Meet Our Adoption Center Lead Volunteers!

Julia D Adoption Center

Dana Hartman

Dana has been volunteering with Last Hope since March. She works as a lead volunteer which involves cleaning the dog kennels, playing with the dogs, providing food and clean water, training new volunteers, and even laundry and dishes, too! She also helps with micro chipping events on Saturdays and is foster mom to a male adult cat and a momma cat and her six kittens.

To new volunteers she offers the following advice: Come with an open mind and positive attitude and don’t get discouraged. It’s hard work but very rewarding!

When asked what she likes about volunteering at the center she says, “Everything!!  It’s all very rewarding.  If I’m having a bad day when I arrive, I always leave happy.  You definitely create a bond with the animals and I’ve shed a few tears when they’ve been adopted, but it’s rewarding to know that I was an important part of their lives while they were in their temporary housing.  We also have the best volunteers.  I’ve meet some awesome people.  Shout out to Cory Canfield….he was the first one who greeted me at the desk for orientation and also trained me.  He’s a very valuable asset to Last Hope!”


Cory Canfield

Cory began volunteering for Last Hope in February and he is a lead volunteer and volunteer coordinator. He helps care for the dogs at the adoption center, organized the center, gives shots, microchips animals, and pretty much whatever else needs to be done.

“We are always looking for volunteers. If you are interested and have the passion for animals like we all do, don’t hesitate. Be a dog or cat’s whole life while they are searching for their forever family.”


Candace Little

Candace started volunteering by helping open the new Adoption Center. She cleaned and painted before the center opened and now she is a lead, she fosters dogs, and she makes bandanas, crafts, and treats to sell at the markets. She had recently moved back to Iowa and the opening of the center was perfect timing for her because she knew she wanted to volunteer in some way with animals.

This is what Candace has to say to potential volunteers: “Everyone can volunteer at Last Hope in some way.  I think many people are scared to commit to volunteering because they don’t know if they will have the time or they are unsure if they will be able to handle the dogs. We have so many thing we need help with! Even with only an hour or two, someone can make a huge difference. In addition, there are a lot of things that can be done from home. If anyone is interested in volunteering, please sign up! We always could use help with cleaning/upkeep of the adoption center, office work, transporting animals, making crafts and dog treats to sell at events, working at our booth during the events, fundraising, helping go through and call references for applicants, walking the dogs at the Center, fostering cats and dogs, taking care of the cats and dogs at the center, and many other things to help Last Hope run smoothly. There is a place for everyone to help at Last Hope and any volunteering is greatly appreciated by all!”

Candace loves volunteering for Last Hope; from playing and spending time with the dogs, to helping families find their new family members through fostering.


Cathy Buenzow

Cathy started volunteering in January when the call went out to help get the Adoption Center opened.

She does pretty much whatever needs to be done at the center; from lead dog care shifts or training new volunteers to mowing the lawn. She’s also the foster lead for all the dogs that live at the Center so she helps review applications, does meet and greets, and even some home visits.

She says she truly loves everything she does at the Center, but she particularly loves getting to know each of the dogs and being able to introduce them to their potential families. She likes to learn as much as she can about each dog so she can tell their stories to the families.

To potential volunteers she says, “Volunteering at the Adoption Center, whether washing dog dishes or feeding the animals, is all extremely important and it takes many people and many talents to ultimately get every dog or cat we have a loving home.  I have never in my life met a more passionate group of people as the volunteers at Last Hope. They are truly an amazing and compassionate group of individuals that all have the same goal in mind.”


Nicole Lesmeister

Nicole began volunteering for Last Hope in 2009 as a foster parent. At the Adoption Center she makes sure all the cats are cared for and there is coverage for the cat care shifts. She also holds a monthly open house to help the cats find their forever homes.

She says whether you help on a regular basis or just once in a while, and whether you take care of dogs, clean, or help file papers, every little bit is important and we couldn’t have the Center and help all the animals we do without each and every volunteer. No matter what you do or how often you do it, it matters in a big way.

