Sometimes it takes the innocence of a child to remind us of the brevity of life. Last week a seven- year-old boy brought his mother to the TLC to see the dogs. While playing fetch with Hairy, and snuggling with Mandy, he casually mentioned that his dad knew me. “You know, my dad is old, and he said that he had you as his teacher a long time ago. So I guess you must be really old.” Then a few minutes later, he asked, “Are you older than dirt?”

Good question. I don’t think I am quite as old as dirt, but after the two left, and I started chores, I realized that life passes too quickly, and sometimes we are faced with serious challenges. Because of my badly botched open heart bypass surgery, the past year and a half have been somewhat of a struggle, and I am deeply indebted to many, many TLC volunteers who help keep the center running smoothly. Most of them already have full time jobs but show devoted commitment to making sure that the dogs are kept safe, healthy and happy. How blessed we are to have these dedicated helpers.

Although we do have definite arrangements with another shelter to provide future care for the TLC dogs if absolutely necessary, the TLC is NOT closing, but we recognize the fact that we need more dedicated YOUNGER people involved, and have exciting news to share. Ellen Hartstack has been a committed volunteer at the TLC since her college days at BVU. She has remained a part of the TLC family, has been responsible for many of our behind-the- scenes projects, and has maintained our great website for several years. (If you aren’t familiar with her creative expertise, check out She is now working in Washington D.C., but her heart remains in Iowa, and she acknowledges that her beloved home state is still the second worst in the entire country for puppy mills where the animals lack health care, proper nutrition, and socialization. It has always been her dream become more involved in animal rescue out here on the Iowa prairie. Ellen is dreaming big dreams,, and we are dreaming with her.  Yahoo!!!! She is coming home! We are excited and know you will be too as you hear more of her plans to train and rehabilitate needy Iowa dogs.

Day after day, each one the same…another year older, a little more lame

Left out in the weather with little protection, my body is sore and full of infection

 In the freezing cold and the searing the searing heat, with weary bones, and swollen feet.

My food bowl is empty, my water dish dry. What did I do? Please tell me, why?

No one to love me; no one to care; no one to bathe my filthy, matted hair.

My teeth are rotting; my eyes are encrusted. Where are the humans to whom I’m entrusted?

I cry every night, but it’s all in vain. Does no one care or even know of our horrendous pain?

There are so many of us out here with lives as sad as mine. We have no voice, no choice,

We dream of the day when there will be no puppy mills and none of us needing rescue,

None left cold and hungry, none left to suffer. Will you dream with us?

(written by animal lover Peggy Wilson)


We invite you to dream along with us as we raise awareness to the plight of Iowa animals, and strive to make life better for these suffering animals.

As old as dirt? It doesn’t matter. As John Barrymore said, “A person is not old until regrets take the place of dreams” Let’s keep dreaming…. together we have within us the strength, the patience, the dedication, and the passion to make a difference.