Faith the dog was born as a puppy without her two front legs at Christmas 2002, and subsequently was rejected by her mother. The little Labrador-Chow mixed breed was sent to be buried along with her sibling puppies from the litter.
Reuben Stringfellow, aged 17 and now an Army worker, was asked to bury the puppies. He asked his mum if little Faith could be fixed and his mother, English Professor Jude Stringfellow agreed to try to help the little puppy.
Faith had to be carried for a while to stop her from trying to crawl on her chest and chin but with a lot of patience, practice and the help of some peanut butter Faith has learned to walk on two legs.
For the past six years, Faith has appeared on numerous talk shows, been made an honorary Army sergeant and even been on tour with Ozzy Osbourne. Her owner Jude Stringfellow has written two books about Faith and given a number of motivational talks – she’s now working on the third book ‘Faith Walks’.
Faith and Jude receive over 200 correspondence each day and appear at dozens of venues each year, as well as visiting Army veterans’ hospitals all over.
For Stringfellow, visiting the veterans is important as her son left Iraq in September and is due to leave the Army to return home on 1st January.
A story that Stringfellow will never forget is one of a lady from New York who chanced upon seeing Faith on a street corner. This lady had lost both her legs to diabetes and was at her wits’ end. Stringfellow says:
“She was in her wheelchair and saw us. She was crying. She had seen Faith on television. She just held her and said she wished she had that kind of courage. She told us: ‘I was on my way to pick up the gun.’ She handed the pawn ticket to a police officer and said she didn’t need it anymore.”
Faith brings a sense of hope to the Army bases where she has met with soldiers headed to war and some on their way home.
“She just walks around barking and laughing and excited to see them all. There is a lot of crying, pointing and surprise. From those who have lost friends or limbs, there can be silence. Some will shake my hand and thank me, some will pat her on the head. There is a lot of quiet, heartfelt, really deep emotion.”
Patrick McGhee, General Manager at Fort Lewis says that Faith always makes any soldier smile but for Faith, she will be reunited with Reuben Stringfellow, her rescuer from 7 years ago at Christmas in January. Reuben has a birthday present waiting for her –
A peanut butter cookie with her name on it
At this time of year, this story will bring a smile to any face. Be glad for what you have and look forward to the New Year.
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