Featured Stories

To Save A Life: Puppy Lorraine's Prayer

A single phone call has the power to change the trajectory of an animal's life. It did for 9 month old Lorraine, a mixed breed with severe regurgitation.  Critter Crusaders accepted her into our medical system Sunday Feb.10th, not knowing the dramatic turn of events that would occur barley two days later. Follow this link to read her story as it evolves. PLEASE help by sharing her GoFundMe on your Facebook and other social media links and consider a donation if you can. Thank you!

Bishop Before

This was Bishop's life before he came to Cedar Valley Humane Society. Thick mats of hair trapped him in his own body, tugging and pulling on his skin in a devilish web of pain. It’s hard to imagine how he could walk, move, urinate, or even see. Sickening and sad but this was his reality. Circumstances that trap animals in a spiral of inhumanity is not uncommon in the Eastern Iowa area. Luckily for Bishop, he landed in the right place! CVHS contacted us to assist with his medical issues.

Bishop After

Bishop had surgery July 5th for a patella luxation at Frey Pet Hospital. Once this knee is healed it's onto his next one! CC wants to take this opportunity to say a HUGE THANK YOU to our donors and supporters. None of this would be possible without you. Bishop also says Pooches Gracias!


Zeke was struck by a vehicle and sustained injuries that included his left eye and a badly fractured humerus that will require surgery. The break is very close to the elbow joint so he will most likely need an external fixation and several months to heal. Fur Fun Rescue will care for Zeke during his recovery. We've got ya covered big boy!


Hope was gravely injured as a 4 month old puppy. A victim of suspected abuse which left her with two fractured hips, a fractured femur, damaged eye, multiple surgeries and months of recovery.

She is pictured here as takes her last few paddles in the therapy pool at ISU's Lloyds Small Animal Hospital. It has been our good fortune to be on this amazing journey with her. Hope has been an inspiration to SO many! She is a survivor of epic proportions and holds no grudges of her past!  What a girl! Nothing but love and respect for her



We LOVE the name for this tiny kitten!. This baby was a hot little mess but thanks to the care from the great folks at the Anamosa Vet Clinic and to our friends at Gems Forever for fostering this little cutie, Mr. Mouse not only has a new name, but an entirely new life! Kristen Shook, a vet tech at Anamosa will be a great foster mom and gave this tiny tyke a memorable name!


Our medical miracle Lilly Rose is now 3 years old! When she was 3 months of age she was diagnosed with 4 different defects in her tiny little heart! Puppies generally die before their first birthday with this condition. When Lilly Rose came to Critter Crusaders for treatment, we set out on a mission to save her life. Her journey led us to Colorado State University, one of the world leaders in animal heart surgery. Lilly has had two ground breaking heart surgeries which will help many other dogs. Quite a legacy for one little beagle! CSU will continue to follow Lilly her entire life. Lilly Rose now enjoys a normal, healthy life with only two medications. You are a true gift to the many people who love you. Happy 3rd Birthday Girl!


Little kitten Bert came to us through Last Hope. He has been diagnosed with an injury to his brachial plexus which is a bundle of nerves around the shoulders and neck. Because of this injury, he has limited use of his front limbs. But that doesn’t slow him down! We think he’s pretty darn cute!



What an life of adventure Larry has had! From emaciation, paralysis and surviving against all odds, he has a functional life on all 4 paws! This kitty continues to beat the odds!

Larry has been a little Critter Crusaders medical project from the start! Larry recently gave us quite a scare. He was vomiting after every meal! After spending 3 days in the hospital, filled with barium studies and x-rays, no obstruction or ongoing issue was found! Whew! After his last set of x-rays, while still under sedation it was decided not to waste an anesthesia and have him neutered! As you can guess, when we picked Larry up to return him to his foster home, he looked upset! Poor boy! Came in for a bowel obstruction and left neutered!



