Humane Lobby Day 2015

Attention Animal Advocates!
The Humane Lobby Day 2015 will be held on February 9th and is sponsored by Iowa Voters for Companion Animals.

We are THRILLED this year that, in addition to ourlobbing efforts, Dr. Frank McMillan from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary will present to our group over lunch, prior to heading over to the Capital.  Dr. McMillan, a board-certified specialist in veterinary internal medicine and leading expert on emotional pain in animals, will present his findings from his study of more than 1000 dogs used in large-scale breeding operations.  His study of this animal population confirms what many animal welfare advocates already knew: That dogs used in puppy mills are damaged by the experience.

This event is held in Des Moines on February 9th. We are still finalizing the details, but tentatively plan on leaving around 8:00 AM from southwest Cedar Rapids and we will make stops in Coralville and Williamsburg to pick up participants.  We are typically back in Cedar Rapids by 5:00 PM.  We are chartering a bus, so we need your help to fill it up! The event is so important… it’s our chance as advocates to show a collective voice on behalf of the animals suffering in puppy mills across the state of Iowa.

Yes, we are #2 in the nation for mills.
It is imperative that we unite to force laws that will protect these animals who are at the mercy of factory breeders. To bring legislation to the floor of the Iowa House, bills have to be allowed to pass through for debate on the floor.  No pressure from constituents — no debate and another year of suffering for these dogs. We have to act this year and it is going to take a lot of us.
Please help us make a lasting impression in Des Moines. The Humane Lobby Day is sponsored by Iowa Voters for Companion Animals. You can register at their website: to register is January 30, 2015. There will be important lobbying instructions provided at the luncheon, so please arrive by 11:00 AM to check in. You can also find more information on how to lobby and what to say once you there at this website:
Last year, we chartered a bus through Windstar lines and it can transport 47 people. We want this bus FILLED!  The cost should average $20 round trip and this allows us to have no parking issues. Easy, Fun and Important.
Please contact Carol Doser at if you have any questions.
Julia Black

The Animals Need Your Help!

Many of you have seen the dogs that come through our rescue from puppy mills. You’ve heard stories and helped us in our efforts to raise thousands of dollars to pay for the much needed veterinary care for these dogs. Mary LaHay, of Iowa voters for Companion Animals, has another way you can help. All it takes is a few moments of your time and a quick email. Below is information sent to the IA Voters for Companion Animals mailing list. Please, take the time to read Mary’s request and send off a quick email to the state Senators and the AKC board members. Let’s show them just how many Iowans support this bill and help them see past the misinformation they are being provided.

Hello Everyone,

I want to update you on what’s been going on at the Capitol. Many of you saw and responded to our previous email asking that you contact all the Iowa state senators asking them to support our bill, SF2254, the bill that will help tens of thousands of dogs in Iowa puppy mills.

THANK YOU to those who sent emails to the senators! They heard from several of you and they got the message…. many, many Iowans want better laws to protect these innocent animals in Iowa’s commercial dog-breeding industry.

Unfortunately there is a very heavy campaign being waged to prevent the passage of this commonsense legislation. And amazingly, the American Kennel Club (AKC) is waging the strongest opposition. They’re disseminating false and inflammatory information about the bill; claiming it will put an end to hobby breeding. We’re working to clear up this erroneous information but many of the AKC supporters are hard to convince.

It appears that AKC is working to oppose this legislation because they fear the potential financial ramifications. Many puppy mills register their puppies through AKC and the breeders pay a fee (a base fee plus a per-puppy fee) to do so. This is a huge source of AKC’s revenues. Here’s a quote from an article, “A Gathering Storm Bring New Measures” (From Breeding Better Dogs), penned by Dr. Carmen Battaglia, a board member of the AKC.

In 1981, AKC derived 96% of its income from dog registrations. By 2003, income from registrations had fallen to 61%. These declines represent a significant loss in revenues and future earnings. 

This certainly explains why this organization would work to stop any attempts to curtail the rampant and indiscriminate breeding of dogs in commercial kennels.

So here are 2 things you can do today to help with our efforts:

1. If you haven’t already written to our state senators, please do so now. Their email addresses are listed at the bottom of this email. Simply copy and paste all of them into the “To” window of an email, generate a respectful email asking that they support SF2254, and send your email on its way. Refer to our previous email for information. It is pasted below the senators’ email addresses. If you’ve already written to them, it wouldn’t hurt to send another message if you have the time. Tell them there is absolutely nothing in the bill that should threaten hobby breeders… unless they’re subjecting their dogs to the treatment we’re working to stop! Suggest that they ask those who oppose the bill to give specifics about what they object to. If it is simply that AKC has told them to, that isn’t sufficient because AKC has misinformed its members about the bill.

2. Send a short and respectful email to the board members of AKC. Here’s a list of their email addresses. Simply copy and paste each of the email addresses into the “To” window of an email, generate a message, and send your email on its way. Feel free to add any or all of the images at the end of this email to your message to them. Here are a couple of statements we’d recommend you include:

  • AKC ought to work harder to address the abusive situations endured by tens of thousands of dogs in kennels across the country.
  • If AKC is unwilling or unable to help provide those protections, they ought not work to counter state-level legislation that will.
  • If they are compelled to oppose state or local legislation, they ought to ensure that they are providing accurate information about that legislation to their members.

