NEWARK, N.J. - Unnamed and unwanted, the young beagle mix was left anonymously in a drop box outside an Alabama pound. His life was supposed to end Oct. 3 in a gas chamber.

Instead, the stray emerged frightened but unscathed, wagging his tail. Now, he's being hailed as a miracle dog, given the name Daniel after the biblical figure who survived the lion's den.

And he has a fresh start in New Jersey, where a rescue group hopes to find him a good home.

Only three animals have survived the gas chamber at the Animal Control facility in Florence, Ala., in the last 12 years. "Maybe God just had a better plan for this one," said city spokesman Phil Stevenson.

Daniel's tail never stopped wagging as he stepped off a plane at a New Jersey airport, where he was flown Wednesday by the nonprofit Eleventh Hour Rescue group and placed with volunteer Jill Pavlik until he can be adopted. "He's absolutely fabulous," Pavlik, a hairdresser who works and lives in North Jersey, said Friday.

Linda Schiller, Eleventh Hour's founder and president, said about 100 people from around the country had applied to adopt Daniel.