The pit bull that was starved and stuffed into a trash bag, then shoved down a garbage chute in a Newark, N.J. apartment building, is a remarkably different dog nine months after his traumatic ordeal.
"He's doing great," said Patricia Scavelli, who, along with her husband, has been taking care of Patrick since he was brought to the Garden State Veterinary Hospital in Tinton, N.J. where they work.
NBC New York was allowed a rare view of Patrick by the Scavellis and the Essex County prosecutor, as his former owner, Keisha Curtis, awaits trial on an animal cruelty charge.
Patrick now weighs a solid 55 pounds, up from the 15 pounds he registered just after he was discovered last March 16, said Scavelli.
That was when the superintendent of the building noticed a slight movement in a plastic bag -- and when he opened it up, there was the emaciated dog, barely alive.
Because he was found the day before St. Patrick's Day, he was named Patrick the Miracle Dog when he was turned over to the Associated Humane Societies of Newark.
After being brought to the hospital for treatment, he first lost two more pounds, according to Scavelli. But she says he then started gaining weight and started acting like a normal, loving dog.
"He really gives love," she said, adding, "He climbs into your lap, he would prefer to sit in your lap than lay on the floor."
Patrick also sleeps in their bed at night, along with their cat.
Other than a minor scar around his right eye, there is no sign of the skin-and-bones pit bull that was rescued last winter, at least physically.
He is fearful of strangers, according to Scavelli, but when fed a few dog treats, he quickly warmed up and started playing with this reporter.
"He's pretty intelligent too -- he's learned a lot of tricks on his own, he can figure things out on his own," Scavelli said.
The Scavellis will remain foster guardians for Patrick until his owner Curtis goes to trial on the animal cruelty charge.
No date has been set yet, according to district attorney spokeswoman Katherine Carter. Curtis has said in the past that while she tied him to a stairway railing, she had nothing to do with throwing him away.
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