Editor's note: Some of the pictures in this post are disturbing. Discretion is advised.
A pit bull left for dead -- emaciated and dumped down a garbage chute in 2011 -- captured the attention of the nation at the time and his progress has been tracked ever since, as it took extreme efforts (including a dog blood transfusion) to save him. Now, Patrick, who is also known as the "miracle dog," is getting the best bill of health he could wish for -- his vet and foster parent saying he's "just a normal dog."
But it has been a long road to reach normalcy. If you're unfamiliar with Patrick's story, in March 2011, the then 1-year-old dog was found in a garbage bag that was thrown down a Newark, N.J., apartment building's chute. Miracle number one is that he was found by a custodian before the garbage truck could take him away with the trash. He was 19 pounds at the time and hospital staff described him as one of the most starved animals they had ever seen. As he began his recovery, he stayed in his cage most of the time not barking or wagging his tail, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
When he was first brought in, he was fed through an IV and had to have a blood transfusion. He couldn't stand under his own weight and had a severely low body temperature. Vets said he was six to 12 hours from death when he was found.
Watch this Star-Ledger report with footage taken only a few days after Patrick was brought to the animal hospital:
In an update on Patrick's progress in December 2011, NBC reported he was up to a healthy weight around 55 pounds. Although wary of strangers, Patricia Scavelli from the Garden State veterinary Hospital who has been taking care of the dog and wants to become his owner said he "really gives love" to those he knows. Unlike other dogs who have been abused, Patrick doesn't exhibit some of the usual skittish tendencies.
Going from an animal that couldn't even walk and was fearful of strangers, Patrick now runs, barks, plays and wags.
NineMSN recently reported Scavelli saying he's not afraid to of new people anymore either. Scavelli said "he's just a normal dog." Here's more from Scavelli on taking care of Patrick:
"Everyone thought that, you bring in an animal like that, that looks like it's really just a corpse, you put it to sleep," Mrs Smillie-Scavelli said.
'But of course, he looked up at you with those eyes, and you say: How can you give up on this dog? So, we gave him that second chance, and he has just run with it, and thrived."
Watch him in this footage -- only a few months after he was found -- to see the comparison:
Here's a short clip of Patrick six months ago enjoying being outdoors:
Patrick's owner, who was identified shortly after his discovery as Kisha Curtis, was charged with animal cruelty, to which she plead not guilty, claiming she had not tossed the dog down the chute of the 22-story building but had tied him to a railing in the stairway. Court proceedings for Curtis are still underway. If convicted, she could face 18 months in prison, a fine of several thousand dollars and community service. The judge overseeing Curtis' case is even reviewing sealed documents regarding the state's Department of Children and Family Services' experiences with Curtis. The judge is expected to issue his decision on Oct. 22.
(H/T: Huffington Post)