« March 28, 2008 | Main | March 30, 2008 »

March 29, 2008

You gotta have Faith — World's only walking 2-legged dog

The back story, by Michael Laris in today's Washington Post, follows.

    In Faith's Pawprints, an Abiding Hope

    A Walking 2-Legged Dog Inspires Awe on Va. Visit

    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.

    "I want people to understand that you can be imperfect physically and still be perfect through your soul, through your spirit," she said.

    While here, Faith visited shopping centers in Manassas and Fairfax, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial and the Ellipse.

    Seeing a wiry dog with a furiously wagging tail and a nose-height of 40 inches confidently strolling through a mall or bouncing through a parking lot can generate some unexpectedly personal and jarring encounters for those new to the Faith scene.

    Milling past the socks in a Kids Foot Locker store, she could have been a short shopper. She leans far forward, like the curling lip of a wave, but manages to stay poised, her snout poking around curiously.

    Even without her handlers' positioning of Faith as essentially a 27-pound self-help book — "If a dog can do it, so can a person," Maguire says — the experience offers a rare license to gawk, touch and find inspiration in a soft take on missing limbs and human hardships.

    Plus, a dog that gets around like a human is totally cool. "I had to look two times," said Kim Debellaistre, a mother of two sitting outside a Roman Delight food-court pizza shop. "That dog is walking."

    Behind an office park in Reston, Kristine Rzewnicki looked on as Faith hunted for squirrels during some down time.

    "My dad has an artificial leg. I have a special place in my heart for her message," said Rzewnicki, who works for an education group. The family had felt lucky that her father, a longtime Fairfax County police officer, was never hurt on the job, she said. Then the tractor accident. Faith pays visits to hospitals along with the pet shows, including one to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "Her notoriety and the timing just couldn't be better to make people feel whole," Rzewnicki said.

    Many were unflinching in the parallels they saw.

    "What happened to her?" asked Larry Nixon, a homeless electrician at the Manassas shelter Serve Inc.

    Faith walked beside Nixon's son Larry Jr., 11, who is deciding between being a veterinarian and a video game tester, and nosed the food-bank cat Moochie, whose central skill is catching mice.

    They ended up at the shelter about a month ago after the owner of the farm in The Plains where they were living died and the property was sold, "which left us kind of flummoxed," Nixon said. The building industry could rebound some this spring, he hopes.

    "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."


Faith's website is faiththedog.net.

March 29, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

March 29, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: How good (or bad) is your hospital? Finally, the truth starts to come out


Hospitals have opposed release of comparison information for decades, as fiercely as auto makers fought seat belts before they became mandatory after unequivocally proving their value in saving lives.

If fewer people go to crummy hospitals — and there are plenty of them around, trust me — and instead choose those that are best-in-class, that'll be that many more lives saved.

Yesterday the U.S. government for the first time released detailed information allowing you to compare hospitals.

Here you go.

March 29, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World Golf Balls


Say what?

From the website:

    World Golf Balls

    Give them the world.

    Pro-Grade golf balls known for their consistency, control, durability, and distance.

    The images are printed with high-gloss ink that won't chip or fade.

    Set of 3 features a mapped globe, international flags and planet Earth.


March 29, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: eHuman — Online Dissection


Kathleen Hom wrote about this new website in a March 18, 2008 Washington Post Health section story, which follows.

    Beneath the Surface

    This cross section of a human head, photographed more than half a century ago and later donated to the Stanford University School of Medicine, is now a digital research and teaching tool. It's one of 1,554 images made by William Gruber, inventor of the View-Master, a device that became popular in the 1950s and 1960s for viewing 3-D images.

    Over 17 years, Gruber took photos of dissections made by renowned Stanford anatomist David Bassett, who labeled the images down to the smallest nerves and veins. Until last month, the photos were viewable only in textbooks or on View-Master slides at the school. Now they're accessible for a fee to any computer user.

    "There's nothing else like the Bassett" collection, says Paul Brown, Stanford consulting associate professor of anatomy and founder of eHuman, a California company that builds libraries of anatomical images. "The number of man-hours spent cataloguing each photograph... it would cost millions and millions of dollars today."

    A sampling of digitized images from the collection is viewable at eHuman.com. Users can roll their mouse over a body part to learn its scientific name and how to pronounce it. More information may be incorporated later, "depending on how the medical community uses [the tool]," says eHuman chief executive Bob Austrian. Access costs $8 per month or $49.99 a year.

March 29, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blast from the past: Booklight search is back on


For years I railed about the failure of a long series of portable booklights to enable me to read in bed at night with adequate illumination without going through a huge song-and-dance every time I turned a page.

You think I'm making that up?

Have a look here.

Anyway, now comes a new contender and I do believe that I'm going to have to spring for one, if only for the reason that it features a Nichia LED bulb.

I know for a fact that Nichia is state-of-the-art when it comes to lasers so I figure they probably can put out a decent light bulb.

From websites:

    Two Page Illuminating Book Light

    This is the first book light to utilize an energy-efficient 1/2-watt Nichia LED bulb to bathe two open pages in cool, bright light without disturbing your bedmate or the person in the next airplane seat.

    The light employs new switchable circuit technology to ensure that the lamp remains consistently bright over the full life of the batteries.

    The lightweight ABS base clips unobtrusively to hardcover books, paperbacks or magazines, or it can be placed on a tabletop for use as a task light.

    The stainless steel lamp stalk swivels 360º and can be removed and snapped to the side of the base for easy storage and transport.

    Two AA batteries (not included) provide 15 hours of power, more than enough time to read several novels.

    Includes storage pouch.

    4"H x 8"W x 1-1/2"D.




March 29, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



Remember, though, that I said Kerry was a sure thing last time around.

You could look it up.

March 29, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Screwz-All 4-in-1


From websites:

    Screwz-All 4-in-1

    Our 4-in-1 screwdriver kit is a sleek stainless steel marvel.

    It’s about the size of a key so it slips unassumingly into your pocket.

    Flips open to reveal two standard and two micro-sized Phillips and flat screwdrivers (#1 and #2 flat head, and #1 and #2 Phillips), plus a 1/8” marking rule.

    Handy at home and great for little jobs on the go.

    At 1 oz. it weighs less than a chunk of change.

    Locks securely onto a keychain.

    Tighten eyeglasses.

    Fix loose sockets.

    Switch batteries.

    Change plugs.







Polished stainless steel (shown): $4.95.

Black: $5.49.

March 29, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

« March 28, 2008 | Main | March 30, 2008 »