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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Jax: A Jump Ahead

So this week I’m going to introduce you to my former foster, Jax. Jax is a 1 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Now… These beauties don’t come into rescues often. But this poor boy landed with us a couple months ago. But it didn’t take me long to find the perfect home for him! Jennifer and her family had been looking for a dog for a while. They had contacted us in the past and just missed another dog they were interested in. Little did I know what all they had gone through looking for that perfect dog! They have big plans for this boy and I’m looking forward to following his story with you. This is what makes everything I do worth it. Jax will go on to do great things, he’s a beautiful, smart boy and I’m excited to see where he ends up!

Hi. I’m Jennifer. I bought my golden retriever, Roscoe, from a breeder when

he was a puppy. All my life I had been the one training our family dogs, and

everyone thought I was really good at it, so I thought I was prepared to train my

first big dog. I LOVE big dogs.

Needless to say, Roscoe the alpha pup taught me a few lessons in dog training

before I learned what he needed. As a result, he had his issues – like “Mom

can’t look at her fish without petting me the whole time as I stand directly in her

line of vision”…but for me and my family, he was the best dog ever – our buddy,

everyone’s friend – for 11 years. Then he got cancer – and passed away this

May. I had been crying for months because I had known it was coming since

February. But when he actually passed, my heart fully broke. I’m still tearing up

thinking about him. I miss my buddy. No dog will ever be able to take his place.

When I get to heaven, I hope to see my good buddy there to greet me.

But somehow, after a month or so had passed, I knew I still wanted a dog in

my life. Maybe not another golden…or maybe yes, another golden. I couldn’t

decide, but I have lots of places in my heart for dogs. Although I’m currently a

teacher, I wanted to be a veterinarian until my senior year of high school because

of my love for animals, especially dogs.

My husband indulgently said I could start looking. My husband soon regretted

his words. I started trolling Petfinder, looking at every dog profile within a

100 mile radius! I even looked at some as far away as Kansas City! I was

constantly showing him pictures and reading him profiles “What do you think of

this one? Isn’t she cute? Listen to this!” — I was not over Roscoe, but I was

excited to meet “the one” if we should find him or her.

I filled out a lot of shelter applications…we met a lot of dogs…driving over two

hours more than once to meet some of them. I had all the profiles printed out on

a clipboard with a pro and con sheet for each dog we chose to meet (I know my

weakness for all dogs). Finally, someone asked if we would also like to meet the

new arrival at Last Hope: Jax.

When my husband and I met him, we loved him instantly. We looked at each

other and we knew we didn’t need a pro and con sheet for this one. We had

to have him. Last Hope had already had our application for quite some time

because we had applied for another dog, but we were not able to take Jax home

right away because a storm had blown down our back fence. We knew he would

need the room to run and play fetch in a safe environment…so we got the fence

fixed as fast as we could, and Jax stayed with Crystal.

I spent the time watching and re-watching his video a thousand

times…researching his breed…continuing to put together a big binder of Cesar

Millan articles I’d been studying and forcing my kids to also study…because

I’m committed to doing a better job of training with my new dog than I was with

Roscoe. My husband humored me by watching Dog Whisperer reruns on Netflix,

listening to Dock Dogs requirements, and putting up with lots of nesting behavior.

Two weeks later, Crystal brought Jax to our house. To say I was excited was the

understatement of the year.

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He was ultra slobbery (Hooch-style), a hyper-panter, he drank ten gallons of

water every day, and he peed five times an hour as a result. He was hungry and

felt the need to chew all the time. He ate through my entire stock of chewbones,

refused the nylabones, and tore up the toys I got him within the first two days.

Not in a bad way, but definitely in a hyper-energetic state of being. We started

to worry that he might have diabetes, even though we knew that all of these

behaviors could be and probably were anxiety and him adjusting to our home.

The first night at bedtime was AWFUL. We had Roscoe’s kennel cleaned and

bleached months ago. His dog bed had been washed. His room had been

cleaned and bleached. But Jax would have none of it. He repeatedly smelled

the places where Roscoe had thrown up or where he had left bloody puddles

and spatters because he had a nose tumor. He also repeatedly smelled the spot

where Roscoe’s food bowl had been. He barked and barked and barked and

scrabbled and whined in the kennel for over a half an hour before my husband

cracked and told me to go do something about it at about 12:30 or 1:00 AM. I

was up until 3:30 AM with Jax, trying to figure out what to do with him. Roscoe

had had free reign, but we didn’t know how trustworthy Jax would be if left to

himself. I tried leaving him alone in that room with just the dog bed (which he

seemed ok with as long as it was not in the kennel)…but he treated the room the

same way he treated the kennel when I shut the door. I worked him up slowly to

trying again in the kennel…first with the door open and me right there…then with

the door closed and me right there…and then a little bit farther away every ten

minutes or so after that – moving each time he settled down and his breathing

slowed again. Every time I moved he picked up his head and started panting

and worrying. Finally I got away to bed…and he woke up barking and scrabbling

at 5:45 AM.

