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Local pit bull featured in national pet food commercial

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. -- A local dog adopted from Stevens-Swan Humane Society is now the star of her own national television commercial.

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 11:21 PM

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. -- A local dog adopted from Stevens-Swan Humane Society is now the star of her own national television commercial.

Princess the pit bull's advertisement for 'Freshpet' dog food will air during WKTV programs during the next few days, and is already on the company's YouTube channel.

However, the 50-second spot is only a peek through the keyhole into this dog's extraordinary life.

Princess was dropped off at Stevens-Swan Humane Society in 2014. The former owners claimed other dogs in their household fought with Princess. Her back leg was so badly injured, the staff was faced with two options: amputation or euthanasia.

"The leg wasn't just broken, it was crushed," Joe Nuccio, a dog trainer at SSHS said. "The alternative would have probably been to put her down."

But Nuccio recognized her calm demeanor and easygoing personality with humans, and pushed for surgery.

"Even being hurt, she responded to everyone," Nuccio said.

After months of little interest from the public, Princess finally found her happily ever after.

"For me, it was how calm she was and how quiet," Kandi Humpf, Princess's owner said. "While the other dogs were barking and jumping at the kennel, she was sort of sitting there watching. When we went back to look at her was the first time we realized she was missing a leg."

"It wasn't about 'I want to save this dog,'" Nuccio said. "Kandi actually liked the dog."

Once she brought Princess home, Humpf worked for six months just to acclimate the dog to her new home.

"It's definitely not for somebody who expects things to change overnight," Humpf said.

Aside from the amputation, Princess also tested positive for Lyme disease and has skin and digestive issues. Humpf fed Princess multiple dog foods, but said no formula interested her.

"She didn't really care about food that much. It wasn't used as an incentive, it wasn't a high-value treat," Humpf said. "When I tried her with the Freshpet, she immediately just started we call it the 'wiggle butt.'"

Satisfied with the quality of the food, Humpf wrote a review of the product on Freshpet's website.

After reading their story, Freshpet's Vice President of Marketing contacted Humpf, asking her and Princess to star in their next commercial.

"Kandi and Princess, the relationship they have is magic," John Speranza, Freshpet Vice President of Marketing said. 

"I was shocked," Humpf said. "I didn't think companies actually read those 'Contact Us' submissions."

After two days of filming in their New Hartford home, Kandi continues to make progress with Princess, who has become more comfortable and confident.

"Pit bulls get such a bad rap sometimes, and I really wanted to make sure that people saw that there was another whole side to dogs that had been fighting."

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