Patrick the dog had no idea what he’d done wrong. He’d been left out in the cold by his owner for over a week. Then, just when he must have thought his ordeal was over, someone threw him down a garbage chute and into the claws of an awaiting compactor. But mercifully, just as the crusher approached, someone decided to check the trash.
At just one year old, Patrick the pit bull had seemingly known little but pain and misery. He lived in an apartment in Newark, New Jersey, with a callous owner who neglected and abandoned him. But shockingly, his predicament would get even worse.
The dog’s owner, Kisha Curtis, had been starving Patrick for most of his short life. Indeed, by this point, Patrick was simply an emaciated bag of flesh and bones.
Then, in March 2011, Curtis decided to leave the state for a week. But rather than sort out proper care for her pet, she simply tied him up outside her apartment block and left him. However, his suffering didn’t end there.
At some point, an unknown person wrapped the dog in plastic and threw him down a garbage chute. It’s believed that the poor pit bull fell 22 floors before hitting the ground. But despite the fact that he’d somehow survived the drop, Patrick wasn’t out of the woods yet.
Indeed, the animal was just seconds away from being crushed to death by a trash compactor. Fortunately, though, the building’s janitor was sorting the garbage that day. And just as Patrick was about to meet a sticky end in the machine, the janitor noticed some movement in the plastic.
When he unwrapped the plastic, he was presented with a truly horrifying spectacle: Patrick in his skeletal state. Patrick was shivering with cold and was surely at death’s door. However, the janitor did the right thing.
He contacted the City of Newark Animal Control, which in turn called New Jersey’s Associated Humane Societies. The organization rescued the dog the day before St. Patrick’s Day – hence his name – and he would certainly need some of that famous Irish luck.
A rescue team rushed Patrick to a nearby veterinary clinic where he was placed on an IV drip. Vets also discovered that Patrick only weighed an astonishing 19 pounds. Plus, his temperature had plummeted to the point where it could no longer be picked up by a medical thermometer.
So staff at the clinic covered the dog in blankets and applied heated pads. Technician Gina DeSalvo then held Patrick in her arms. Not only did her touch provide him with a little warmth, but it surely also reassured him that he was now in a safe place.
“This is not a month of starvation,” Dr. Thomas Scavelli, owner of the Garden State Veterinary Specialists, told the Daily Mail in 2012. “This is a lifetime probably, or at least months and months of neglect. 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.”
Before Patrick would be able to eat again, though, surgeons had to remove a large hair ball from his stomach. After that, Patrick would rely on a specialist diet and medicine to aid his recovery. Vets also administered three blood transfusions and put the dog on a course of physical therapy.
As the weeks passed, Patrick gradually began to recover. He started to put on weight, for instance, and he was able to consume solid food. And pretty soon, the dog’s vibrant personality began to shine through for all to see.
Two of his favorite things to do were taking long walks in the sun and playing with his toys indoors. And now that he was getting the care and attention he’d been denied for so long, Patrick seemed to be making up for lost time.
While Patrick was finally in safe hands, his former owner, Curtis, was charged with animal neglect and abandonment. She later pleaded guilty to fourth-degree animal cruelty and was given a sentence of a year and a half of parole. Curtis admitted to leaving Patrick tied up outside but denied throwing him down the garbage chute.
Throughout Patrick’s treatment, staff from Garden State Veterinary Specialists took to social media in order to keep well-wishers updated with his progress. And it seemed that the dog’s extraordinary story captured many people’s hearts. As a result, the clinic was inundated with letters, donations and toys.
“In the 17 years we’ve been here we’ve never seen this type of response to an animal,” Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, wife of Dr. Scavelli and clinic administrator, told the Daily Mail. “There’s something about Patrick that has really sparked interest, honestly, from throughout the entire world.”
Meanwhile, Patrick also had a profound affect on Smillie-Scavelli herself. So much so, in fact, that she decided to adopt the dog once he was better. Today, the dog is completely unrecognizable. Not only is he a healthy weight, but he’s also always sporting a winning smile.
Despite everything he’d been through, it seems Patrick only has space for kindness in his heart. “He really gives love,” Patricia Smillie-Scavelli told the Irish Central news website. She added, “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.”
So while Patrick had suffered hugely at the hands of humans, he is still, somehow, able to trust them. At least now he’s experiencing the kindness of people for the first time. While someone threw him away just like a piece of trash, he turned out to be a real treasure.