So Many Questions!

Occasionally we get asked, “Why do you ask so many questions before approving an adoption?” People think that perhaps ANY home is better than no home, right?

There are reasons we ask so many questions and make home visits. We don’t want to throw pets into just any old home; we owe it to the animals, and to the adopters, to make sure the animal is going to fit in well in the home. Some of these animals have already had difficult lives and the last thing they need is to be placed in home that isn’t right for them.

So why do we ask:

Question EmojiNames and ages of people in the household? Because we need to know if there are children in the home that might be at risk with the wrong placement. Not every animal is kid-friendly and so it’s important to know the ages of every child in the family. Sometimes older kids are okay but younger kids wouldn’t be.

Where the dog will be at night and while you’re away? Because many of the dogs lost their homes and ended up in a shelter or rescue because neighbors complained about constant barking. It is also important to know that the animals are going to be safe while you are away.

If you’ll be willing and able to train? Because so often the dogs are homeless due to the previous owners’ unwillingness or inability to train them. The dogs become unruly and difficult to live with and guess what? They get dumped at a shelter or rescue for someone else to deal with.

What history you have with animals? If a potential adopter has a negative past with animal ownership (got rid of them if they peed in the house, moved, or had a baby) we need to know that. If someone isn’t ready to deal with everything that comes with adopting an animal then that isn’t going to be a good placement.

The questions we ask before allowing an adoption are very important so that we find exceptional homes. The system is not perfect, and sometimes we have to re-home an animal because the home wasn’t the right fit, but we ask the questions for very good reasons. Last Hope has an excellent track record of finding the right homes the first time and it’s due to the questions we ask as well as a team of devoted volunteers who are committed to finding good forever homes for our animals.

Being placed in the wrong home is NOT better than sitting in the adoption center or a foster home. We are determined to find homes for our animals with people who will love and care for them the rest of their days. We owe it to the animals to ask the questions we ask. They deserve the very best!

Julia Black

Happy Tails: Norman


Scott, Lisa, Reis, and Hadlee adopted one of our puppies recently and they are enjoying their new family member.

They heard about Last Hope on Facebook and turned to us when it was time to adopt. They named the puppy Norman and he’s enjoying his time with their other dog, Nacho; they play together all day!

They visited the puppies twice and adopted the puppy they connected with both times. The adoption process was seamless and simple and they appreciate the help of both Sonia and Crystal during the process.

Norman adjusted well to his forever home and is learning and experiencing new things all the time. They love their new little chubby puppy and he is fitting in great! 

Thank you for sharing your Happy Tails story and for choosing Last Hope when it was time to adopt. And thank you to all the volunteers who made this story possible!

Julia Black

Rudy’s Story

Rudy’s story started out tough, but thanks to the Aab family, he lived the last years of his life in a loving home and he loved his family in return. Here is their story …

Last Hope Animal Rescue –

I am writing to you to let you know about our experience with Last Hope Animal Rescue.  Back in September of 2008, my fiancée at the time and I started to look for a companion for us and for our senior Mastiff, Zeus.  A friend of ours was a foster for Last Hope at the time and directed us to a Mastiff mix named Rudy that had been with the organization for 10 months.  We called the foster and the next day loaded up our Mastiff and drove down south of Iowa City to meet with Rudy and his foster family.  The day after our visit we had our home evaluation and Rudy moved in that morning.  The following pictures were taken the day that he came to live with us.

Rudy  Rudy 2

He instantly became my dog and followed me everywhere.  We joked about him being my shadow as he really didn’t allow me more than a 10 foot separation before he had to follow me where I went.

Rudy’s History

Rudy was listed as senior dog with an estimated age of 5-8 years old.  Rudy had been in situation where there were 20 dogs outside and in a home that was basically abandoned.  We were told that the “owners” would open a can of food but leave the food in the can and just throw the can outside.  Rudy’s teeth had paid the price of that kind of treatment.  We had him scheduled for a teeth cleaning and when they got in there, they found that he was missing seven teeth, needed 10 more removed, and had one broken canine tooth that the decision was to leave at the time.

He also was very scarred as you can see from the white specks on his head in the images above.  He had horrible scarring on his head, ears, and even around his eyes.  Lastly, the belief was that he was also hit by a car at some point as he had a bad scar on his hind quarters and both of his CCLs were ruptured (never repaired).  Because of this, his hind legs were straight and he would walk “downhill” at all times.

Recent Times

Rudy 3Over the course of the last six years, we have had to put down our beloved Zeus but welcomed another rescue Mastiff, Moe, into our family.  We have two little boys that love their puppies very much.  Rudy was always very gentle with them and extremely patient.

Last night when I got home to put the dogs outside, Rudy was struggling to get up and in the process fell three times and was not able to walk anymore.  I sat outside with him covered under blankets, petting him and telling him it was ok for 45 minutes until my husband was able to get home to carry him inside.  We loaded him up and made the trip down to the emergency vet and said good-bye to our gentle giant. As he laid on the gurney you could tell that he knew what was coming and that it was time. He didn’t fight it, he didn’t try to get up, he just went in peace as my husband and I petted him and told him we loved him and it was going to be alright. Rudy 4

Our family is completely heartbroken and I wish there was a way to take that pain away, but I would never trade the time we had with our sweet boy.  He was honestly the best dog I have been around and if I could have cloned him, I would have done it in an instant.

