After a lifetime of inspiring others with disabilities, Faith – the miracle dog who taught herself to walk upright on two legs and who Oprah called one of her favorite guests – passed away peacefully this week with her “mom”, Jude Stringfellow, and a platter cheese at her side.
Faith gained celebrity status for her work with U.S. soldiers, and she and Jude often traveled to airports, USOs and other places where they would find injured or returning soldiers. Her positive attitude, even in the face of her disability, made a huge impression on the troops and earned her the title of honorary E5 Sergeant, out of Fort Lewis. Four thousands troops attended the ceremony.
Faith, who graced our Animal Wellness cover in 2007, made an impression on everyone she met.
“I couldn’t believe how genuinely happy she was,” says Tim Hockley, publisher of Animal Wellness Magazine. “When I met her, I gave her a hug and I could just feel her amazing inner strength.”
How a two-legged dog overcame the odds
Born deformed at a flea market, Faith was rescued just in the nick of time by Jude’s son, Reuben. The puppy’s mother was attempting to smother it by lying on top of it. Reuben grabbed the three-week-old Chow-Lab cross and took it home. While veterinarians suggested the pup be euthanized due to her deformities, Jude’s family rallied together to save her. As she thrived, they encouraged her to sit up so she wouldn’t damage her chest and neck. That lead to a miracle — Faith walking upright on two legs, and it wasn’t long before her walk/jog/hop became a symbol around the world for overcoming disabilities.
In addition to supporting the soldiers, Faith participated in a kids’ reading program (she was a great listener!) and toured with Ozzy Osbourne, doing what the two-legged dog did best – bringing people of different interests and backgrounds together.
Retired but still inspiring the troops
Jude says Faith retired from public life about three years ago but still appeared privately at local airports to welcome the troops home. While she ate a natural food and took joint supplements her whole life, her deformity did create pain in her senior years, which was managed with medication.
Jude made the difficult decision to end Faith’s pain on Monday, when it just seemed too much for her. Faith’s veterinarian explained to Jude that Faith’s increased pain may have been due in part to cancerous tumors found between her shoulder blades, as well as her advanced age and disability. Faith was almost twelve years old. Not bad for a puppy who wasn’t supposed to make it past three weeks old!
Jude is keeping Faith’s message of hope alive through her book, Faith Walks: A Memoir of a Beautiful Life, available on her website faiththedog.info.
Our thoughts go out to Jude and her family today. If you would like to express your condolences, please visit and sign Faith’s guestbook at faiththedog.info/guestbook.