Freedom Festival Parade

Julia D Event

On Saturday, June 27th, Last Hope participated in the Freedom Festival Parade and we had a great time! Peg Oettinger took some pictures from the roof of Village Meat Market & Cafe, her sister’s store. She shared some of the pictures with us that featured Last Hope’s animals:

Last Hope 1 Last Hope 2

Last Hope 3 Last Hope 4

Thanks to Peg and to all the volunteers who came out to show off our special animals!


Cats of the Week: Avery, Quinn, and Sawyer

Julia D Cat of the Week

Avery Quinn


This week we are featuring a litter of kittens! Here’s more information about these cuties:

Avery: This dark gray cutie has the sweetest personality!  She’s very loving and gentle and likes to curl up on her foster mom’s lap.  If you’re looking for company, Avery would make a great companion. She gets along great with dogs and cats, and her foster cat brother has taken her and her litter mates on as his own. Avery would make the perfect addition to a loving family.

Quinn: Playful and friendly, Quinn makes a delightful companion.  She loves playing with her brother and sister, chasing each other  up and down the cat tree.  She gets along well with her foster Shih Tsu and adult cat. Quinn would love to join a forever family.

Sawyer: This little guy is a real charmer.  He likes to play rough and tumble with his sisters, and then hide out for a nice snooze.  He loves to curl up and sleep on his foster dad’s lap as well. Sawyer gets along well with other cats and dogs too, so he’s very well socialized. This little guy really needs the love of a forever home.

If you’re interested in more information about any of these three beauties, please contact or complete and application HERE.


New Adoption Center Director

Julia D Adoption Center

Last Hope Animal Rescue is pleased to announce that Julie Havran is our new Adoption Center Director!

Julie has a B.S. Degree in Human Services and M.S. Degree in Adult Education from Drake University.

After working in human services, human resources, and education, she pursued her lifelong passion for animal welfare. She became involved with Friends of the Shelter, Inc. (FOTSI) after it was formed in 2004.  FOTSI contracted to manage the Vinton/Benton County Animal Shelter in 2009.  Julie served as Shelter Director from 2009 to 2015.

After FOTSI became involved, the former Vinton-Benton County Pound (subsequently licensed as a shelter through FOTSI’s efforts) went from a survival rate of less than 40% to a  high of 98%, with a most recent three-year average of 97%.  The quality of care for the shelter animals and sanitary conditions improved dramatically while FOTSI managed the shelter.

Julie’s education, work experience as a veterinarian technician, and shelter management experience enabled her to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to serve as Adoption Center Director for Last Hope Rescue.  She also has Shelter Operations certification from American Humane.

Julie lives with her husband, dogs, and cats on an acreage NW of Cedar Rapids.

We are excited to have Julie’s knowledge and talents at the adoption center!

Dog of the Week: Booker

Julia D Dog of the Week


Booker is an extremely beautiful and loving dog who would be absolutely perfect for someone who only wants one dog but has previous large dog training experience. Booker is a very large older puppy (89 lbs. at 12-18 mos.) with the potential to grow into an even larger adult dog. He seems to be a mix of yellow Lab and Great Pyrenees – and his temperament is most like the Great Pyrenees. He can be stubborn, but he has a very calm temperament around people, is consistently friendly with strangers and children (tested down to 4 year old), and is eager to gain your positive attention. If he has enough exercise, he is perfectly content to lay down or sit next to you and just be petted frequently indoors the rest of the time. He needs at least 3-4 miles of walking each day to remain this well-behaved indoors, but he is an absolute DREAM to walk on a leash because he loves going for walks and really wants to be next to you (as long as there are no other dogs in sight or hearing). He needs a little practice yet at times when there are distractions, but he has been the EASIEST dog I have ever met to train to walk on a leash. I’ve walked extra miles (5 instead of 3) just to walk longer with him!

Booker 3Booker is in need of a patient and positive person willing to finish housebreaking him and take him to obedience classes – but he is very intelligent and very easy to train using positive methods. He is crate trained and has had few accidents indoors (4 in a week – two the first day) when taken out every 1-2 hours. He does well in his kennel at night.  Booker is making great progress on the following commands at his foster home: sit, stay, heel (his best command!), kennel, foot (as in “let me wipe your foot”), wait, and off. He does not jump up a lot, especially when exercised, but he is not yet polite around people food and does at times try to climb up on top of you to see if he can nab a bite.

He is curious and likes to explore the neighborhood – so he needs a 3-6 foot fence around his yard unless his owner is willing to take him out on a leash each time he needs to go potty. If there are any gaps or small holes under your fence, you will want to block them. Booker would also be best for a home with no other dogs, as he is very picky about his dog “friends” and wants to be the dominant dog. He also shows food, bone (rawhide), and toy protectiveness toward other dogs (but is ok when humans take them). He is not good with other male dogs close to his size, but might be ok (would have to be tested very carefully) with smaller dogs. He seems to want to play, but does not know how to do that with other dogs his size. He shows a lot of interest in cats and other small animals. He might be okay with them, but that would need very careful testing as well. Booker has had little to no experience playing with humans and toys, so he will need training if you want him to fetch, play tug, or any other toy game. He would probably be easy to train to pull a cart as his Pyrenees ancestors did. He sometimes will chase a tennis ball or a furry or crinkly (water bottle) toy and pick it up – and has returned it once or twice most of the way, but then seems to lose interest. He does show a little interest in larger balls as well. He will play with the water from the hose now (loves this!), which is good, because that makes it easier to bathe him outdoors. Overall, right now he would rather be petted than play!

