The 4-month-old pit bull puppy that was thrown out of a car in Brentwood in August has found a permanent home, his veterinarian said.
Joey's new family was selected from more than 100 applicants and will be announced on Oct. 13 at the Islip Animal Shelter's Adopt-A-Thon, said Dr. Lynda Loudon, of the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island.
Six weeks after he was found in a plastic bag at the entrance of Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, Joey, the once-abused, malnourished puppy, is walking, playing and eating with gusto -- now without a neck brace. He's grown from 10 to 21 pounds.
"He's fully ambulatory, he's playful, he's a great spirit; he's just a really happy puppy," said Gregory Carastro, administrator at the West Islip animal hospital where Joey has been receiving care funded by thousands of dollars in donations. The private medical center plans to donate lifetime care for what could be extensive medical needs.
Joey has physical therapy four to five times per week, and is still fragile. He can walk and play, but his gait is not normal, Carastro said.
"He still has deficits in his motor skills, which he may have lifelong, but he has made huge strides, and he's continuing to really recover day by day," Carastro said.
The medical center's Facebook page pays homage to Joey with photos of his progress, from starved and broken to playful and curious. There are thousands of comments from Joey's fans, who could meet him at a Fan Appreciation Day on Oct. 7 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia said the adopt-a-thon is a great chance for other animals whose stories haven't captivated the masses to find their "forever home," too. As of Sept. 21, it had 70 dogs and 58 cats.
"There's opportunity in every tragedy to ensure that other animals find homes," she said. "That's our goal -- to adopt animals and be matchmakers."
With Ellen Yan