Luke Finds Some Luck and a New Life

April 21, 2021


When Animal Care Centers (ACC) of NYC’s Manhattan shelter shut down for two weeks in February after several of their staffers tested positive for COVID-19, the ASPCA and four other animal welfare organizations immediately stepped up to help.

“We agreed to take in six dogs and four cats,” says Delia Kurland, Senior Director of Operations for the ASPCA Adoption Center. “Their top concern was placement for their animals, so we started there.”

Luke in the Adoption Center

Of the six dogs we transferred to our Adoption Center, one was Luke, a one-year-old male brindle-colored pit bull mix who had been relinquished to ACC in December by his previous owner due to unfair building rules that would not allow pit bulls.

After nearly two months of waiting for a new home at ACC, Luke’s luck was about to change.

Luke being adopted

A Source of Support

Iosef F. and his mother, Olga, had previously adopted a one-year-old dog named Cheerio from the ASPCA in April 2019. When the pandemic hit, Olga moved to Pennsylvania and took Cheerio with her. That left the family’s home, which Iosef now shares with his partner, Vlada, without a dog.

“We wanted a dog because of the emotional support a canine companion can provide,” says Iosef, who lost his job waiting tables during COVID-19. Vlada also lost her job as an insurance administrator in a dentist’s office. Now, they’re both pursuing new careers: Iosef wants to be a tutor and Vlada has returned to school to work toward a psychology major.

Luke resting under blankets

“The only thing missing was a dog,” says Iosef. “I’ve always had a dog in the house.”

After applying online to adopt, the couple received a phone call from ASPCA Matchmaker Stacey Rozell on February 9.

Luke sleeping on a couch

“We had a nice conversation about Luke,” says Iosef. “I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly we’d be able to adopt. We met Luke later that day and adopted him.”

Fitting into A New Family

Luke was the first of the ACC animals to be adopted. 

“All but two of the dogs have now found homes,” says Kelly DiCicco, Manager of Promotions at the Adoption Center.  

Luke has been re-named Oreo in his new home.

“It rhymes with Cheerio,” Iosef says. “Luke just didn’t really suit him.”

Luke in the snow with another pitbull

Oreo lives with Iosef and Vlada in Inwood in their northern Manhattan apartment, which is conveniently located between two parks that Oreo visits frequently.

“He’s doing very well,” Iosef reports. “He’s gotten more and more comfortable with us and other people. He loves to play.”

Luke running in the snow

Iosef and Vlada took Oreo to Pennsylvania recently, where he met Cheerio. The two dogs hit it off and frolicked in the snow.

Luke playing in the snow

“He has lots of energy,” adds Iosef. “And he loves other dogs.”

Iosef adds that Oreo is smart and motivated to eat—so much so that he sometimes tries to steal food from the table. 

“He can be vocal, though not in a bad way,” Iosef says. “He likes to argue and have conversations.”

Luke smelling a flower

“I’m grateful we got him,” says Iosef. “It’s really going well. And Oreo definitely knows who his new family is.”