Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Having Faith

So many people have seen Faith, the two-legged dog on various television programs, walking on her hind legs. It’s not unusual to wonder about her, about her life and the family that adopted her.

Faith was born in 2002, just before Christmas. She wasn’t the only deformed puppy in the litter but she was the only one of those deformed puppies to survive and is the one one of the litter who was adopted by Jude Stringfellow and her family in Oklahoma. Faith’s mother, Princess, is thought to be mostly Chow Chow. About three weeks after her birth Faith was rescued by Jude’s son, Reuben, who jumped over the fence into the flea market that Princess was raised to guard. Reuben was accompanied by his friend, Johnny, who owned Princess. Princess was trying to kill the deformed puppy but Reuben managed to snatch her out from under Princess and, tucking her into his football jersey, he brought the tiny pup home.

“We accepted her immediately because we don't believe in treating any animal or person differently just because of a handicap or disability,” says Jude. “I would call what Faith has done for us a concerted effort between herself and Jesus to change my hard ways of looking at life. I was in a bad place at the time we got Faith both financially and emotionally. She taught me, and my family that being complete doesn't mean looking complete, or having money. We all have a unique and genuine purpose that only we can fill. She may not have realized it, but she was the perfect fit to our dysfunctional family - - she was the thumb that crossed over our fingers to make us one fist of a family. Before she came along we were all connected, but in many ways we were not working together. She changed that,” she explains.

When Reuben brought Faith to us she had three legs, but the left front leg was badly deformed, placed backward, upside down, and it had more toes on it than is normal. The leg was removed when she was seven months old when it began to atrophy. People ask Jude if it was easy to teach Faith to walk upright. The answer is that it was neither easy nor natural. According to Jude it was “Super natural.” She states clearly that she gives the credit to a high power and to Faith in every sense of the word.

Faith was given an Honorary Commission as an E5 SGT in the U.S. Army in June 2006. She was commissioned out of Ft. Lewis near Seattle, WA. There were many many soldiers and civilians in attendance who cheered her on as she accepted her Commission. She even has her own custom-made ACU jacket with the American Flag and Department of Defense patch. No, she can’t be deployed and she has no official benefits. Faith makes therapy dog visits giving hope, love, and yes, faith.

Not surprisingly, Jude Stringfelllow wrote a book about her family’s wonderful dog, “With a Little Faith.” And there will be a movie of her life. It’s currently in pre-production.

“Not one thing is different about Faith really,” says Jude. “She makes just as many messes, and farts just as many times as the other dogs do! She was more difficult to train only because what we had to train her to do. She was actually quite easy to potty-train - it was the upright thing that set her apart from the other dogs in my life. She has been very well behaved and has had the best disposition of any dog I've known personally. She rarely gets upset and if she does it is rightfully so. She is a bit shy of men only because she cannot fight. She barks or walks away so that there isn't a problem. She has always been drawn to children who are around her height or bigger - she smells all the babies too, just to see if they'll play with her or not.”

There are lessons to be learned. Faith didn’t just change a family. She’s touched the hearts and lives of many people. There’s obviously a reason why she was saved. We could all use a little Faith in our lives.

3 comments:

jude said...

You are wonderful. Thank you.

jude said...
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Tracy said...
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