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 (visionsphotography.net) for the original puppy pictures! All the “after” photos were provided by the adoptive families.

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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 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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Happy Tail: Star

Linda and her family adopted Star from Last Hope and shared a great happy tail with us. One thing that struck me when reading this was that they didn’t give up on Dash. Yes, he apparently had his problems, but he was obviously a member of the family and they weren’t going to give up on him.


We have a purebred Lab that we got from a breeder. He had been a real challenge for the first year of his life; one disaster and mishap after another. Some advice we got was to get another dog. The thought of that made my husband crazy. There was no way he was adding to the chaos and stress we had with our Dash. Then one day in May I got a call from him asking if I was busy the next day which was a Saturday. We went back and forth on if this was a surprise and who was this for and why did we all have to go? He finally tells me that he had been on the Last Hope Petfinder page and saw a little girl named Star. She is a Lab mix and her circumstances were touching, as they all are, but this one got to him. He told me that he had already gone and looked at her and filled out all the appropriate paperwork. All we needed to do was introduce her to the rest of the family to see if it’s a match. I started to cry and hurried to the site to check her out.

The next morning we all loaded up and drove out to meet our new girl. I knew instantly she was going home with us. She had been with a disabled couple for the first two years and they were no longer able to care for her. The shelter staff told us that they cried when they dropped her off and wanted to make sure she went to a good family. I could tell they had taken really good care of her. She was smart, minded commands, she was spayed and current on shots, and they’d even had her micro chipped.

That was more than six months ago and I can’t really remember what it was like before she was here. She is a great dog and helped so much with our boy Dash. He has calmed down so much that he is now as much a joy to be around as she is. In a few days we will celebrate Star’s third birthday. My husband, who claims not to be a pet person, even refers to her as his little girl when he’s giving her belly scratches. I can’t thank Last Hope and the Vinton shelter enough for helping to bring Star to us.

– Scott, Linda, Sydnei, Fayde, Dash, and Star Foens

Dash and Star

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Happy Tail: Harley

Chris and Melissa share their happy tail about Harley …


In the spring of 2013, we noticed Last Hope was in desperate need of foster homes. We already had a five-year-old Basset/Beagle mix named Murphy that we had rescued two years earlier, but we decided we would give fostering a chance. Even though we knew it would be hard not to get attached, we wanted to help a dog find a loving and forever home. When we saw a picture of this adorable little Beagle named Harley, we just had to help him. We filled out the application and then picked him up on a Saturday morning so we could have him overnight. This was supposed to be a trial run but he’s been here ever since.

A week into having him up for adoption, we got an email saying there was a family inquiring about Harley and that was the moment we knew we wouldn’t be able to give him up. He had already made himself at home and we had fallen in love with him. All of our friends and family gave us a hard time because they knew the minute we picked him up we would be keeping him. I think deep down we knew it, too, but we didn’t want to admit it to ourselves.

So here we are, over six months later and I cannot imagine not having him as a member of our family. Harley and Murphy act like they have been together their whole lives so we know we made the right decision. Although now we are what they call “failed fosters,” we accomplished exactly what we set out to do and that was to find Harley the loving and FURever home that he deserves.


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Happy Tails: Henry (Chico)


Kris Kiesey updates us on two Last Hope dogs …

The story of our Henry (formerly known as Chico), adopted October 27, 2012 with a bonus happy story about Buddy:

Summer 2012 – my kids and I visit the Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter often; they like to visit the kitties and I love on the dogs, petting them, hoping for them. I am also cautiously looking to add a second dog to our family, but am wary because we adopted a small dog from the Cedar Valley Humane Society in October 2011 and had a bad experience (he bit many males in the four weeks we had him) and I had to take him back, heartbroken. I am also not sure about adopting an adult dog because we already own a dominant male Rat Terrier.

Every time I visit the Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter in the summer of 2012, I see a black dog named Chico. He is a Boxer/Lab mix. His arrival date is May 1, 2012. He is always happy to see me, calmly letting me pet him and resting his chin in my hand. I keep hoping for him that he will be adopted and not be there the next time I visit.