Crystal had mentioned that once he had gotten “his” kennel at their house, he

had been ok with just a little bit of whining. I asked Crystal the next morning

for his kennel and she brought it over that afternoon. That night, I took Jax

downstairs and spent a lot more time playing with him down there than I had the

previous day and night, with a focus on the “dog room.” At bedtime, he went into

his kennel on command and laid down with a contented sigh. I put the blanket

over the front (Crystal said that had helped at their house)…walked away as

calmly as I could while dreading a repeat of the previous night…and there was

not a peep until the next morning!

However, while the first night was horrible, the first day and all the days since

have confirmed that my dreams for Jax are definitely reachable: obedience

training, therapy dog training and certification, dock dogs competition, possibly

agility for fun or competition, and last but not least a faithful walking partner and

family member. This is only the beginning of our journey, but Jax is THE dog – a

very special, VERY smart dog.

Check out his video – I’m so proud! We are all a jump ahead on a bright, exciting

future together.

Stay tuned to see how Jax does in his training!

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Update – Miss Scarlet

Miss Scarlet had her heart surgery at the end of May and is doing great.  Here is an update from her foster mom!

Scarlet is doing very well after her surgery.  We won’t know for 2 months if the surgery was successful, so we have our fingers crossed the heart valve “balloon” worked.  She still has her stitches, but that has not slowed her down at all.  We are trying to keep her activity level low…but she is not having any of that  🙂

She is a big cuddle bug.. and as soon as you sit down she is in your lap.

She is wonderful with kids and other dogs. . just a wonderful girl!

Kissing Booth?

If you came to the Cedar Rapids Pride Fest last weekend, you may have noticed Last Hope Animal Rescue’s tent selling delicious home-made dog treats and Last Hope T-Shirts; very similar what will be sold at the farmers markets this year.  We also had a handful of adoptable dogs for everyone to meet.

But not only did you get to pet the dogs and tell them how cute they all are – for a small donation, you also got to enter our kissing booth and get a big ol’ smooch from one of the dogs!

Photo by Visions Photography

Photo by Visions Photography

This was such a great event for everyone.  The dogs loved all the sites, sounds, smells and walking around to meet people.  Adults and children alike – and even a Cedar Rapids police officer – loved interacting with all of our lovable pups!

If you would like to know where we are going to be next, check out our calendar of events.  And keep your eyes peeled…you just never know when our kissing booth my show up again!

Photo by Visions Photography

Photo by Visions Photography

You Can Help!

SONY DSCMeet Hundley!

Hundley is one of the 29 dogs recently purchased an an auction for a closing puppy mill.  Hundley is now enjoying the life of luxury in his current foster home and ready to find his forever home. Since being at his foster home he has been neutered, had all but 2 teeth removed and been vaccinated.  Up next on the to do list is to have him chipped.  All of that and he is still a happy-go-lucky little guy who loves to snuggle with his foster mom.

It comes at a cost

Getting these dogs out of the puppy mill situation is a very rewarding experience, but unfortunately it comes at a cost for Last Hope.  All of the dogs were purchased at auction and had to be neutered or spayed. Most of the dogs required extensive dental work, many of them having to have most of their teeth removed because they were in such bad shape.  Some had eye issues that have to be taken care of as well.   They all also required vaccinations, food, flea & tick medicine and heart worm preventative medication.

You can help!

If you are wondering what you can do to help, wonder no longer!  There are many ways you can help, even if you aren’t able to open your home to foster a dog.  You can find out all about the volunteer opportunities on our website http://www.lasthoperescueia.org/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities/.

But Our BIGGEST Need…

…is your monetary donations.  Whether you donate $5 or $500, every little bit helps.  If you are able to made a donation, please click here to donate using your credit card or paypal.  We are a 501(c)(3) organization, so all of you donations are tax deductible.

Don’t forget Miss Scarlet!

In addition to the expenses that came with the purchase of Hundley and the other puppy mill dogs, we still need help with sweet little Scarlet’s medical expenses.  Scarlet in ready to find her forever home too, but before she can she needs heart surgery.  You can read her story on our previous post.  If you would like to donate to Miss Scarlet’s surgery, you can click here to make a donation specifically for her.  This fundraiser is only open for 7 more days!

Thank you all for everything you do.  It is only with everyone’s help that we can continue to rescue and save these dogs (and cats!).