It is with great sadness that we tell you of the passing of another wonderful APR volunteer. Jim Rowinski has been helping animals in need his whole life, and Abandoned Pet Rescue (APR) is grateful to have had this kind-hearted man as our longtime volunteer. Read on as we share some great stories of our friend who was committed to animal welfare.
First a recent memory from APR’s Kara Starzyk.
In August 2023, Jim’s friend told him about a house that had many neglected animals living in filth. Jim went to the house where he was met by two sisters that had special needs and their mother appeared to be on drugs. There were seven dogs, four cats and two rabbits that were crammed into small cages in the yard. The animals were matted, and urine soaked and had bowls of dirty water and no food. Jim was also concerned for the wellbeing of the young women living in this home as they couldn’t care for themselves let alone animals, and he did seek welfare services for them.
They surrendered the 13 animals to Jim, and he put as many in his car as he could and returned the next morning for the rest. Jim contacted his friends at Abandoned Pet Rescue for help and the animals came to our shelter to begin their journey towards a better life. Jim continued to stay committed to their care and shared his “Robo-Rescue,” as he called it, with his co-workers at CompHealth in Ft. Lauderdale to help find good adopters for the animals.
Jim, along with his co-worker Kristen Levins, applied for company grants that were awarded to Abandoned Pet Rescue. While checking in on his rescued babies at our no-kill shelter, he brought the staff doughnuts as a thank you because he truly cared about the people and animals in his life. He felt such relief and joy knowing that all 13 of the animals he rescued found wonderful homes.
Here are more memories from APR’s longest volunteer, Susie Hansen.
Jim first came to APR when I started the evening dog walking and came quite religiously for years. Sometimes he had to work late and if it was going to be a night like that, he would always call me to let me know that he’d be late, but he would still always show up, even if it was after 8 pm, to make sure that every dog had been walked.
He frequently would have his car packed with donated items that he then dropped off at Hope South, a nearby homeless center. He collected usable items from his co-workers and transported them to Hope South for Pastor Perry to distribute.
He was such a decent, caring man and very humble as well. I never knew that he was a famous basketball player at Purdue University in the 1980’s and even in the NBA until his wife told me one day and then I looked him up and, sure enough, there were photos of Jim looking much the same as I knew him all over the internet.
Last year another wonderful volunteer died after surgery and Jim inquired why no one in her family had donated a kidney to her. He then told me that some years earlier he had given a kidney to his favorite uncle. His uncle was on dialysis but was failing quite fast and Jim realized that his uncle couldn’t wait for a donated kidney to come his way as soon he would be too weak to receive a kidney, so he decided to give his uncle one of his. The uncle lived more than seven years after receiving Jim’s kidney and Jim said he thought that seven years was a good return for the kidney he had given up. I was so amazed that this gentle giant was so humble and modest that he had never shared this information before with me.
Jim was always promoting APR among his colleagues, friends, and family. He would send me copies of some of the emails he sent out. He was one of APR’s best volunteers and any time he came to APR he gave his all. I will miss him very very much.
To honor Jim Rowinski’s life and passion for animal rescue, please consider donating to Abandoned Pet Rescue. Just click the link below.