Page 3 of 3   <      

In Faith's Pawprints, an Abiding Hope

Faith, a Chow mix, has only two legs. Her ability to walk around like a human has made her a celebrity of sorts. Her owner and agent both say she enjoys being on tour. Video by Michael Laris/The Washington Post Editor: Francine Uenuma/

"That dog went through some pretty adverse situations," Nixon said. "We can do the same thing."

All the walking, and excitement, gets tiring. Faith often folds herself down for quick breaks, and Maguire and Stringfellow alternate carrying her around their necks some of the way between appearances. After a full day out, Faith moves more gingerly on her back paws.

Gregory S. Hammer, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said dogs generally carry about 60 percent of their weight on their front legs. Any extra load can increase the wear and tear on hip or knee joints, he said.

"But I'm sure this dog has compensated very, very well," Hammer said. "The dog doesn't know that it only has two legs. . . . To this dog, it's normal behavior."

Obesity is a bigger health concern, he said.

Some of Faith's new fans, such as Yuliya Aranovska, 18, manager of a teen clothing shop, still wonder about this adventure.

"If it's for encouragement purposes, that's fine. If it's more about entertainment, I don't agree with it," Aranovska said. "You start thinking, What does the dog think about it? I'm not sure. But I know that he's happy to be alive."

<          3

© 2008 The Washington Post Company