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

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 http://www.lasthoperescueia.org/ 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 http://www.lasthoperescueia.org/ 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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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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Dog of the Week: Frankie

While Crystal, Carl, Suri and Cici were off living the big life in New York, I was still here in Iowa – going to work, school and hanging with the family and dogs…but I must have been having a blast because Friday came and went without a Dog of the Week!  We really want all of you to meet our super cute dog of the week, so we bring you Dog of the Week…Saturday Edition.  In this special edition, I would like to introduce you to Frankie. 

Frankie is about a year and a half old boxer mix, with what we are unsure. Regardless, she is very cute, sweet, loves to run and play with her toys and enjoy lots of attention! She is currently living with a foster family that has two children, ages 11 and 1, and two dogs and she does excellent with all of them! However because she’s young and rambunctious she has a tendency to knock over small children, so a home with older children is probably best. She is fully house and crate trained, up to date on shots and micro-chipped. She knows “sit” and is learning “lay down” and “shake”. Her ideal family will be active and have the willingness to continue her obedience training (don’t forget – you get 6 free classes with adoption from Last Hope). Frankie is a young dog and has a lot to learn but is extremely sweet and wants nothing more than to snuggle with you and be loved! She usually attends all of the Last Hope adoption events so check the calendar and come meet her, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

If you are interested in adopting Frankie or any of our adoptable dogs, click here to fill out an application to start the process.

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Dog of the Week: Leo

My time flies when you are having fun….or when you are crazy busy! This week has flown by so fast I almost missed the dog of the week!  But I remembered, so without further adieu, I would like to introduce you to our featured dog this week, Leo!

Leo is a very lovable 9-year-old black Lab with a shiny jet black coat. Leo loves to be hugged and petted and sometimes just wants to rub up against your leg for re-assurance. He does become scared during thunderstorms but seems to settle down if he can go to a small space.  Leo barks loudly whenever anyone comes close to the house however, generally warms up quickly to anyone willing to show him some love.  He does good with children and other dogs.  Leo loves to go on a long walks on a lead to get rid of some of his built up energy. He will play fetch for a short time but really enjoys sitting on the grass, soaking up the sun and watching the traffic go by on our street.  He follows the commands of “sit” and loves to give you a “shake.”

If you are interested in adopting Leo or any of our awesome adoptable pets, click here to fill out an application to start the process.

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Help Wanted: Volunteers, Donations and Shopping – Oh My!

Last Hope is a 501(c)(3) non-profit group, which means it operates solely on the kindness of others in the form of volunteers, fund-raisers, and monetary and other donations.  This also means that all donations are tax-deductible!

Below are some of our current needs and volunteer opportunities.

Wish List

Dog Food (Dry & Canned)

Cat Food (Dry & Canned)


Dog and Cat beds

Blankets/towels (no comforters please)

Puppy Pads

Kitty Litter

Crates – any size



Pet Safe Toys

Gas Cards

Gift Cards (Pet stores, Sams)

Office Supplies

Color Printing

Cleaning Supplies:


55 Gallon Trash Bags

Paper Towels

Pet Safe Cleaners

Dawn Dish Soap

Frontline is also desperately needed – any size accepted. Wish list donations can be dropped off at Cedar Run Boarding in Hiawatha.


While you are dropping of donations at Cedar Run, stay a while help to take a rescue dog (or two) for a walk.  Cedar Run houses several of our rescue dogs and they always love visitors!  Even if you don’t have any donations to drop off, we would love for you to stop in and take a dog for a walk.  Stop in and ask any staff member about walking a Last Hope dog.

Other volunteer opportunities include making homemade dog treats and other homemade animal items for the Last Hope booth at the Farmers’ Markets and other events, bring an adoptable dog to an Adoption event (must be 18 or older to handle a dog), volunteer at any of our events (check out the calendar of events to see what is coming up), help with transport requests, help at the shelter in Shellsburg, and foster an animal (or two or three) in your home.  This can be a full-time foster or vacation/weekend foster.