Their addresses:,,,,,,,,,,,,

J. Charles Garvin, M.D.,
Delegate, Marion Ohio Kennel Club

Dr. William R. Newman,
Delegate, Mastiff Club of America

Patricia Scully,
Delegate, Obedience Training Club of Hawaii, Inc.

Robert A. Amen,
Delegate, Port Chester Obedience Training Club, Inc.

Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia,
Delegate, German Shepherd Dog Club of America

Steven D. Gladstone, Esq.,
Delegate, Greater Naples Dog Club

Patricia M. Cruz,
Delegate, Heart of the Plains Kennel Club

William J. Feeney,
Delegate, Sir Francis Drake Kennel Club

Thomas Powers,
Delegate, Kennel Club of Beverly Hills

Lee Arnold,
Delegate, Southern Colorado Kennel Club

Carl C. Ashby, III,
Delegate, United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club

Alan Kalter,
Delegate, American Bullmastiff Association

Harvey Wooding,
Delegate, Westminster Kennel Club

Ex Officio: Dennis B. Sprung,


pam.jochum <>; david.johnson <>; tim.kapucian <>; liz.mathis <>; matt.mccoy <>; janet.petersen <>; herman.quirmbach <>; amanda.ragan <>; ken.rozenboom <>; charles.schneider <>; brian.schoenjahn <>; mark.segebart <>; joe.seng <>; amy.sinclair <>; roby.smith <>; steve.sodders <>; rich.taylor <>; jack.whitver <>; <>; brad.zaun <>; dan.zumbach <>; bill.anderson <>; daryl.beall <>; jerry.behn <>; rick.bertrand <>; <>; nancy.boettger <>; joe.bolkcom <>; tod.bowman <>; chris.brase <>; michael.breitbach <>; jake.chapman <>; mark.chelgren <>; thomas.courtney <>; jeff.danielson <>; dick.dearden <>; bill.dix <>; bill.dotzler <>; robert.dvorsky <>; joni.ernst <>; randy.feenstra <>; julian.garrett <>; sandra.greiner <>; mike.gronstal <>; dennis.guth <>; rita.hart <>; jack.hatch <>; rob.hogg <>; hubert.houser <>; wally.horn <>

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 and tell her you want to help! I can tell you from personal experience, being involved in an organization like this is very rewarding!

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Walker came to us a couple weeks ago. He’s you’re typical coon hound, a little bit vocal and very loving and intelligent. All the pictures are through the fence because as soon as I came in with him all he wanted was to sit in my lap and lick my face. 🙂 He’s only about 18 months old and has already had a hard start, but that doesn’t stop him from giving his all and loving fully.

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Walker broke his leg while hunting. He got hung up in a fence and was taken to the vet. After he returned home he chewed off his cast and was never taken back in. His leg never had a chance to heal correctly. He is currently scheduled to go in for surgery in Des Moines on the 26th. The will fuse the bones in his ankle. Because he is so young there is a good chance he won’t even have a limp after he heals.

Here is where we need your help. We need both a home for Walker to recover in and the funds to help cover his surgery. If you can open up your home and foster Walker during his recovery please fill out a foster home application here. It will be an 8-10 week recovery and he will have to be kept calm. (As much as is possible with a young coon hound 🙂 ) As for the costs, his surgery will cost between $1,500 and $1,800. You can donate on our website, here. Just specify “Walker” as the recipient of the funds.

We’re hoping for a full recovery for Walker. He’s a great boy and deserves to live a great life! Check back for updates!

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Lois’ One Year Anniversary, 8th Birthday!

Sonia received this email this week from Laci, who adopted Lois one year ago. Lois was a puppy mill dog and it sounds like she’s come a long way in her new home!

Dear Last Hope Rescue,Lois
Today we’re celebrating Lois’ belated 8th Birthday (7/25/2005), and the one year anniversary of her adoption! We love her so much and she’s made such huge strides. She came to us scared of her own shadow, and now has blossomed into a spoiled (but very loved!) brat who carries her treat bag around! She knows how to manipulate us into a treat every morning, squeeze her wiggling body into any group of people and steal everyone’s attention, and demand our affection. We love her so, so much and I can’t imagine our lives without her “helicopter tail,” constant howling, and big feet constantly stepping on us. We can’t say enough how much we appreciate Last Hope Rescue and their rescue of Lois, Gladys, and Blossom. You guys rock!
With love,
Marcie, Laci, Tom, Lois, Sebastian, Tegan, Earl Jean The Turtle Machine, Sophia, Cletus, and MiMi
And in response to Sonia’s request for permission to post this Laci added a few things. 🙂
We’re so proud of the strides she’s made. She now walks on a leash, knows basic commands, is a therapy dog in training, and loves visiting nursing home residents. She’s learned to bark about 5 months ago, and now barks all the time (we’re working on this, but she’s too cute to discipline sometimes!). We just can’t thank you guys enough for rescuing her and bringing her into our lives.
I was just starting out when Lois was adopted, so I never got the chance to meet her. But I’ve seen the dogs that come out of puppy mills, and trust me, it’s not pretty. Lois is one very lucky girl to have found such a loving, caring family! We love receiving updates, so if you have a story you would like to share, please email us at
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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.

photo (1)

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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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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