In Faith's Pawprints, an Abiding Hope
A Walking 2-Legged Dog Inspires Awe on Va. Visit
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Faith was curled up on the carpet beside her agent, Mike Maguire, who kept reaching down to hand her pieces of his chicken sandwich, when their waitress gave him an easy one.
"What kind of dog is that?" asked Alicia Weedon, 16.
With a flair honed in scores of such encounters, Maguire, a sports agent from Fairfax County, said simply, "A two-legged dog."
The chow mix jumped up, her haunches tight and six-pack abs working, and began to walk.
She's been on Oprah and Montel. She's been on Japanese and Korean TV and is scheduled to fly to Istanbul next month. She was supposed to appear at this weekend's Super Pet Expo in Chantilly, but her shows were canceled in a dispute over insurance and a missed promotional gig.
At the Bob Evans in Manassas this week, after an early morning flight from Oklahoma City, the Faith phenomenon played out in a more intimate arena.
"Oh my God!" said Weedon, wide-eyed and momentarily terrified, her attention finally off the blueberry pancake special. "That is so awesome!" added Marika Robinson, another teenage server.
Then, amid the gasps, Robinson said: "My mom died last year. That would have put a smile on her face. She loved animals. She loved animals. . . ." Rushing away, she tried to hide behind a counter and began to cry.
Faith has that kind of effect on people.
The 5-year-old was born with a shriveled left leg that flopped behind her and had to be removed and a legless, partial right paw with two nails she still hates getting clipped. There is an industry of rolling aids for disabled pets. But peanut butter on the end of spoon and tossed gummy bears got Faith up off her chest.
Faith's owner, Jude Stringfellow, 46, said she gave up her job as a teacher in Oklahoma to take Faith on the road. Her son found Faith as a puppy, and the dog has grown into a calling and a job, Stringfellow said.
She's considered starting a charity, but the idea has stalled, she said. Stringfellow's Web site has for years requested donations, and the description of where they go has changed regularly. She said that she does not keep records but that the money has been minimal and that she has passed it on to other charities. Her focus, she said, is spreading Faith's message.