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Long-time resident of Potsdam Humane Society finds a new home


POTSDAM — Baron von Willie, the longest temporary resident of the Potsdam Humane Society’s animal shelter, returned to the facility Thursday morning.

But it was only for a visit — long enough for his new owner, Gabe S. Hinkley, Massena, to sign the official adoption papers.

The 2-year-old pit bull mix had been calling the shelter his home for more than 628 days when a newspaper article pointed out his plight — adopted twice,with neither of those adoptions working out because of circumstances beyond his control.

His first adopted family had to give him up after the couple split and neither one could have a dog. Ditto for the his second adopted family, and Baron found himself back at the shelter again.

Once he was spotlighted in media coverage, Baron’s time at the animal shelter came to an end thanks to Mr. Hinkley, who along with his girlfriend saw the feature and fell in love with the dog.

“My girlfriend, Tiffany, before I thought about it, asked me, ‘Did you look at the picture on the website?’ He kind of just spoke to me with those eyes. I thought about it for a few days,” Mr. Hinkley said as he and Baron signed the adoption papers Thursday morning at the shelter.

Baron’s $90 adoption fee had already been paid, but Baron continued to call the shelter home until Mr. Hinkley came along. They spent three weeks getting to know each other as part of the shelter’s “Foster to Adopt” program. That gives the pet and the owner a chance to see whether it’s a good fit.

In both cases, it was match made in heaven, and Baron was set to become Mr. Hinkley’s first dog since 2008.

“When we got to my house, he was a little uncomfortable at first. But he acclimated within 48 hours,” Mr. Hinkley said.

Now, he said, Baron stays by his side, walking with him about three times a day, and he has developed a relationship with Mr. Hinkley’s girlfriend and children.

“He’s great with my kids. He has settled right in. My kids love him,” he said.

With Baron’s adoption official, the dog who has taken over the title of longest temporary resident is Bubba Chubba, a 3-year-old pit bull mix. He and other animals are available through the regular adoption process, as well as via the “Pets for Vets” program in which all veterans, active or retired, have their adoption fees waived with an approved adoption application.

Check the Potsdam Humane Society’s website at, email it at or phone 265-3199 for more information about “Pets for Vets” or any other program.

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