and to be warm and safe. Hannibal’s  whole life changed in an instant when  his owner he had known his whole life passed away, leaving Hannibal, a 12-year-old Labrador Retriever, German Short Hair Pointer, Dalmatian Mix with  such a loss. Hannibal’s owner had a son that tried hard to care for Hannibal the best he could, but his finances were just enough to care for Hannibal for you see Hannibal has Addison’s Disease, an endocrine system disorder that when the Adrenal glands fail to produce enough hormones for normal functions, left untreated is fatal, which means he needs to be on a special medication the rest of his life, and his prognosis is short. The costs of the meds were too expensive for the son to continue to pay for so he contacted Last Hope Animal Rescue to help him.

So we brought  Hannibal in and placed him with a foster mom, who took very good care  him and loved him very much, until he was placed with his end of life family.  Hannibal was fitting in well until he became very ill and lethargic one night. Hannibal  was rushed to the emergency vet where they found he had an extremely large prostate and his liver was distorted and the texture was concerning and there were several  lesions on it.  The vet sent Hannibal home with high doses of Baytril, Amoxicillin, and Prednisone, for 2 weeks. Hannibal finally did start to feel better and is having the life a dog should have.

We thought everything was going be  fine until we received a call from the vet today on her prognosis of Hannibal. It is with a sad note that his liver is shutting down and his enzyme levels are the highest they have ever seen, so by the time you read this Hannibal will have crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

It is with a heavy heart that I need to tell you  his story to let everyone know that with all obstacles, he was a loving, gentle, sweet dog.  Hannibal never gave up, and he never let you know the pain he was in, all he wanted was to cuddle you, give you kisses, and go for long slow walks, and to smell the fresh air. Hannibal is being adopted by his foster mom and dad so he can have his forever home and a place to call his own once again. We will always remember his love of people, cats, other dogs and the loyalty he had.

This is the story of our Hannibal, may he run free of pain and be loved by whomever he meets. My husband and I will never forget how amazing and  rewarding having Hannibal in our lives has meant to us; he was such a gift to us.  We will always love him.

There are many animals that require extra veterinary care like Hannibal. Please help us pay for these bills by donating here. Thank you for your support!

Julia Black


Many of you who have been following along for a while may remember our trip to the puppy mill auction last year. We still have a few of those precious pups with us today. Dylan is one of those dogs. He’s had a few chances at adoption but health issues always seem to get in the way. His “foster” shared his story with me.

Dylan came to LHAR over a year and a half ago.  He was 7 years old and lived his entire life in a crate at a puppy mill. He started his vet visits with a neuter surgery and then a dental.  Due to the lack of care he had all of his teeth pulled.  They could not be saved.  When neighbor kids ask why his tongue hangs out, I explain that he doesn’t have any teeth to hold it in.  He also is missing part of his lower jaw. His next issue was pancratitus which many times is fatal.  He fought 2 rounds and won that battle.  Things were going well for him until another dog bit him on the mouth.  With his jaw already in poor condition, it was broken.  He was on pain killers for a week or so to help it mend on its own.  The broken piece was too small for surgical repair. Though his body has healed, he is having panic attacks from loud noises such as thunder or fireworks.  If I can’t be with him, I take special precautions if I know it’s coming. He is normally a happy little guy.  He has never really barked but has a quiet noise that I say sounds like a cute little alien.  I recorded it on my cell phone and whenever I need a pick me up, I listen to Dylan chattering away.  For all I know, he could be chewing me out.

Someday Dylan may find his forever home (maybe he already has?). But until then, Last Hope will take whatever measures necessary to ensure he is happy and loved and as healthy as can be. To help Last Hope continue to care for dogs like Dylan donate here today.

Crystal Black

RTVD-Mr. Mac

I remember when Mr. Mac first came in. We knew he needed some special attention and someone to Macwork with him. He wasn’t doing well at the shelter and didn’t like being with the other dogs. It’s amazing what the right foster home and a little TLC can do.

Mr Mac had a rough start coming into Last Hope. He had been staying at the shelter for sometime & was very misunderstood. He had a lot of energy & needed a lot of attention & work. One day a foster family was coming to look at another shelter pup when the unthinkable happened. When the foster family pulled up they walked around & waited patiently until they could visit with the pup they were coming to take home. All of a sudden a loud ruckus with snarls, growling, & loud whimpering arose. The pup the foster family came to visit had Mr. Mac’s face through the fence. The foster family immediately rushed into the kennel & broke up the ruckus. It was extremely traumatic for Mr. Mac. One of the foster parents checked the other dog that had gotten Mr. Mac while the other foster parent ripped his shirt off applied his shirt to Mr. Mac’s jaw to slow down the bleeding. The other dog seemed fine & was just covered in Mr Mac’s blood. Mr Mac however was not okay. The foster family ended up rushing Mr. Mac to a nearby Pet Hospital where He ended up receiving over 40 stitches to his face & jaw. To top off the misery he had already encountered, Mr. Mac tested Heart worm positive. After hours of intensive surgery & lots of attention the foster family decided to take Mr. Mac as their foster. This was a big step Mac 2for them seeing as they have 2 other dogs at their home & they had been informed he had a lot of problems to overcome. They got him home bathed him, set him up in his own recovery room, & waited patiently until morning to see how he would react to his new surroundings. After one great day of recovery, he had to be taken to another Pet Hospital, where he would stay for 3 days to receive his heart worm treatment. It was a very long time for the foster family seeing as they had already bonded with him deeply. Upon picking him up, they noticed his stitches & face had a stench coming from them. He had not received his meds, or had his stitches cleaned up during his stay. He had a horrible infection & had to have part of his face removed. After a few months & a rough recovery, He has found out that he loves his foster family & foster brothers very much. He has been through a horribly rough year but with lots of attention from his foster family & his medical providers, he has never been better.