If you are interested in becoming a foster, click here to fill out an application to start the process.  If you would like additional information for any of the other volunteer opportunities, email us at lasthoperescueblog@gmail.com and we will get you in touch with the right person.

Monetary Donations

Monetary Donations can be made online by clicking here. Checks can be sent to PO Box 75, Shellsburg, IA 52332.  If you would like your donation to go specifically to Scarlet’s heart surgery or Walker’s leg surgery, you can indicate as such when you make the donation.  Again, all monetary donations are tax-deductible.


Have you heard of BOGO bowl?  when you buy one bag of dog food for your pet, you can choose to donate a second bag of food to Last Hope Animal Rescue.  there are seven varieties to choose from and your food will be delivered to your door!  Go to www.bogobowl.com for more information.

Maybe you don’t need to go shopping, but need to do a little fall cleaning – need to clean out closets, basements, garages – or maybe you just need to update your furniture, but don’t know what to do with all that stuff you need to get rid of.  Take it to Stuff, Etc on Blairsferry Road in Cedar Rapids and donate it to Last Hope Animal Rescue.  Ask them to donate to Account #4261 and we will receive 50% of each sale.

Please consider helping Last Hope Animal Rescue in any way you can – every little bit helps!

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Dog of the Week: JJ

After a two week hiatus, we are back with a brand new dog of the week.  This week, we are featuring JJ, who is my current foster dog.  I’ll let JJ tell you a little about himself.

Hi there!  My name is JJ and I am a white and black terrier mix.  I have a lot of energy at times but can settle down quickly when my foster mom sits down.  I can get vocal when I play with my toys, which can be pretty entertaining.  My foster brother and I like to play, but my foster mom thinks we are too rough sometimes and breaks us up.  One of us usually goes back for more playtime until we are told to go lay down.  My foster mom loves to watch me bounce up and down, which I usually only do when I am excited to go out.  She also loves my ears, especially when one is up and one is down.

I am completely house trained and kennel trained.  I sleep in the kennel when my foster family goes to work and at started in my kennel at bedtime too when I first got to my foster home, but I have now graduated to the bedroom.  I love going for walks and do great on the no-pull harness my foster family has for me.

I’m a little iffy with children,  so I would be best in a home without children, although my current foster home has a 3 year old and an 8 year old in the home.

JJ is a great dog, but he can be a handful at times.  JJ would be best for experienced dog owners.  I think he would benefit from the free obedience training Last Hope offers with adoption, and it would be a great way for his new owners to bond and get to know him. 

If you are interested in meeting JJ or any of Last Hope’s adoptable dogs, click here to fill out an application to start the process.

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Dog of the Week: Tucker

Hello Last Hope Friends! I don’t know about you, but it has been a LONG week and I am so glad it is Friday.  I’m super excited to bring you this week’s Dog of the Week.  This little guy and his friend we will be featuring next week hold a special place in my heart.  They were the first two dogs I fostered when I signed up to be a weekend foster.  This week, I would like to introduce you to Tucker!

Tucker is a 7 year old Maltese. He was a surrender from a breeder.  When Last Hope got him, he had to have what teeth he had pulled and also had a broken lower jawed, which had to be wired shut.  It was a rough beginning, but he is all healed up now and is a healthy 7 pound dog! He is neutered and up to date on his shots.

Tucker is learning what it takes to be a house dog and is diligently working on his house training.  He does very well on a leash, riding in a car, and kennels when needed.  He can be shy at first and a bit skittish. But once he gets to know you will greet you excitement and little puppy kisses.   He loves being held and gets along very well with other dogs and children of all ages.

Here are some pictures I took when Tucker and his pal Missy were at my house.

If you are interesting in adopting Tucker or any of our wonderful adoptable dogs, please click here to fill out an application and start the process.  Come back next week to meet Tucker’s buddy, Missy.