Nicole says, “The Center is a really unique volunteering opportunity. The animals have come in for different reasons and they are completely dependent on the volunteers who come in to care for them and provide them with love and affection. We get to watch them heal and grow and find homes they deserve. I enjoy it when a dog or cat that came in scared is now excited to see me and greets me with hugs. I feel like I regularly get the opportunity to meet a new special dog or cat knowing that they have been saved and others will be, too. I am also continually inspired by the hard work and dedication that the volunteers put unto the Center.”


Sandy Lacklore

 Hello!  My name is Sandy I have been volunteering with Last Hope since 2013 when I started fostering dogs.  Now I’m currently still fostering while working shifts taking care of all the pooches that live at the adoption center.  I absolutely love working with all the dogs…even the ones that can be little stinkers sometimes!!

We have the best volunteers at Last Hope!  Everyone is so caring & has the best interest of the animals in mind.
Sometimes it’s hard doing what we do since we get so attached to everyone; but there is no better feeling than knowing that you helped save that animal’s life and to see them find their forever home!!
Lindsey started volunteering for last Hope in April and is currently working the noon shift lead during the week. She says, “Taking care of dogs is a hot, dirty job, but watching a scared, neglected dog some out of its shell and slowly begin to trust you is such an amazing thing to witness.”
She loves feeling like what she does makes a difference in the lives of the dogs at the shelter. She loves going into Piper’s and Boomer’s room and seeing them wag their tails and search for a toy to bring her, and Clover grabbing her ball when she takes her out, or the kisses Lacy gives. “It is such a little thing, and it takes so little of me, but it makes a huge difference in the lives of the dogs.”
Thank you to all the leads who shared their stories! If you would like to volunteer to work at the Adoption Center (or at events) please complete a volunteer application HERE.

Dogs of the Week: Buddy and Xeryus (aka Zerk)

Julia D Dog of the Week

BuddyHi, I’m Buddy. I am a 1 year old Black Lab/Shepherd mix.  I grew up in the confines of a garage and had little interaction with people.. but now I am a very outgoing boy! I am very smart and LOVE to play! I like to play with all my toys and I especially love to play in the pool!  I love water! I am very eager to please and I love treats so you can easily teach me all sorts of people words. Come meet me!


ZerkHi I’m Xeryus … I like Zerk better! I am a 1 year old Black Lab/Shepherd mix. I grew up with my siblings in the confines of a garage with little people interaction. I am a little shy at first, but I will warm up to you very fast! I love to play with my brother, so it would be cool to have another dog to play with. I am very smart and can learn people words very quickly especially if you give me a treat! I can’t wait to find my forever home!  Come meet me and see if we can be best friends!

If you’re interested in either Buddy or Xeryus, complete an application HERE or send questions to


Cat of the Week: Charlie

Julia D Cat of the Week


Charlie 2Charlie 3Hi, my name is Charlie. I am an orange and white tabby. I have a white chin that you just can’t resist petting! I live at the Last Hope Adoption Center with my other kitty friends. I am an outgoing and social guy so when you walk into our room I will be the first to greet you. Sometimes little kids come and visit me. I don’t mind if they are noisy or move around quickly, I love getting their attention and have fun when they play with my toys with me. So, if you have kids that would be just fine! I enjoy being held and petted and will purr a lot to let you know this. I am litter box trained, neutered, up to date on my shots, and micro-chipped.

If you think you would enjoy being my human so we can play and snuggle, please send an email to An adoption application can be completed HERE.

Charlie 4


Dog of the Week: Ella

Julia D Dog of the Week

Ella 2

Ella is a Foxhound/Beagle mix and is a very loving dog who loves to run and play and then cuddle up next to the family. She gets along with dogs, is playful with cats but learning boundaries and loves kids. She would do best in a home with a companion dog to show her the ropes..She is not a jumper and she only play bites when she is playing with tugs or toys. She will run and needs a lot more recall practice and well fenced yard. She is still potty training but she is trying very hard. She will go in a kennel and we recommend she is in one when her people leave since she is young and might chew. She is not an excessive barker.