Dog fights at the kennels are our worst nightmare. We do everything we can to avoid them. But when the unthinkable happens we pick up and immediately do what we can to fix it. Mac was taken in and received the treatment he needed. Then they turned around and treated his heartworm. Mac overcame his rough start and now his “foster family” have become foster failures. Mac has found his forever home. He overcame his rough start and now gets along great with his new brothers and is happy and healthy in his new home. To support Last Hope and help us continue to give dogs like Mac, who don’t thrive in a shelter environment, a second chance donate here today. 

Crystal Black

Why It’s Important to Spay/Neuter

The decision to spay/neuter your pet is an important one. But it can be the single best decision you make for his long-term welfare and for the welfare of other animals in your community.

Getting your pet spayed/neutered can:

  • Reduce the number of homeless pets killed
  • Improve your pet’s health
  • Reduce unruly behavior
  • Save on the cost of pet care

Homeless and Euthanized Pets

????????????????????????????In every community, in every state, there are homeless animals. In the U.S., there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Barely half of these animals are adopted. Tragically, most of the rest are euthanized. These are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions.


According to a report in USA Today, neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. The report goes on to add that in Mississippi, the lowest-ranking state for pet longevity, 44% of the dogs are not neutered or spayed.

Part of the reduced lifespan of unaltered pets can be attributed to their increased urge to roam, exposing them to fights with other animals, getting struck by cars, and other mishaps.

Another contributor to the increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain types of cancers. Unspayed female cats and dogs have a far greater chance of developing pyrometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer, and other cancers of the reproductive system.

Medical evidence indicates that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. (Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.)

Male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer, and it is thought they they have lowered rates of prostate cancer, as well.


Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine-marking (lifting his leg) than neutered dogs. Although it is most often associated with male dogs, females may do it, too. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether.

For cats, the urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat, and the simplest solution is to get yours neutered or spayed by 4 months of age before there’s even a problem. Neutering solves 90 percent of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and fighting with other males.

In both cats and dogs, the longer you wait, the greater the risk you run of the surgery not doing the trick because the behavior is so ingrained.

Other behavioral problems that can be ameliorated by spay/neuter include:

  • Roaming, especially when females are “in heat.”
  • Aggression: Studies also show that most dogs bites involve dogs who are unaltered.
  • Excessive barking, mounting, and other dominance-related behaviors.

While getting your pets spayed/neutered can help curb undesirable behaviors, it will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct.

Cost Cutting

African American young adult female veterinarian holding brown Pomeranian dog.When you factor in the long-term costs potentially incurred by a non-altered pet, the savings afforded by spay/neuter are clear (especially given the plethora of low-cost spay/neuter clinics).

Caring for a pet with reproductive system cancer or pyometra can easily run into the thousands of dollars—five to ten times as much as a routine spay surgery. Additionally, unaltered pets can be more destructive or high-strung around other dogs. Serious fighting is more common between unaltered pets of the same gender and can incur high veterinary costs.

Millions of pet deaths each year are a needless tragedy. By spaying or neutering your pet, you can be an important part of the solution. Contact your veterinarian today and be sure to let your family and friends know that they should do the same.

Help us to continue to fund spay/neuter surgery for our dogs. Donate here.


Julia Black




Sweet Pawka was surrendered to us as a puppy by a breeder because he was born blind and mostly deaf. He Pawka 2had been kept in a basement, never been outside, and never learned to play or know love.  When he came to his foster home he learned how to play and dig and be a normal puppy.

His foster took him to Iowa Sate for tests to see if there was anything we could do for him. He had a sedated ophthalmic exam. They found he had very limited vision in his left eye. Hearing tests also indicated that he was deaf. It was possible that there was limited hearing in one ear but he was expected to lose that within a year.

Now called Rory, this sweetie has found his forever home. While $500 in tests revealed that we couldn’t do anything to save his site or hearing Rory is happy and now quite a Steeler’s fan.


Sometimes there’s noting we can do for the ones we try so hard to help. Luckily for this boy there was a family out there ready to accept him the way he is (perfect in our eyes). Our hope for every one we rescue is that they will find that family. To help Last Hope continue finding the perfect homes donate here today.

Crystal Black