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Dog of the Week: Ruby Sue

Happy Friday Last Hope friends!  This week, we are featuring Miss Ruby Sue as our Dog of the Week. Ruby Sue is a sweet dog who would like to have a home of her own with a warm, soft place to sleep and people who see what a special dog she is.

If you would like to meet Ruby Sue or any of our adoptable dogs, click here to start the process by filling out an application.

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Happy Tails: Quincy

We received a wonderful email from Kurt sharing his Happy Tails adoption story.  I love that Last Hope was a part of this story!

We had lived in the country for around 19 years.  For about 15 of those years we had a Golden Retriever named Max.  He roamed the farm and watched over his realm.  He was an amazing dog.  Long and short there was a group that came through our area and stole a few dogs from the local farms and unfortunately Max was one of them.  We pursued all avenues to find him and track down the people who took him to no avail.  We lived on my wife’s family farm and my father-in-Law asked that we not get another outdoor dog nor did he want us to have an indoor dog.  We of course had some barn cats which were great but, just not the same as a dog – especially a Golden.  We respected my Father-in-laws wishes but, of course were not happy.

Fast forward to January of this year and we closed on our first home and moved in.  After settling in for a month we decided it was time to get a dog.  We adopted a lab/mix from the Iowa City Animal Shelter.  Within 24 hours we all had terrible symptoms and appeared to be allergic to him.  We took him back the next day and cleaned the house very well.  After having some work done to the house, we decided to try a Terrier as someone told us they may work for us.  We found a great Terrier mix and adopted him from Safe Haven in Marengo.  Unfortunately after 3 days my son and my wife were having terrible allergic reactions to him.  Of course we took him back right away.
We decided to look into other options for us and began talking with our doctors, vets, researched on the internet, etc.  We found out that the best dog for us would be a Poodle, Maltese, Bichon, Basenji, or similar dogs because they don’t have the same allergens as other breeds.  I heard about Last Hope from a mutual friend and reached out via email on the website.  Within a day or so i was contacted about Quincy a Poodle/Maltese mix that was in a foster home here in Iowa City. We got together, went through all the steps and adopted Quincy a few weeks ago.
quincyQuincy fit rights in with us.  It’s as if he was here all along.  He loves going for walks which gives me the extra exercise I need.  He has a love hate relationship with his kennel.  Sometimes he walks right in and other times he makes us put him in.  Never whines.  Loves to play and wrestle.  I think he has adopted me as his brother.  It’s weird he follows me everywhere but, never like to sit in my lap.  Now our son, on the other hand, they love sitting together and watching tv or playing video games.  Of course Quincy never wins! (ha ha ha)  We are still finding the right potty schedule outdoors but he’s only had a couple of accidents.  He is training us as much as we are training him.  It’s funny how other dogs we have had only want to please us.  With Quincy he does things that please him!  He is very independent, bull headed, ad is a little crazy at times, but he has a great personality.  Like I said he fits right in with us.  At times seems to miss having another dog around to chase but, so far my son and I have filled the role well enough.  I think eventually we may have to adopt a second dog as a partner for him.
As I type this, my son and Quincy are chasing each other; and now playing tug of war!
He is pretty much the perfect dog for us.  He has filled our home for sure.
Thank you to last Hope, you, and Sandy for saving Quincy.  The work you all do is awesome and so worthy.  I appreciate your dedication and service to our communities. I only hope others can have the same experience as we have.  The process of finding Quincy, visiting Quincy, allowing us to have him overnight, and then the final adoption – all I can say is that was seemless, fun, professional, and you are all very thorough.  Yes it took a bit longer for the entire process but, that’s ok.  You were doing the rights things for us and Quincy.  For all that I thank you all.
Truly Quincy, fills our house with love and affection.  He is the family member we missed and needed.
It looks to me like Quincy feels like a King in his new home.  What a sweetie and such a great story.  Thanks Kurt for sharing with us!  We love receiving updates, so if you have a Happy Tail you would like to share, please email us at lasthoperescueblog@gmail.com
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Again thank you to Last Hope.