Late July 2012 – Chico is still there. I can’t figure out why he hasn’t been adopted. I finally get him out of the kennel to get a closer look at him. Once he is out he is wild, so excited, and needs to work on his manners. His energy level is probably overwhelming people, but he is still so sweet. I decide to mention him to my husband and he agrees to visit. We bring our dog, Max, to check him out, too. Our neighbor, who is a K-9 police officer for Cedar Rapids, also comes because he knows Max and I trust his judgment. He thinks Chico is a very nice dog, but worries about how strong he is if Max tries to dominate him and sets him off. We don’t adopt him and I am sad. I stop visiting the animal shelter.

September 2012 – our family begins thinking about a puppy a little more, and my husband would like a Doberman. I am a little nervous about the training of such a large breed, so I call Cedar Run Boarding to ask about their puppy classes. Sonia answers the phone. We have a good conversation about Doberman puppies, then she says that if the puppy class times don’t work out, I could just bring the puppy to play with some of the dogs they have there. She has a dog that is great with other dogs, but terrible with people. I tell her that sounds like the dog I adopted from the Cedar Valley Humane Society the previous year. We determine that she rescued that same dog I returned, just in the nick of time. He is named Buddy now and still doesn’t like men. I spend the evening crying for joy that he is saved.

Two days later – two of my children and I visit Sonia and Buddy. I am happy for him that he is safe and happy, and grateful for Sonia, who saved his life. While I am at Cedar Run I visit her other dogs. Guess who I see? Chico – he spent too much time at the Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter, so Last Hope stepped in and rescued him. I am happy for him, too, as Sonia tells me he had been adopted and will be picked up the next day. We continue to move toward adopting a Doberman puppy.

October 2012 – my husband, Tim, and I visit Cedar Run on a Sunday for a Last Hope volunteer event. We tour the facility and Chico is still there. His adoption fell through because his energy level is so high. I mention the weekend foster program to Tim, knowing that Chico has been in the shelter/rescue system for almost six months and could benefit from some time in a home. Tim spends a little time with Chico and agrees to the weekend foster.

On our way out of Cedar Run we chat with Sonia. Tim tells her that we will take Chico for a weekend foster, and that if it works, we will adopt him permanently. I am thankful that Tim was willing to forgo the Doberman puppy and rescue a dog in need. One week later, that’s what we did.

Chico is now named Henry; we have had him for more than one year. He still needs to work on his manners, but is the most loving, loyal dog in the world. I think he is so grateful to be in our home. His laid back personality complements our dog’s perfectly. I think we were meant to be Henry’s family, and I am so grateful that Last Hope stepped in and rescued him until we could realize he was supposed to be a part of our family.

Thanks for sharing your story, Kris. We’re so happy that Henry found a loving home and that he is getting along so well. It really seems like it was meant to be.

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Happy Tails: Ripley

Ripley Hello Readers!  Today we would like to share with you a fun, quick update from Cristina Cuevas on our friend Ripley.

This is Ripley! We adopted her from last hope in March and now she lives in Florida. She’s so smart and healthy, and quite popular at the dog park! At seven months she’s growing and learning so much. Thank you Last Hope and Kamille Blake Kurseth for being such a loving foster mom.

Awww, we love getting updates on our Last Hope dogs!  If you have a Happy Tail you would like to share, please email us at lasthoperescueblog@gmail.com

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Our Adoption Process

We screen all of our applicants to ensure that our dogs are going into safe and loving homes. I’ve been told that our adoption process takes too long. I’ve had applicants tell me that our process is too much and they don’t want to go through all that. If that’s the case then I’d have to say that maybe your not the right home for our dog anyways. I’ve also had people tell me that they are glad we do it the way we do. That they like that we don’t just give dogs to anybody.

Here is how things work:

Photo by Visions Photography

Photo by Visions Photography

First you can either email us or fill out an application. If you have questions about the dogs personality or quirks we will be happy to answer those before you fill out an application. Once you decide you want to meet them we need to have an application. This doesn’t bind you to any one dog. Or even to adopting from us. It simply helps us to determine what you are looking for in a dog and if the dog you have picked out meets that criteria.