Critter Crusaders teamed with Cedar Valley Pit Bull Rescue to offer a wonderful family, plagued by their own significant medical troubles, an alternative to euthanasia for their dog Twilight.  It is still a mystery as to why this boy has zero muscles in his hind end and rear legs. Because of this, he has been forced to crawl on the ground, but he is very efficient at it! Dr. Matt Keller at EIVSC does not feel this is neurological as his reflexes are appropriate. Although he has only been with us a short time Twilight is doing great!   Foster mom Paula reports that Twilight is becoming stronger and can now actually support his weight for short periods of time. Fingers crossed for more good news as we travel the medical road side by side with this amazing dog!

Posted 6/12/18

Digit's Fight for Life


On Sunday, May 27th, Critter Crusaders received a call for assistance with a very severe neglect/abuse case south of Cedar Rapids. This is a male Yorkie mix who was found in bad shape wandering alone. The local police department contacted Unleashed Animal Rescue. Critter Crusaders was then contacted to help with his medical care and he was rushed to Eastern Iowa Veterinary Specialty Center. This little guy has been named Digit. Little Digit we will do everything we possibly can to restore your health. We ask you to join “Team Digit” by sharing his story on your social media and making a donation for his care at https://www.gofundme.com/digitsfightforlife.  We thank all of you for your prayers, concern and support for sweet little Digit!
Posted 5/29/18

Digit Pupdate! Posted 6/12/18

Look at little Digit now! From a severe neglect/abuse case to an amazing turnaround! We still have a long way to go with his medical treatment and the doctors have not ruled out the insulin producing tumor somewhere in his pancreas, but he is thriving! Next up...his eye appointment at Animal Eye Consultants of Iowa! Digit is in foster care with Sue Hartung, through Fur Fun Rescue. You go Digit -Man!

For more details on his story and to make a donation for his continued medical care click on  https://www.gofundme.com/digitsfightforlife.

Another Emergency on Memorial Day!

On Memorial Day we received an urgent call from Eastern Iowa Vet Specialty Center to save a 7 month old kitty. The  kitty, (Knuckles) had eaten several hair bands causing a major abdominal obstruction, and was taken directly into abdominal surgery with Dr. Rhonda Aper. More to come on this young guy's status. Many thanks to our friends at SAINTS Cat Rescue for accepting him into their organization.
Posted 5/30/18


Take a look at Rambler! Aka Superman! Rambler has had a leg amputation through CC and is chronically incontinent, so his very talented Last Hope foster mom Lois Richardson made him a diaper and matching bow tie! We will now refer to him as Tuxedo Man!

Posted 5/18/18


Zeke Update

May 9th is a big day for gorgeous black German, Shepherd Zeke! He will have his final set of x-rays at Frey Pet Hospital after knee surgery. Zeke was injured when struck by a vehicle on Ellis Blvd. NW in Cedar Rapids. Zeke was assisted by Critter Crusaders and our friends at the Cedar Rapids Shelter’s non-profit, Friends Helping Friends Foundation. Here he is pictured with “ brother Rex”


Justice Update

Do you remember Justice? She was the severely injured kitty who had been snared in a tube trap, then became lodged in a vehicle engine compartment as she tried to escape the pain of the trap. The vehicle was then driven many miles before she was discovered injured and severely burned by the heat of the engine. She was admitted to Eastern Iowa Veterinary Specialty Center through Critter Crusaders on November 22nd, 2017 with very dramatic multi system trauma. She underwent days of critical care and a front limb amputation. Fast forward her story…and a drum roll please.......JUSTICE is ADOPTED! Her new momma is Gina Ballestrasse-Ernster, a wonderful local business owner, animal advocate and well-known supporter of many animal organizations! While Gina followed Justice’s story and struggles, she knew she was meant to be her mom! Justice hit the kitty jackpot! Gina says she is quite shy but is a purring machine! We could not be happier for Justice, Gina and her new family! Congratulations!