If you would like more information about Ella, email or complete an application HERE.



Cat of the Week: Baby Girl

Julia D Cat of the Week

Baby Girl

Baby is a very loving kitten. She is playful, but also loves to cuddle. She does good with other cats but has never been around dogs so not sure how she would react to dogs. Be prepared for her to try and cuddle with you every night when you go to sleep. Baby Girl is spayed and up to date on her rabies and distemper vaccinations.

Baby Girl 2

For more information on Baby Girl please email or complete an application HERE.


Dog of the Week: Duke

Julia D Dog of the Week


Duke 2Duke 3Duke is a sweet young man that has been bounced around a lot in his young life and needs a committed family. Duke is a 10 month old German Shepard mix. He is a good really boy with basic manners and is crate trained and house broken. He does well with other dogs, cats, and children. He is very intelligent and has a lot of energy. He would do well with a family seeking an active dog to take jogging or to train for agility. If you are willing to give this boy the love and commitment he desires, he will make a great member of your family.

If you would like more information about Duke, email or complete an application HERE.


Kitties of the Week: Socks, Squeaks, and Buttercup

Julia D Cat of the Week

Socks etc 3

Socks etc 2Socks etcThese three cuties currently live in a foster home with two dogs and they get along fine. They are all curious, cuddly, and love to play. They have all been altered, are up-to-date on vaccines, and microchipped. They’re ready for their forever homes!

If you’re interested in more information about one of these adorable kittens please email or complete an application HERE.


Dog of the Week: Otis

Julia D Dog of the Week


Hi, my name is Otis, I’m a black Lab and I’m quite the gentleman, if I do say so myself. My foster mom always tells me that I’m a good boy. I get along well with my foster sisters and even play nice with the little puppy. I don’t like cats so much. I’m house trained and I don’t even get on the furniture. There is no need to crate me because I am well behaved. I enjoy taking walks and am good on the leash. Could you be my forever family?

If you’re interested in more information about Otis, please email or complete an application HERE.


Cat of the Week: Sasha

Julia D Cat of the Week


Sasha was found sitting next to a wooded area in the country. When called, she ran right up to the person who found her and rode in the vehicle with a dog sitting next to her, so she must have been a family cat at one time. She is very affectionate and appreciative and doesn’t seem to be bothered by all of the other furry family members in the house. She is litter box trained, is spayed, microchipped, and up to date on vaccinations. She is also FIV and FeLV negative.

Please contact for more information. An adoption application can be completed HERE. Adoption fee is $75.


Dog of the Week: Lana

Julia D Dog of the Week


Lana is a beautiful 5-6 year-old Labrador/Greyhound mix. She has gorgeous long legs and a long neck, which is what leads us to believe there’s some Greyhound in her. She was found in Texas as a stray, and absolutely loved her airplane ride to Iowa! So not surprisingly, she likes car rides!

Lana 2Lana 3Lana is making great strides with house training, so as long as she’s taken outside frequently she does great. She’s not a huge fan of the crate, but as long as it’s sturdy and comfy, she tolerates it and doesn’t mess in it. She LOVES to get into mischief, so she will need lots of fun chew toys to keep her busy! She is just starting to discover that humans are great for snuggling up to and that being petted is pretty great. She loves to sleep near us in our bed as well.

Her ideal forever home will have a canine companion for her to romp around with as she LOVES her doggie friends! She has not been tested with the feline counterpart who lives in her foster home as we were told upon intake that she chases them. Maybe with a slow introduction, she could learn to live peaceably with them.

If you would like more information about Lana, please contact her foster mama at To complete an adoption application, visit our website HERE.