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.