Thank you for all that your organization does to save these animals from horrible situations and place them in loving homes.  I cannot imagine the last six years of my life without Rudy.

 – The Aab Family


Julia Black


October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month

October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month and, unfortunately, there are always plenty of dogs available at local shelters and rescues to adopt. Not all of us are able to adopt a dog, but there are still plenty of things you can do to help them find forever homes:

  1. “Donate” your Facebook status. Just paste this message into the “What’s on your mind?” box at the top of your page: “October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month! Save a life; adopt a dog from Last Hope Animal Rescue or contact them for volunteer opportunities or donation needs!”
  2. Tweet, retweet, and repeat the following:  “October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month! Save a life; adopt a dog from Last Hope Animal Rescue or contact them for volunteer opportunities or donation needs! #savedogs”
  3. Shelter DonationContact your local shelter or rescue group and ask if they have a donation wish list or other flyer they’d like you to post around your office or neighborhood. They may be holding special events for Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month which you can help promote.
  4. Share an adoptable dog happy tail story on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter (#savedogs). You can find Last Hope’s happy tails right here on this blog!
  5. Sign up as a foster parent or rescue volunteer then tell your friends how great it is. Contact your local shelter or rescue group to find out how you can help.
  6. Add a Petfinder widget or banner to your website or blog.
  7. Write an op-ed about the importance of pet adoption for your local newspaper.
  8. Contact your local shelter or rescue group and offer to photograph their adoptable pets.
  9. Donate to your local shelter or rescue group.
  10. Pass on an understanding of the importance of pet adoption to the next generation. Talk to your kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other up-and-comers about shelters and rescue groups and why pet adoption is important.

There are many things you can do to help even if you’re not able to adopt a dog! The first step is to contact your local rescue group and ASK. They’ll be happy to talk to you about volunteering opportunities and other ways you can help.

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10 Little Puppies Update

This summer, Last Hope adopted out 10 Lab/Terrier puppies! They are adorable and adjusting well to their new homes. We have gotten requests for updates on them so here are some before and after photos…

Puppy #1 (now Louie):

1       Louie 1



Puppy #2 (now Brecken):

2     Brecken 2 take 2


Puppy #3 (now Humbolt):

3     Bella 3



Puppy #4 (now Georgie):

4     Georgie 4


Puppy #5 (now Jaxx):

5     Jaxx 5



Puppy #6 (now Bella):

6     Bella 6


Puppy #7 (now Kali):

7    Kali


Puppy #8 (now Luke):

8    Luke 8



Puppy #9 (now Elsa):

9    Elsa 9


Puppy #10 (now Leia):

10    Leia 10


A special thank you to Visions Photography ( for the original puppy pictures! All the “after” photos were provided by the adoptive families.

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Happy Tails: Daisy



Helen and her family adopted Daisy (formerly Zuzu) and this is their happy tails story in their own words…


“We love her lots! As I write this, she is fast asleep on the ottoman after another exciting trip to the dog park.

We have wanted a dog for a few years, but we had a small house and did not think it was fair to a dog. We have a great cat, Tinkerbell, and were concerned with her feeling the dog took over. We moved in March to a great big house with a great yard. We were ready for a dog! We had to wait until baseball and softball slowed down so we’d be home.

We chose Last Hope because we wanted an older dog that needed our help. Our cats have always been adopted or strays that found us, and it’s important to us to help animals that need homes. We also liked that Daisy had been in a foster home with cats!

Daisy had us at “hello”! She was so soft and cute. She looks like she is smiling and we love her freckles!

She has done great settling in, and every day we grow to love her more! She is great with our kids and loves all the attention she gets from them. Probably my favorite thing about her is when she asks to be petted … she walks up and nudges your hand up to her head! It’s also pretty darn cute to watch her when she’s really tired … she almost falls asleep standing up. Her eyes start to close before she realizes she should probably lay down!

We are working with her on “heel” and “leave it,” and she is already getting better.

It has been a great experience! Carol and Jennifer from Last Hope were super helpful and did an amazing job helping us make Daisy comfortable and safe her first few days. We could see what a difference it made being in a foster home, too. Daisy was extremely well-adjusted and happy which made all the difference to us. We can’t thank you guys enough for letting us adopt our sweet girl!!”

Thank you, Helen and family, for sharing your story and giving one of our dogs her forever home.

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Puppies Playing

Happy Tails: Bentley


Recently Jamie and her husband adopted Comet, who is now named Bentley, and this is their success story…

BentleyPrevious to adopting Bentley they had a dog for ten years. Two years ago they had to have her put to sleep. It took a while but they were finally ready to put their hearts out there and adopt another dog, but they knew it had to be a good match.

