An Island Didn’t Want Dogs But Now Some Rescue and Find Homes for Them

An Island Didn’t Want Dogs But Now Some Rescue and Find Homes for Them

Rescues – now delivered to Roosevelt Island, mostly Shih Tzu dogs with long hair and short legs – find protection and new homes. It’s a remarkable switch for a community that shunned all dogs and still does in some unenlightened places. Thank local hero, Jim Luce, who’s found yet another way of helping the needy.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

It wasn’t always this way. Communities evolve.

When my wife and I moved to Roosevelt Island in the early 1990s, the community shunned dogs. Although the ban included only their living in Island apartments, people walking dogs on the promenades or on the Tram regularly caught angry public rebukes.

We satisfied our love for dogs by volunteering for dog-walking at the Humane Society near the Tram on 59th Street. Eventually that led to adopting a cat – also housed in the facility – with more to follow. We love our cats, but the truth is, without the dogs, no cats.

Dogs are well-known for bringing out the humanity in people. It’s part of why they’re so loved.

From Bans to Rescue

As the 21st Century unfolded, the archaic Roosevelt Island dog ban began unraveling. First in the Octagon, then in Southtown, leases discontinued the RIOC-required no dogs conditions that kept the ban in force.

Across the globe, dogs integrated into welcoming communities, and then, Roosevelt Island became part of that too. Even Cat Sanctuary director, Rossana Ceruzzi, has a dog. (Ceruzzi also does rescues, including species other than cats.)

But with COVID shutting down the Island in 2020, something positive was born out of it.

Roosevelt Islander Jim Luce with Reynold, a new Shih Tzu rescue, his latest passion in helping out.

We’ve graduated. ACC now drives them to us in their fancy van with the lights flashing. As the van arrived with Reynold, a Public Safety officer stopped, and I tried to explain it was a drop-off and the officer said, “No, I’m just letting you know I sent in an application!”

Jim Luce, September 2023.

Enter Jim Luce

It wasn’t exactly making lemonade out of lemons, but when his longtime, international philanthropic pursuits were grounded by COVID, Luce found something needy closer to home: abandoned Shih Tzu dogs.

Luce made a midlife career switch, investing his Wall Street retirement savings in the pursuit of improving the lives – and futures – of orphans across the world. Out of that grew a commitment to developing young leaders, preparing them for challenges arrving in the new century.

But the pandemic shot all that down for two years.

And, officially, New York Shih Tzu Rescue Society. A Project of the New York Global Leaders Lions Club emerged.

Reynold – Remy – is the group’s 55th rescue on the way to a new home. Before Luce stepped in, Remy was scheduled for euthanasia this Friday. Now, his future is bright.

“It took us a while to gain traction,” Luce told me.

That brought back memories. I remembered, early on, his partner, Bix, warning him that they were running out of space. Rescuing dogs needs some balance – like finding them homes.

That knot untangled, though, and Luce’s group has now secured homes for 54 abandoned Shih Tzus. Reynold will be lucky 55.

Together, let’s make a difference in the lives of these adorable Shih Tzus. Like, follow, and share our page to spread awareness and help us find loving forever homes for these precious pups.

The Shih Tzu Rescue Society

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