This Lovable Canine’s Struggle To Survive,
Is Causing Many People To Change Their Ways
“He is a tremendous fighter.
There are very few animals
That could have gone through,
And survived, what he has."
Dr. Thomas Scavelli,
Garden State Veterinary Specialists
Last month, when an emaciated dog found in a plastic garbage bag at the bottom of a 20-story trash chute in New Jersey was rushed to a veterinary emergency room, doctors there thought that he would be dead within the hour.
Instead, this extremely scrappy little dog, now named Patrick, has defied all of the odds, and he is now getting stronger every day.
Animal Hospital staffers, who named him for his reddish-brown fur and because he was rushed in on St. Patrick's Day, have been chronicling his progress on their website, and on a Facebook page that has now garnered many new ‘Patrick Fans’ from all around the world. He has already received hundreds of emails, donations, gifts, and letters from those who have now been inspired by his epic tale of survival.
When Patrick was brought into the animal hospital last month, he was so starved, emaciated, and dehydrated that he was curled up into a little ball, unable to walk or stand. His ribcage protruded, he only weighed about 20 pounds — 30 pounds less than he should — and he was covered in sores with extremely loose skin hanging off his body, according to Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, Dr. Scavelli's wife and the administrator of the animal hospital.
"Everyone thought that, you bring in an animal like that, that looks like it's really just a corpse, you put it to sleep," 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? How can you, when he's not giving up on life?’ So, we gave him that second chance; and he has just run with it, and he has thrived."
Today, after weeks of emergency measures that have included a transfusion, a special diet, medicine, and physical therapy, Patrick continues to gain weight, is finally eating solid food, and he now enjoys taking outdoor walks in the sun and playing with the numerous toys that well-wishers have been sending him.
"This was not a month of starvation," Dr. Scavelli said. "This was a lifetime probably, or at least months and months of neglect and abuse, and to see the way that he cares for people and trusts people, that's really been the most interesting and rewarding thing to see about the canine spirit."
A woman from Newark, N.J. has been charged with two fourth-degree offenses for "tormenting and torturing" an animal by failing to provide food and water, prosecutors said. The charges could carry a maximum jail sentence of 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000. She also faces two abandonment charges punishable by up to six months in jail with a $1,000 fine.
Authorities said she tied Patrick to a railing in her apartment building and just left him there. A janitor later found him stuffed into a plastic garbage bag which had been tossed down the building’s trash bin.
Today, the dog that prosecutors say had been so callously dumped like garbage has been inundated with numerous adoption offers.
The Essex County courthouse has so far received more than 600 letters and faxes from around the world expressing concern for Patrick, and also urging swift and harsh punishment for his abuser. The hospital ordered 500 thank-you cards with Patrick's picture on them to mail to those who’ve sent collars, dog shirts, toys, scrapbook pages, or dog blankets embroidered with Patrick's name, and it has run out of them.
Officials at the animal hospital also say that Patrick is still a long way from being healthy enough yet to be placed up for adoption, and he still faces some major health issues related to his prolonged starvation. He is also still too weak for surgery to remove a foreign object lodged in his stomach.
But for now, little Patrick seems to be at home at the animal hospital, where he follows staff around, enjoys being petted and played with, and watches very attentively as they open the many gifts and letters that he now receives every day.
"In the 17 years we've been here, we've never seen this type of response to an animal," Patricia Smillie-Scavelli said. "There is something about Patrick that has really sparked interest, from throughout the entire world."
Hooray for brave little Patrick, and I truly hope that his story prompts many more people to view all life far more reverently. I also hope that many more people will now finally decide to adopt a lovable, deserving, abandoned, abused, homeless canine – there are so many of them out there, right now.