Patrick, the pit bull that was rescued after it was starved and discarded down a trash chute, is making progress and could be ready for adoption by July, his caregivers told NBC New York on Thursday.
Associated Humane Societies, the group handling the adoption of the animal that won the hearts of dog lovers everywhere, has received thousands of requests from people wanting to give him a home.
Bruce Sanchez, the organization's general manager, said it hopes to find Patrick a home by early July.
The pup will spend the next few months recovering from the devastating abuse he suffered. His caregivers say he has made great strides, and is now able to run and play with toys -- many of which have been donated from well-wishers.
He is "absolutely wonderful," said Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, administrator at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton, N.J.
On Tuesday, he had surgery to remove a solid, three-inch-long hairball from his stomach.
"It looked more like a big, flat rock," said Smillie-Scavelli. "It was very heavy."
The dog was also neutered and given a dental examination.
Associated Humane Societies said that Patrick's medical milestones are the promising first steps toward adoption.
But animals recovering from abuse and neglect often need to work on social behavior, such as growling and snapping, before moving on to a new home.
"This was just the first half of the battle," Sanchez told NBC New York. "Once they start to feel well, they start to have issues."
Patrick, named for being discovered the day before St. Patrick's day, was originally found by a Newark housing complex maintenance worker, who alerted the Associated Humane Societies.
The dog was allegedly tied to an apartment balcony and starved for more than a week by its owner, Kisha Curtis. The dog was then tossed in a garbage bag and shoved down the garbage chute of the 22-story building.
When the employee found the dog, Sanchez said the dried saliva in his mouth caused his mouth to fuse shut, and it had to be pried apart. He was "almost skeletal and clinging to life," Sanchez said in March.
The organization immediately put the dog on intravenous fluid and covered him with heating pads before transferring him to Garden State Veterinary Specialists.
Curtis, 27, pleaded not guilty to four counts of animal abuse on on March 31. Her mother said someone gave her the dog and she couldn't care for it.
The response from the public has been even greater than the Garden State Veterinary Specialists expected. Donations came in so rapidly via a PayPal account set up on the veterinarians' website that they had to shut down the account.
The center would not say how much was raised.
"The money received would far exceed what he would need," Smillie-Scavelli says. "The response has been overwhelming."