Once we receive your application someone will contact you to set up a meet & greet. If you have other dogs this is a great time to introduce them. We will meet you on neutral territory and give the dogs a chance to interact and get to know each other. If you don’t have other dogs it’s simply a chance for you to meet the dog and decide if the personality is what you expected. Sometimes it’s not, and that’s ok. We may have others that would be a better fit. We are always willing to work with you to find the right dog.

Once we do find that dog we will pass your application on to get processed. We call references. We’ll call your vet and your personal references. If they respond right away the process can go pretty quickly. But it also depends on how many applications we are processing at that time. This is where your patience comes in. I know it’s hard, I went through it once too. But when you get that phone call or email saying that you were approved, it makes it all worth it.

Why we do it this way: 

We do what we do to get the dogs we love into their forever homes. All we ask is for a little patience while we make sure that the dog you pick out will be a good fit for your home and that your home will be a safe place for our dog, which will hopefully be your dog soon. We want to make sure they really do find their forever homes. Because of the way we do this our return rate is less than 5%.  This makes for happy families and happy dogs. So, if you are looking for that perfect fit for your family, check out our adoptable dogs

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Happy Tails – Picasso

This letter from Abbie Ferguson, Travis Weipert, Mojo, Kemo, & Picasso expresses the wonderful benefits of adopting your pets from a few different perspectives.

PicassoPicasso is our third furry family member, but first dog, all of whom were adoptions from the corridor area.  Our first was Mojo, who was having a lot of trouble finding the right family due to a severe food allergy and her overweight status requiring some additional help with personal hygiene.  The second was Kemosabe, who was surrendered in Iowa City.  Then, about 10 months ago, Picasso joined the family courtesy of Last Hope!  He is a rambunctious, three year old Chihuahua mix and a wild man.

Adding a pet to our family was an easy decision for us.  The more important quest was finding pets that were not only right for us but right for them, too.

Adopting our pets has made me feel like a superhero!  It’s an amazing feeling to know that you have so vastly improved the quality of life for these guys.  In some cases, you might even be able to say you saved their lives!  How often do you get to say you’ve done that?  First-hand?  We have three adoring fans rushing to the door when we get home jumping to greet their people.  Also, our couch looks so much better with a big tuxedo kitty adorning the arm grunting at all who pass by.  Our front windows look amazing with a peppy little Chihuahua waiting for us to pull in the driveway.  My bathroom sink looks too cool with our muddy looking long-haired cat attempting to turn on the faucet by herself.  On top of that, no one who visits this house will sit for long with a chilly lap!

From the pets’ perspective, their lives are pretty sweet now.  Food delivered like clockwork and treats dished out on command.  Play time in the yard (including the kitties) and long walks at Kent Park are plentiful.  When someone, ahem – Picasso – has the occasional accident in the house, his people even rush to clean it up so he’s not too embarrassed for long.  The superheroes even show up with new toys on a nearly weekly basis.  The only time they’ve seen a true cage since moving in is the occasional, routine trip to the vet!

From the perspective of both the people and the pets, adopting has been ideal because it enabled us to find the right fit for our lifestyles.  Adopting an adult dog left little guesswork for knowing if his personality and energy would mesh well with us.  With the help of Last Hope and the foster home, our dog arrived fully crate trained, up to date on shots, and well socialized.  Last Hope even made sure to introduce Picasso to a friend’s cat to make sure he would get along with his new housemates (this is why Kamille is so awesome)!  What puppy mill can ensure all of this?  It’s a no brainer.

We have now moved on to volunteering by fostering a dog.  Financially we have been able to contribute a little bit to Last Hope’s mission and now fostering is one more way we can give back to this organization that has provided our household, furry and human inhabitants alike, with so much.  We want to help provide the opportunity for other families to feel like superheroes and other pets to be as spoiled as ours are – in safety, health, fun, and love!

Thank you Last Hope!

– Abbie Ferguson, Travis Weipert, Mojo, Kemo, & Picasso

If you have a Happy Tails adoption story you would like to share, email us at lasthoperescueblog@gmail.com