Booker 2Booker’s coat is a beautiful medium length yellow and white. He does shed and he will need regular brushing to prevent matting. He will also need regular wiping with doggie wipes, or washing or bathing (especially if he plays with the hose and gets all muddy), as his coat shows everything. He is not really wild about being bathed indoors in the tub, but it can be done with the right motivation :). He is picky about treats, but is also motivated very much by the right ones –  If you are a one-dog family ready for a large, loving walking companion and snuggler and are willing to train him, please come meet Booker today!

If you are interested in Booker, contact or complete an application HERE.


Andrea Ruba Photography

Julia D Sponsor

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ORACION_038 copyAndrea Ruba Photography was a generous sponsor for Last Hope Animal Rescue’s Pups in the Park event that took place in May 2015. The proprietor, Andrea Ruba, has been in business for 5 years and photographs both people and pets and takes pictures of Last Hope adoptable animals. She believes that “a photograph is more than a picture on a wall; it’s an emotion, a memory, and a connection to the past.” As you can see by the examples here, Andrea captures her subjects perfectly.
hailey2A photography session is a special time to capture emotions and memories and Andrea Ruba Photography can be trusted to create a beautiful, lasting memory. No one has ever said that they have too many pictures of loved ones; they are usually bemoaning the fact that they don’t have enough. Don’t let those precious times pass by without a photograph to commemorate the time, the event, the people, and the pets that you love. You’ll want those connections to the past and Andrea Ruba Photography is a perfect choice to preserve those memories.
You can contact Andrea at 319-325-8500 or on her website at
Andrea Ruba Photo Special

Dog of the Week: Velvet

Julia D Dog of the Week


Hi, my name is Velvet. I’m about 4 years old and I am very petite for a coon hound. I love car rides!  I am really smart and am kind of obsessed with what’s on the other side… the other side of a door, the other side of the gate, the other side of the wall.. I don’t want to miss anything, ya know. Most people think hounds are barkers, but I’m not that into barking. I’m more of a thinker than a talker. Just like smart people, smart dogs get bored if they don’t have something to work on.

Velvet 3

Did I mention I LOVE car rides? It doesn’t matter how long the ride is because I usually fall asleep in about three minutes! I am up to date on all my vaccinations and have been spayed. I don’t mind other dogs, but I am not a fan of cats. I have kind of a sensitive tummy so I eat a special diet too.  I would love to find a home with people who want to teach me things and be my best friends. Please come and meet me and find out why my name is Velvet. Please contact for more information about Velvet. Indoor homes only.

Velvet 2

If you’re interested in Velvet, please complete an application HERE.


Cat of the Week: Teddy

Julia D Cat of the Week


Hi , my name is Teddy. I am a five-year-old soft, non-demanding, gentle-natured fawn colored Tabby. I enjoy spending my days looking out a window or snuggling with my feline companions.    I am timid when you first meet me, but after you pet me a few times  that goes away. I love to be petted and held but I never beg for it. After  you start to pet me I will rub my face against you and then lie on my back so you can reach my belly. I would love to live in a home with a human  who will pet me, give me a window to look out of, and other kitties to snuggle with at naptime. I am litter box trained, neutered, up to date on vaccines, and micro chipped. I get along with all other cats, but have not been around dogs. I hope to meet you soon!

For more information about Teddy, please email An adoption application can be completed 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’re interested in Duke, please complete an application HERE.


Volunteers of the Month – June 2015

Julia D Volunteer of the Month

Our Volunteers of the Month for June are Nicole and Matt Lesmeister! Nicole began volunteering for Last Hope at the insistance of a friend in 2009 by fostering cats. In 2014 they began fostering dogs on the weekends and fell in love with Pit Bulls. They continue to foster cats full-time and take in dogs on the weekends when they’re able.
Since the adoption center opened they have become more involved than ever. Nicole makes sure the cats are well cared for and also holds a cat open house once a month for those cats that aren’t comfortable coming out to adoption events.
Matt has set up Internet networks at the adoption center, acquired donated computers and set them up for volunteers to use, supports the network and computers and other hardware, and he recently set up Office 365 which will enable us to communicate and collaborate more efficiently and effectively.
Nicole and Matt (and their family) value their time spent volunteering for Last Hope:
“We volunteer for Last Hope because we know the animals need and appreciate everything we do for them and because they are truly dependent on us. The joy of experiencing an animal you have fostered get adopted is truly overwhelming. We have also met the most amazing individuals volunteering at Last Hope. Nowhere else have we met more passionate and caring people. We have become better because of the love from the animals and the inspiration we find from fellow volunteers. This organization is an important part of our lives and we are grateful for it.”
Thank you, Nicole and Matt! All your help means so much to the animals in our care.