Miracle dog brings message of hope

Published: December 14, 2006 | 5195th good news item since 2003

Willpower, perseverance and peanut butter — that’s what it takes to walk upright.

Such is the case, anyway, for Faith, a 4-year-old chow-mix born with severe deformations to her front legs.

Faith and her owner, Jude Stringfellow, on Wednesday added Panama City to the extensive list of places the pair have traveled, sharing their message of hope to help others overcome challenges.

Stringfellow said her dog, who has been featured on Oprah, David Letterman, Montel Williams and other television shows, demonstrates that through perseverance and persistence, everyone can achieve miracles.

The dog, she said, was born just before Christmas 2002 to a mother that was 12 years old — 84 in dog years. Faith had three legs, but her left front leg was badly deformed and backward. The paw was upside down had more toes than normal. The leg eventually was removed.

“The vet told us we were probably going to have to put her down” because the only way Faith could move was to drag herself along the floor, a habit that the veterinarian said would rub a hole in her chest and chin, Stringfellow said.

But instead of giving up, the family began to train Faith to walk on her two hind legs just like a human. They used spoonfuls of peanut butter as treats.

The dog’s accomplishment helped her family heal, too, Stringfellow said, as the pup’s arrival came at the end of a nasty divorce and trying time.

“I began to understand that in dealing with her situation, we began to become a family again,” she said.

After she learned to walk, Faith rose to fame when a local television station in Stringfellow’s hometown of Putnam City, Okla., did a story that was passed on to The Associated Press.

“They told the world about her,” Stringfellow said. Since then, Faith has become the world’s most photographed dog and the only known canine to walk entirely on two legs.

“Oohs” and “ahhs” reverberated through Bay High School’s gymnasium Wednesday as Stringfellow told her story to a group of students who were the top fundraisers in a drive to benefit the Humane Society of Bay County.

Bay High was one of several stops on the list.

Faith demonstrates the importance of having animals spayed and neutered, Stringfellow told the students, because despite the blessing that she is, her mother was too sick and old to have puppies and never should have gotten pregnant.

Still, her deformities have not stopped Faith, Stringfellow said, and she manages just fine.

“She’s just the happiest little dog I’ve ever seen,” Stringfellow said.

Published in Animals
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