Gizmo, one of the 19 puppies recovered after being dumped in the woods by Michael Staley, relaxes in her new home.
In early August, 24 puppies were abandoned by the husband of the owner of Northern Puppies, Michael Staley.
All but five puppies were found in rural locations scattered around Clinton County. Two out of the five puppies were found by brothers Paul and Caleb Passino, before the crime was even reported in the media.
On a four-wheeling trail in Macomb Park in Schuyler Falls, the brothers found two German Shepard puppies, now known as Gizmo and Ranger, sitting next to a tree trunk in the rain. When they stopped, the puppies immediately went to them, and Paul knew right there that Gizmo was going to be his new dog.
The brothers took one puppy each on their laps and drove to the interstate where Caleb’s girlfriend picked the puppies up. During that time, Paul alerted his girlfriend, Kristin Short, that Gizmo was coming home.
“When Paul found the puppy, he immediately called me saying ‘I got us a new dog!’” Short said. “My first reaction was ‘what are we getting ourselves into’?
“But as soon as I saw her…she was just gorgeous.”
Besides her cute face, Kristin noticed an unclean coat, ears filled with blood and a constant cough known as Kennel Cough, an upper respiratory infection that affects dogs. Once she petted the puppy under her thick coat, she noticed she was skinny-so skinny that she could feel her ribs. Although the puppy was sickly, the family decided to keep and take care of her.
“As soon as we brought the puppy home, we brought the kids outside, and they got to play with her,” Short said. “From there on out, it was meant to be.”
That same day, the kids, Paul and Brianna, named Gizmo, and Gizmo was given a bath, new puppy toys and food. Gizmo adjusted automatically to the household. But Gizmo didn’t stay too long.
After a few days, a report of the abandoned puppies appeared, and city police asked all people who found puppies to turn them in to the city police. The family called shortly after, and they were instructed to bring the puppy to Eagle’s Nest Veterinary Hospital in Plattsburgh to be checked out.
At first, the family didn’t think the puppies were from Northern Puppies. But once they found out, they were shocked.
“It’s terrible to believe that someone could do that to a dog,” Paul said.
“We felt bad for her being put into the middle of the woods,” Short said. “He (Staley) seems to be very uneducated, irresponsible and a bad person.
“How could someone drop off puppies out in the wilderness like that?”
The puppies stayed at Eagle’s Nest for two weeks, and the family wasn’t able to visit Gizmo. Paul constantly called the City Police Department and the investigator to find out the status of the puppy. After all of the puppies were cleared to be released, the family was contacted, and they officially adopted Gizmo.
Being eight to nine months old now, Short says Gizmo is just as rambunctious as she was when she first joined the family. Today, Gizmo has play dates with her brother, Ranger. When she visits Short’s mother, she enjoys playing tug-o-war with her two dogs, along with her hair. Gizmo continues to love her family, and they love her.
“She’s really good with the kids, and she’s like a third kid,” Paul said. “She’s a lover…my best friend, pretty much.
“You couldn’t ask for a better dog.”