Welcome to
Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids

Providing Advanced Medical Care to Homeless Animals in Eastern Iowa



Help Repair 
Broken Lives


Critter Crusaders received an urgent phone call Sunday night January 21st at around midnight. In an instant, our world changed. It was EIVSC. Lucee suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. The suspected culprit was a blood clot that broke free, traveling to the heart and causing it to stop. CPR was performed in an attempt to revive her. It was not to be and with much heartache, we had to let our sweet girl go.

There are so many emotions. Words are hard to find. We are all stunned and heartbroken. This comes so soon after loosing our Lone Survivor puppy, Saige. How do we break the hearts of so many people gracefully and with compassion? It just isn’t possible.
There are many things we want to tell you. Dr. Roa felt confident that the ventilator weaning process would begin as expected and that we would gradually see a puppy become conscious. We would then start getting to know her, see her eyes open and perhaps a quick wag of the tail. We were confident that the battle waged by EIVSC and you, would be won. I spent time with Lucee that last evening at the hospital. The mood was upbeat and excited for what the next day would bring. I held Lucee’s paw and kissed her goodbye when I left that evening. She was in the best hands that could be provided, yet in medicine and life, nothing is guaranteed.

The funds you so graciously sent for Lucee’s care will go directly to her bill. We feel badly that this is not the outcome you expected or hoped for. Critter Crusaders will be picking up a large portion of her charges as well and we will do so with much respect of your tremendous effort on behalf of this little girl. No regrets, only love.

Our hearts also go out to the family that had so unselfishly surrendered her. Lucee will be privately cremated and she will remain an important part of our organization. Lucee will serve to remind us that all life is worthy, all animals deserving of our efforts no matter the outcome. Her loss will only solidify our determination and compassion for other animals to come. We will will remain stronger than ever within this organization on Lucee’s behalf. Each animal we assist, always reminds us of those we have lost. They are never forgotten.

We thank Dr.Leo Roa and all of the doctors and amazing staff at EIVSC. This critical care hospital was turned into a home for the many veterinary professionals who have stayed there for an entire week, taking shifts to care for Lucee. They above all others, poured out every single ounce of technology, experience, love and compassion for this girl. Their loss is significant and we extend our thanks to each of them for their selfless dedication.

Each of you have shown CC what a true team of compassion can do. It was your effort that allowed Lucee to have another chance at life. Your donations, that allowed us to keep going, your sharing her story and tucking her into your heart. Lucee was loved by each of you, a collective family of strangers who came together for one little Pyrenees puppy. In life, there is never a promise of tomorrow. We do the best we can when we are fortunate enough to experience today. Our gratitude to each of you is immeasurable. May God bless you and your family’s and may we always remember Lucee. Gentle journey home Sweet girl. You were so very loved.

– Jan Erceg, Medical Coordinator, Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids and all of our board of directors and volunteers.

Mardi Growl & Meow Gala

Join Krewe Du Krewsaders for an evening of Mardi Gras surprises! On February 17th we will bring the Big Easy to Cedar Rapids!
The fun starts at 6:00 pm at:

EASTBANK Venue & Lounge

97 3rd Ave SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

General admission tickets are $40, or reserve a table of 8 for $300 Your ticket price* includes dinner, a live band, cash bar and silent auction.

Costumes Encouraged!

Purchase Your Tickets In Advance

*Fees and taxes will apply to ticket purchase.


To Know Loss
This is one of the toughest posts that we have ever had to write. The little Lone Survivor, Saige, our burn puppy died January 11th. Late in the evening of January 10th, Saige‘s skin started to slough. At that time, Dr. Roa had no idea of the extent. Until this sloughing occurs, there is no way to determine the extent of the damage. It is important for you all to know that with her skin still intact, Saige was very comfortable and not suffering. She gave kisses, barked and played with the staff. They adored her. We were all waiting for the burns to mature and when they finally did….it changed our world.

Five days after being admitted to EIVSC, things changed dramatically. The sloughing had continued through the night and the vast majority of Saige’s skin on the right side of her body was gone. The skin on her eyelid, tail, genitals, all four feet, head, neck and more continued to shed, creating a giant open wound that encompassed over half of her body. After much discussion with Dr. Aper, Last Hope Rescue and our CC board it was determined that there was no way to close a burn that involved that much of her little body. We could have put this puppy through months of treatment and severe pain only to lose her to infection, or multiple amputations. We could not put Saige through this pain when her injuries were too extensive.

We called Alex and Terry Andersen, the family who was so gravely affected by this devastating fire. Although they had surrendered Saige, we had remained in contact with them since that night. Alex met me at EIVSC and we spent time with Saige. Alex was able to talk to her and kiss her. She told Saige what a great mom and dad she had. What wonderful dogs they all were and how much they were loved and missed. How Saige was named after her momma who heroically got her out of the fire. Alex told her that she loved her and then with much heartache and love, we sent little Saige back to her family.