Justice was the first animal in a string of very critical medical cases that we handled through the winter months of Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb and continue today! Justice survived and beat the odds.

A big shout out goes to a great friend, Tracy Belle from Wildthunder Rescue and Rehab in Independence. Justice was under her care at the time of the injury. Tracy contacted CC due to the severity of her injuries.


Do you remember Otis?

Otis was the kitten found barely alive on an extremely cold day in January and was taken directly to Eastern Iowa Veterinary Specialty Center through CC. He was hospitalized in critical care for many days with organ failure. We were unsure if he would survive, but we didn't give up on him! Here are the before and after pictures of this beautiful little boy...Look at him now and how he has grown! He just finished his final appointment through CC. His adoption is being handled by our friends at Last Hope Rescue! He's living large and in charge! From a very sick puddle of a kitten to a prince! The way it should be for every homeless pet.

Posted 6/12/18

A Boy’s Kindness

Critter Crusaders would like to thank a very special boy who stopped into Eastern Iowa Veterinary Specialty Center with his dad. Luke saved his money and wanted to help animals in need. He decided to donate his $50 to the Critter Crusaders animals hospitalized at EIVSC. Knuckles the kitty, who had emergency surgery and Digit the little Yorkie mix abuse case, both remain under care at EIVSC. This reaffirms our faith that a child's kindness can be a beacon of hope for the future. Luke, you are a role model and a hero to Digit, Knuckles and Critter Crusaders. Your parents must be so proud. We are too!

Thank you Luke! ❤️🐾

Posted 5/30/18

A Very Special Memory

Many thanks to Jen Bentley, owner of the Donut Experiment for collecting $120 this month for Critter Crusaders. Jen does this every month in memory of CC’s Tina MacNaughton who passed away last November. Tina will never be forgotten.

Please visit Jen at her amazingly yummy shop at 5300 Fountains Dr. NE in Cedar Rapids.

Thanks Jen!

Posted 5/18/18



Lady Delilah has been doing fantabulous lately after scaring us to death with multiple daily seizures. This little gal suffered a head injury at 4 weeks of age but Dr. Kingus from Frey Pet Hospital has been right on top of Delilah’s medical issues. The addition of Zonisamide, another anti-seizure med has done the trick and we are now a little over two weeks seizure free! Delilah feels so much better too!


Look at Little Lola!

Lola came to CC in critical condition last fall. She changed owners 4 times in one day on Craigslist until the last adopter called us about a very sick pup!  She received emergency surgery and many weeks of treatment to save her life! Once returned to health, she was adopted through our friends at Fur Fun Rescue! Her former foster momma Sheryl sent us the photo and we are all doing a happy dance! Wow! She is up to 20lbs now and just thriving with her adopted family! This is why we do this work! Go little Lola!


Poseidon Update

What an adventurous journey we’ve had with this puppy Poseidon, from Cedar Valley Pit Bull Rescue.  He was critically injured in a dog attack, then became critically ill with complications from the attack. One complication was the huge esophageal strictures that formed and blocked him from swallowing.  He then had a state of the art self-inflating balloon esophageal tube inserted through the side of his neck. His foster mom Dr. Katelyn Marlowe at UW Madison inflated this balloon daily to flatten out the strictures without the use of anesthesia. This was good for Poseidon and ultimately saved CC over $800 per treatment cost.  The world renown Animal Medical Center in New York City developed this specialized e-tube and this was UW Madison’s first experience with it.  No doubt this will change the lives of pets all throughout the Midwest. Our little ground breaker Poseidon is living proof that it works! He is a rock star!

