Happy Tails: Henry (Chico)

Henry

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.

julia sig

Happy New Year!

Well, 2013 has officially come to an end. And we couldn’t have done all of the amazing things we’ve done this year without your help. Everyone from our board members and foster leads to foster homes and volunteers to all of our amazing donors. Each and everyone of you has helped to make this a record year. Here’s a few stats and highlights from the year to close things out.

  • We had a record adoption year this year with 256 adoptions!Puppy 4
  • This year we introduced the foster lead concept. This has helped us to grow our foster home base to nearly 70 homes with 30-40 active at any given time. (A big  thank you to our new volunteers who jumped on board when Little Paws shut down and helped us with this huge task.)
  • With many foster homes taking more than one animal at a time and shelter space in Shellsburg as well as at Cedar Run we currently have approximately 70 dogs and cats in our care right now.
  • YorkieCedar Run Boarding has opened up a training course for foster homes to help educate our fosters and work with the dogs in our care to help them to be ready for their new homes.
  • Last Hope volunteers attended an auction in the spring and rescued (purchased) 30 dogs from life in a puppy mill. Many of these 30 dogs have found their forever homes thanks to the care and training provided by the fosters who opened up their homes to these dogs.
  • We sent 2 puppies to New York City this year to take part in the filming of an Animal Planet classic. Keep watching for more information and get ready for a party!
  • We held our first ever Saving Lives and S’mores open house at the shelter. It was a great success with donations and Silent Auction proceeds helping to reduce veterinary debt accumulated over the summer.
  • Our Retire the Vet Debt campaign raised over $12,000 in just over a month.
  • The story of one of our own won a $5,000 Holiday Wish’s Grant from PetCo.

Again, I would like to say Thank You to every one who helped make this year possible! The over 300 animals we saved this year would also like to say Thank You! Purdi

We’re going to make 2014 an even better year! After all, this year will be our 10 year anniversary! If you want to get involved and help make things happen let us know! If you have ideas on how to save more lives, we want to hear them! Email Sonia at sonia@lasthoperescueia.org and tell her you want to help! I can tell you from personal experience, being involved in an organization like this is very rewarding!

crystal sig

From A Foster Lead

Last week we posted about what it takes to be a foster. If you missed it check it out here. Today, I’m going to tell you about the support you get and the team you have standing behind you.

Right now we have 7 awesome foster leads (of which I am one). Each foster home is assigned a lead. Your foster lead is your first point of contact for any questions you have. We are here to make your fostering experience a good one. If you can’t get a hold of your lead, any of the others are willing and able to step in and help.

My first contact with a new foster comes when we receive an application. We have divided up Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and surrounding areas into territories and each foster lead has their own territory. When one comes in that lands in my territory I reach out via email or phone to set up a home visit. During the home visit I’m looking for 2 things. One, that any animals currently in your home are well taken care of and happy. Two, things in the home are safe and secure for any animals we may place with you. I have done nearly 20 home visits (for foster homes) since I started doing this in March and I have yet to find a home that didn’t live up to those standards. The people who step up to help are usually pretty awesome!

The home visit is your chance to bombard me with questions. Anything and everything you want to know about fostering is fair game. I will also take the time to get to know you and your family. I want to know what kind of dog will fit into your lifestyle. They come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own personality. I want to make sure that both you and the dog I place with you are happy. (If that leads to a foster failure – you end up adpoting the dog and stop fostering – I’m ok with that. )

Once I know what you need I will find the right dog for your home. My first contact with the dogs usually comes via email from our Intake Coordinator. We get weekly lists, sometimes more, of dogs that we can take in. We also get owner surrenders from our website. We match up these dogs coming in with our open foster homes.

Once the dog is in the home your job is pretty simple. 🙂 Give them the love and care they deserve! If you have any concerns or questions just give me a call or send me an email! I’m here to help you. Anything from a training question to a vet appointment. We will also keep you informed of event schedules and do whatever is needed to help get your foster adopted.

Once we receive an application on your foster it will be forwarded on to you. You get to set up the first meeting with the potential adopters. If you feel like they will be a good fit you report back to me and we move forward in processing the application. We check references and if everything comes back good I will do a home visit, you are welcome to come along, and after that comes the paperwork. After all is signed and the pup moves on to their new home we start all over again.

I think the most rewarding thing about fostering (yes, I do it myself as well) is seeing all of the dogs you help go into their forever homes, knowing that you had a hand in that. No one knows where they would have ended up if we didn’t provide them with that bridge, from one life to the next.

crystal sig

How Do You Do it?

I have had a number of people ask me lately how I do it.  How I can foster a dog – take care of and love it and then give it away.  My first answer is, well, I haven’t done it yet.  But it helps immensely knowing that I have a say in who my foster dog goes home to.  I found this poem last night, and I will be saying it over and over through tears when I give my first foster dog to his forever family.  I am so grateful for being a part of this process.

A Poem to My Foster

I am the bridge
between what was and what can be.
I am the pathway to a new life.

I am made of mush,
because my heart melted when I saw you,
matted and sore, limping, depressed,
lonely, unwanted, afraid to love.

For one little time you are mine.
I will feed you with my own hand
I will love you with my whole heart
I will make you whole.

I am made of steel,
because when the time comes,
when you are well and sleek,
when your eyes shine, and your tail wags with joy
then comes the hard part.

I will let you go not without a tear,
but without a regret.
For you are safe forever
A new dog needs me now.

Copyright 1999 by Diane Morgan