Baby Saige belonged to each one of us. She belonged to thousands of people, from all different states and walks of life. She belonged to the Andersen family and their children, the firefighters who rescued her, Rod from Animal Control who transported Saige and her dad to EIVSC. The doctors, techs, a multitude of rescue organizations and well wishers. She was our puppy. A collective group of wonderful, caring people who wanted to see her healthy and vibrant. The way all puppies should be. We have a choice. We can use these heartbreaks as a means to avoid more sadness in the future…to back away and protect ourselves from further pain, or we can embrace them knowing that we sometimes lose the battle but the love we have for these animals far exceeds the thought of ever giving up. Let little Saige be our inspiration and hope for the next baby that come our way. She would want that️

Saving Elliott – A Struggle for Life

Elliot was Critter Crusaders second very critical case of 2018! He came into our care on New Years Eve through SAINT Cat Rescue. His packed cell volume was a mere 11% which means the oxygen transporting the red blood cells was so low that the organs within his body were gravely depleted of oxygen. He could not walk or even stand. This was a life-threatening emergency and Elliot required a plasma transfusion.  He improved after a transfusion. He continued to improve and is on the road to recovery. We thank you all for being there for him! Please continue to help us share his story in an effort to defray expenses! We appreciate all of your donations and well wishes….Elliott does too!

Please help us spread the word about Elliott as we hit the ground running on the first day of 2018 and consider a donation to support this cause.

Puppy Poseidon And The Christmas Miracle!

Critter Crusaders desperately needs everyone’s help to spread the story about Poseidon.

On Saturday December 23rd, we received an urgent call to help a young 8-month-old Pittie puppy who was almost killed after being attacked by another dog. His initial care was provided at a local vet clinic, but it quickly became clear that he needed critical care and an immediate transfer to Eastern Iowa Veterinary Specialty Center. His life was in the balance and once admitted it would prove to be an epic minute-by-minute battle for survival. On Christmas day Poseidon’s condition took a miraculous turn when he began showing signs of improvement. Click here for the full story.

Poseidon’s struggle is not yet over. He has a long road to recovery. Please consider donating to his care and share this story far and wide!

Please Donate

The Journey for Justice – An Unbelievable Story (Please Help)

This is a gripping story of Justice who sustained life-threatening injuries after getting her leg caught in a trap and how this sweet, brave kitty attempted to save herself!
Critter Crusaders is fighting to save her life and her leg!  Please help share Journey’s story with other animal lovers and consider making a donation to help pay for the extensive medical care she needs.
Justice and Critter Crusaders Thank You!
DeAnn Brannaman

In Loving Memory

On Thursday, November 9th Critter Crusaders suffered a devastating loss to our organization. Tina MacNaughton, suddenly passed away at age 44 from complications of cancer treatment. Her commitment to Critter Crusaders and the animal rescue world was amazing. Her death has left a hole in our hearts and in the animal rescue community. One that we will never be able to fill.

Tina became a volunteer with us in 2011. She served as Board Secretary from 2012- 2016 and organized multiple fund raisers over the years with the last one on August 5, 2017. She fostered multiple medically challenged dogs and several litters of kittens totaling 29 animals. The animals with medical conditions received their care through Critter Crusaders. Tina worked tirelessly caring for these medically challenged animals who suffered from conditions including cancer, meningitis, recovering from various surgeries, seizures, Cushing’s disease and blindness, until they were adopted. In usual Tina fashion, she did adopt two of the dogs herself.

Most of the animals she fostered came from Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control. She began volunteering there in 2011. She recorded 4,264 hours of volunteer service which included organizing pet adoption events, animal transports for the shelter, adoption outreach events, was a volunteer orientation dog team member and helped at many fund-raising events.

In April 2013 Tina began transporting homeless dogs for PAWS – Pushin’ Another Waggin’ To Safety. Doing 18 transports until her last trip on Sept. 23, 2017, she saved the lives of 195 dogs and puppies transporting them over 2,213 miles to safe rescues and shelters. Sometimes driving two or three legs of the journey when no one else was available.

In July 2014, Tina was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the diagnosis, she didn’t slow down with the animal rescue work that was so important to her. She had courage and strength like no other, fighting the whole way, never feeling sorry for herself, never giving up, and always putting the needs of animals and humans ahead of her own. She saved the lives of hundreds of animals and inspired many during her lifetime. Tina’s last foster dog, Heike has since been adopted to his forever home.

Our hearts are broken with the loss of a friend and fellow volunteer. We take comfort in the knowledge that she awaits at the Rainbow Bridge for those pets we are unable to save. God speed Tina.

OUR MISSION “Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids exists to provide and guide lifesaving advanced medical care for homeless or stray animals. We offer this service to shelters and rescues in the area to reduce euthanasia numbers and restore broken lives.”

Official DDAF Grantee

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Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids is a 501c3 non-profit all volunteer organization made up of a Board of Directors and volunteers that has been in operation since 2008.

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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids

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