Poseidon has been very adventurous lately! He remains at UW Madison Veterinary Teaching Hospital with Katelyn and the stinker decided to chew a gastric tube out of his tummy that had been inserted during his e-tube surgery! Yikes! He is feeling sassy and frisky so the docs decided not to replace it. He is eating now but slowly with multiple meals and soft food. He has had a couple of regurgitation episodes but nothing like before. His esophagus is still healing. The “P” Man is on month 5 of ongoing treatment from his devastating dog attack injuries and it has been quite a ride! In his photo, Katelyn decided to get the boy something super tough to chew on and play with, besides a g-tube! His puppyhood is in full swing! This has been a truly amazing journey with one incredibly, resilient pup. He is a true warrior and survivor!  We thank you all for your support of this boy️!



One very special moment in the life of foster mom…
Tagini was feral when she was struck by a car. After surgery through CC, Tag was placed at Fur Fun Rescue and into the home of Alison and Travis.There just aren’t enough words to express what a foster mom or dad means to a homeless pet. Many times these animals have been discarded, neglected, sick, injured or abused.

They each have a story to tell and it’s the foster family who unravels it bit by bit. Fostering is by far the most altruistic, hard earned link in the entire rescue chain. It’s where the most incredible things can happen. Over the past two months as Tag recovered from surgery, she avoided eye contact, affection and any type of attention…until last week. The photo tells the whole story. A giant breakthrough and a few extraordinary moments captured in the life of a little dog who did not trust people. We say Thank You to all foster parents and wish you each a moment of sheer joy like Alison’s. It is so worth the effort!


Thanks to HEART Rescue, Clyde…aka Dude, had surgery through Critter Crusaders for a bowel obstruction that would have proven fatal! He is fully recovered and doing fantastic!



Tagini came to us through Fur Fun Rescue. She was hit by a vehicle and had surgery for a broken forelimb. It was later discovered that the impact of the vehicle had also caused a tear in her pericardium, the protective sack around the heart.  This diagnosis changed her simple case into a complex one. But we won’t give up on this little girl! It’s complex cases like this that require us to constantly fund raise to meet the overwhelming needs of the animals we serve.



Zeb is a VERY SPECIAL CC Alumi! His pelvis was crushed after being struck at high speed and thrown into a ditch to die. Fate stepped in when Spencer Garlinghouse saw Zeb’s head poking out of the ditch as he drove by. Spence contacted Critter Crusaders and with some coaching, rescued Zeb. From there, Zeb’s story of survival spanned over 7 months and a huge surgery to piece him back together. Today, Zeb is very happily adopted. He can run and play like a normal dog. As you can see by his picture, he is also spoiled like every pet should be!



Meet Rebel, from Cedar Valley Put Bull Rescue. Rebel is a 2 year old female Boxer with a very dramatic case of heart-worms. This disease places her  into a potentially high risk category for treatment. She will need everyone to send their good thoughts to her. We gotcha Rebel girl! No worries!


Max came from our friends at Cedar Valley Humane Society who brought him to Iowa from Tennessee. He was in bad condition when he arrived. Max has been diagnosed with Aspergillosis, a fungal infection not common to Iowa. Once diagnosed, the treatment is very complex and expensive so CVHS asked for our assistance and it has been nothing but a pleasure!


We heard about Merci from Agape Animal Rescue. She had a foreign body obstruction and received life saving surgery through the help of Critter Crusaders. She is doing GREAT! Just need to get some weight back on her. 


Lola is a 7-month-old Cocker Spaniel mix who was placed with Fur Fun Rescue then later diagnosed with Intussusception, a condition that is horribly painful and fatal if untreated. It’s an abnormality of the intestines causing them to inflame and “telescope” out of their natural position. Telescoping can cause complete intestinal obstruction and necrosis or death of healthy intestine. Weighing only 8lbs, Lola is extremely malnourished, and unable to eat or process food effectively.

Lola received emergency surgery at IVRC in Des Moines. Dr. Brent Reimer, performed the surgery and removed approximately 20 centimeters of small bowel. She’s an extremely ill puppy and remains at risk for complications including infections.

Critter Crusaders is asking for your financial support as we fight like crazy to save this little girl’s life. For updates on Lola’s journey, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/alifenearlylostlolasstory.

Thank you all!

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