They heard about Last Hope from a friend and decided to look into adopting. Looking for a puppy, they found Bentley. He was socialized in a much bigger pack at his foster home and at his new home it is just Jamie and her husband. In order to keep him well socialized they have been taking him to a variety of places including a graduation party, a  picnic at a retirement community, and is  currently taking puppy classes. He also enjoys going to doggy daycare at Cedar Run and car rides.

Bentley is doing very well in his new forever home. He eats all his food and has gained four pounds in less than a month. He sleeps on his bed in their bedroom at night, has never had an accident in the night, and sleeps from about 10:00 PM to 5:30 AM. Jamie jokes that he is doing much better than her kids did at five months of age. He already has many friends in his new Bentley 2neighborhood and they cannot wait to take him more places.

Jamie has nothing but good things to say about Last Hope and the adoption process. She was impressed that we check references because she realizes that the animals need to be safe and in good homes. The adoption process felt quick to her and she states that “Last Hope and Cedar Run have excellent staff and volunteers.”

Jamie says that they are more than happy with Bentley; they are over the moon and he has abundant kisses for them every day. What a success story! It sounds like Bentley has found a wonderful forever home with people committed to training and socializing him.

Puppies Playing

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Millie’s Happy Tail


Mary and her family adopted Buttons (now Millie) from Last Hope and gave us a brief update on their new family member.

Millie 2

Millie 3Just a note to let you know we adopted Millie, formerly Buttons, from Last Hope Animal Rescue. Kris Larson was her foster mom.
We have had Millie two weeks today and we are so happy with her, and she has made so much progress in the last two weeks. She is walking on a leash and she goes potty outside more often now. She still has accidents in the house at night, but it is in the kitchen/dining area.

We are so happy with her and we really appreciate all of the time Kris has spent making sure we were a good match, and we have been in contact every day. She is a wonderful person. Here are some photos of our little Millie. We discovered that she loves to have her picture taken and is quite a little ham! Kris made the little blue and pink blanket and embroidered her name on it.

Puppies Playing

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Happy Tail: Bella

This is a great success story about Bella who was adopted earlier this year by Darlene Young and her family. Bella was a puppy mill dog that came from a shelter in Illinois. The first paragraph is from an email sent shortly after Bells was adopted. The second paragraph is a more recent update…

BellaWe have a big wire kennel that we put her in last night at bedtime. As soon as we got up we took her out, at which time she went to the bathroom and we gave her a treat. She has been out twice more and went to the bathroom each time. She is getting comfortable here and has been exploring the house. We are loving this. She spent last evening sitting with me on the couch. Now she just jumps up there whenever she wants. Cannot get her to try the dog bed yet but have it out when she is ready to use it. Yesterday, when she went outside, she found out she can run! It is so much fun to watch her. She is also going up and down two steps when we go outside.

When we decided it was time to get a dog I went on the Internet to find a rescue dog. I came upon the Last Hope Animal Rescue website. I was searching through the stories and pictures and the first one I was interested in was Bella but I continued to look through the dogs; but I kept coming back to Bella. I made arrangements to meet with the person who was fostering Bella. As soon as I saw her I knew she was the one. When she first came to us she was so scared but quickly adapted. Within the first week she was housebroken. She was so fun to watch the first time she went outside and she loved the snow. We do have a fenced in yard so we can hardly wait until spring so we can watch her run all over the yard playing. We have had Bella for a month now and she has brought so much love and joy to us. To see how frightened she was at first and how happy she is now makes our hearts swell. I am so thankful for Last Hope Animal Rescue. I wish everyone would rescue a pet when they are ready to add to their family; it warms the heart!

Thank you for sharing your story, Darlene, and for giving Bella a loving home.

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Happy Tails: Tuffy

Ryan and Cayla adopted Tuffy in January and he is doing well. Here’s his story…

2013-12-27 18.48.42Tuffy has been doing great and we love having him around! He has really bonded with both Cayla and me and has shown that he is very comfortable in his surroundings. He is beginning to go into his kennel when asked and his car riding has improved immensely. He is also a regular on weekends at the local dog park and has done a great job socializing with both the students who he interacts with and the other dogs that our colleagues have adopted as well. We currently have four dogs living on campus, including Tuffy. I am also happy to say that all of them were adopted through Last Hope!

I also want to thank you all very much for the complimentary obedience training at Cedar Run. It was a great start for us to get Tuffy, Cayla, and me on the right track. We will be taking Tuffy to more training in Iowa City as the drive to Hiawatha made for an incredibly long day for all of us. Even though we won’t be frequenting Cedar Run as much as we used to, I cannot say enough about their staff and the trainers. They were wonderful to us and I know they loved Tuffy and took great care of him.

2013-12-05 21.01.53Tuffy has truly become a member of our family. Cayla was commenting the other day about how he has changed our lives for the better and how we cannot imagine our lives without him. He is an absolute godsend. Thank you again for your assistance and support. We have and will continue to support Last Hope in any way we can. You all do some amazing work.


Ryan and Cayla

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