You have probably seen the photos around the internet of Patrick the pit bull. The photo collage of his miracle journey from near-death to loving pet took the internet by storm back in 2011, and his story still lives on today. While many have seen the photos, often they just don't know the incredible, and at times, heartbreaking story behind it is.
The Huffington Post reports Patrick's road to recovery started when a Newark, New Jersey building superintendent found the starved dog wrapped in a plastic bag, dumped down a garbage chute, and left for dead seconds before the trash-compacter would have killed him.
Patrick, who was given his name because he was found the day before St. Paddy's day, weighed just 19 pounds when he was brought to the hospital. Rescuers didn't think he would make it through the to the next day, but thanks to the impromptu creation of a Facebook page, Patrick became an instant internet celebrity, with donations pouring in from all over the world.
Patrick was soon receiving the best care possible at the Associated Humane Societies in New Jersey, and later the Garden State Veterinary Specialists where he was slowly nursed back to health. The Daily Mail reports it took weeks of intensive care, blood infusions and physical therapy to just get him on his feet.
"This is not a month of starvation," explained Dr Thomas Scavelli, the director and founder of the Garden State Veterinary Specialists who helped treat Patrick. "This is a lifetime probably, or at least months and months of neglect, and to see the way he cares for people and trusts people, that's really been the most interesting and rewarding thing to see about the canine spirit."
The person who did this to Patrick was eventually tracked down. The Daily Mail reports Kisha Curtis of Newark was charged with two fourth-degree offenses for "tormenting and torturing" an animal.
She was accused of tying to the dog to the chute and leaving him there for a week, but prosecutors couldn't prove she pushed Patrick down it. In the end, Curtis plead guilty to those charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
"There are very few animals, or any life form, that could have gone through and survived what he has, and really never looked back," said Dr Scavelli.
A couple years after Patrick's recovery there was an ongoing custody battle for the amazing dog. The Scavelli family wanted to keep him, as did the Associated Humane Societies who first took him into care. Eventually, the court ruled the Scavelli family could keep Patrick as their pet, and that is where he has been living ever since.
"He really gives love. He climbs into your lap, he would prefer to sit in your lap than lay on the floor. He also sleeps in our bed at night, along with the cat," explained wife, Patricia Smillie-Scavelli.
Patrick's story is one of perseverance and highlights the sanctity of life and the will to live. Don't forget to share this story with your friends and spread Patrick's incredible journey!