Miracle the abandoned cockapoo finds a home

Officials announced during a press conference at the Officials announced during a press conference at the Islip Animal Shelter and Adopt-A-Pet Center in Bay Shore on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 that Hazel Wagner of North Babylon and her daughter proudly adopted "Miracle", a dog found in a garbage dumpster on Christmas Eve. Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Miracle the abandoned cockapoo celebrated her birthday Thursday with a mani-pedi, a haircut and a new home.

The 4-year-old, who was found by a homeless man in a West Islip trash bin around Christmas, was adopted Thursday by a mother and daughter from North Babylon.

A panel of animal shelter volunteers, Islip Town officials and Suffolk County SPCA officials selected the family from 18 applications.

The dog's big, beseeching eyes drew them in, said Hazel Wagner, a law firm administrative assistant who lives with her mother.

"My mom had seen the story in the newspaper, and when I came home that day she said, 'There's a really cute dog with big eyes up for adoption,' " Wagner said. "I said, 'Ma, you know what? We can go in and put in an application.' "

Miracle's previous owner, unable to care for the dog, paid an Islip animal shelter employee to take the dog to the kennel, but the dog was found in a gas station trash bin on Dec. 23. Police said shelter attendant Michael Papini of Lindenhurst was arrested and charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty, misdemeanor animal abandonment and related charges.

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Councilman Anthony Senft, the town's liaison to the animal shelter, said the Wagners were selected based on several criteria.

"We wanted a home that didn't have any pets or any children under the age of 10," he said. "We wanted a family that had some experience with pets and a training plan in mind, and a family with contact with veterinary services."

After the panel made home visits to the finalists, the Wagners were chosen.

"We found some very loving people who were ultimately looking to add another member to their family," Senft said.

With painted nails and jaunty bows in her groomed fur, Miracle celebrated her adoption ceremony at the town animal shelter in Bay Shore Thursday as well as another big occasion. "It's her birthday, it's her adoption day -- it's her day," Wagner said.

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Miracle's first day at her new home was full of excitement, with the dog exploring snowbanks in the backyard, sniffing around the house and dispensing plenty of doggy kisses.

"We're going to keep the name Miracle and we're thinking of adding a middle name," Wagner said. "Pax, after today's storm."

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