A two-legged dog who has learned to walk upright has been made an honorary sergeant in the U.S. army for inspiring disabled war veterans. Faith, an eight-year old labrador-chow cross is a favourite at army bases and hospitals, where she ‘marches’ around on her hind legs, dressed in a military jacket. Her owner Jude Stringfellow, from Oklahoma City, is now trying to bring the remarkable canine to Britain to meet troops wounded in Afghanistan.
‘Faith seems to inspire these young men. It’s very emotional watching them respond to her,’ Ms Stringfellow said. ‘She shows what can be achieved against the odd. I’d love her to bring a smile to the lips of British soldiers.’ The dog was born with one front leg missing and the other, which was severely deformed, had to be amputated. Her mother rejected it but Ms Stringfellow’s son Reuben, 18, found the tiny animal and brought it up. He and his mother had to carry the puppy for the first few months of her life, but eventually helped her learn to walk by using peanut butter on a spoon as a lure.
The little dog now moves quickly, and with confidence, and has even become a minor celebrity, appearing regularly on U.S. talk shows. Ms Stringfellow, who runs a website devoted to her dog, said she receives hundreds of emails and letters each day. Her decision to take Faith to veterans’ hospitals was inspired by her son’s service in Iraq. ‘She just walks around barking and laughing and excited to see them all,’ she said.
‘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.’