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Pilots N Paws

Pooch survives abuse, inspires others

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by Stephanie Eaton Harvie
Staff Writer
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Pooch survives abuse, inspires others

Local pooch Liesel, a 2 ½-year-old German shepherd mixture, seems to have the power to capture the hearts of all who meet her. Shortly after birth Liesel was abused and lost one of her legs as a result of the abuse. However, having only three legs does not slow her down. Liesel has found a new and wonderful home and seems to be able to conquer anything she sets her mind to. One of Liesel’s greatest gifts is to reach out and help others who are suffering. Jane Procacci, Liesel’s owner, said the dog literally has given her reason to get out of bed every morning.

Recently, Liesel has been nominated for the Hero Dog Award for her wonderful deeds. The community can help Liesel win and help let the nation know what a true hero Liesel is by voting for this outstanding pooch.

In the early months of 2001, Procacci said she was approved to begin fostering dogs for a local German Shepherd Rescue. This is where Procacci first learned about Liesel.

“One day, I happened to be reading stories and viewing pictures on the Rescue’s Facebook page and a new post appeared with a picture of this adorable 5 month old puppy, located in Monroe, Louisiana, that had been the victim of horrific abuse. It went on to say that she was missing her right rear foot.”

Liesel’s story immediately broke Procacci’s heart.

“I followed a link in the post, which took me to a video of her. There, I found a warning that the video was graphic. As I sat there, watching this video of this adorable pup named Liesel, I began to ball my eyes out. Liesel, with the exposed bone in her leg and still bleeding, managed to hop and then pull herself over to the lady who was videotaping her and then she began licking her hand. I knew, at that moment, that I had to somehow help this puppy.”

Procacci said she knew she must take action.

“I found out that the Rescue that I had just signed up with was going to be bringing Liesel to North Carolina from West Monroe, Louisiana. I quickly let them know that I would love to foster her. That set the wheels in motion. Liesel was taken from that shelter to a veterinarian who amputated her leg the next day. The vet said that Liesel’s leg had been this way for at least 10 days and the bone was already showing signs of infection.”

Proccaci said she knew Liesel was going to be more than just a dog she would foster and the Procacci family decided to adopt her. However, they faced one problem – to get Liesel from Louisiana to North Carolina.

“We began the process of figuring out how to get Liesel to North Carolina. This is when I first found out about the Pilots N Paws program. What an amazing group they are. Once Liesel’s video was posted on the PNP message boards, and there were lots of pilots volunteering to fly her to where ever she needed to go. There ended up being two pilots who were involved in her transport and they both fell in love with little Liesel.

“The second pilot, whom we actually met at the airport in Smithfield, said that Liesel was her first transport and more recently she informed me that, because of Liesel, she has gone on to transport over 100 animals.

“I’m honored to have such an amazing dog that has impacted the lives of so many people.”

Because so many people fell in love with Liesel, the Procacci family created a Facebook page for Liesel. You can follow Liesel on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Liesels.Adventures.

“This has been a great opportunity to reach out and thank everyone who played a role in saving Liesel’s life. It literally took a village to save Liesel; the one who first saw her in the shelter, the one who got her released from the shelter and everyone who generously donated for her surgery, the ones who operated on her, the ones who nursed her during her recovery, the ones who drove her to meet the first pilot who then flew her to meet the second pilot who then flew her to us.”

Procacci said Liesel is truly a special dog.

“Liesel has a contagious positive attitude about everything. She has come so far in the two years she has been with us. Everywhere we go with her, she’s like a little magnet. Everyone wants to pet her which gives me an opportunity to share her story.

Most people are shocked when Procacci tells them that Liesel only has the one back leg. Most people cannot tell because she gets around great.

Procacci said Liesel inspires her and is the reason she gets out of bed every morning.

“Liesel inspires me every single day. I was diagnosed in 1997 with a couple of autoimmune related diseases and several degenerative spinal disorders, which are progressive. Most days, I’m in so much pain that I’d rather just stay in bed.

“But Liesel won’t have any of that!”

Procacci thinks Liesel should win the contest because she truly is a hero to the community.

“Her positive attitude and energy are really contagious and she has a way of getting people to talk. On a recent trip to a nursing home, Liesel’s visit inspired residents to open up and talk about a special dog they had when they were growing up.

“I’ve heard of so many animals being put to sleep because they were missing a limb and that breaks my heart. Liesel is living proof that they can go on to live very meaningful lives. Maybe that’s her purpose.”

For those wishing to vote for Liesel, they can do so by going to

www.herodogawards.org/contestants?nominee=96277196. The voting will continue until September 26.

If Liesel wins the contest then she and her family will be flown to Hollywood, CA for three days, two nights at which point they will have the awards ceremony for the Grand Prize winner. If Liesel were to win the Grand Prize, then $5,000 will be awarded to the Pine Street Foundation, an organization that trains dogs to detect cancer.

Read more: The Cleveland Post – Pooch survives abuse inspires others