Today I got an email from my friend and boss about a dog named Faith who has two legs. Evidently the dog was an "internet sensation" a few years back and the Email was intended to be inspirational - if this dog can make it then so can you!
The wording of parts of the email were suspect as was the name of the dog and from the get go I felt that nasty twinge of religion impeding on my otherwise happy day. The Email itself wasn't overtly religious, but indicative enough that I felt compelled to check out Faith's inevitable official website. Sure enough, three paragraphs in:
People ask me if it was easy to teach Faith to walk upright...the answer is NO! It was not easy, and it was not natural. It was SUPER natural, and therefore, we have to give all of the credit to Jesus. Of course, it took a little....Faith as well.So sugary you might just get a cavity. So let's look back on the email for a second so I can explain why this dog sent to spread faith and hope to people in the name of Jesus is so confusing to me.
In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfing board to let her feel the movements. Later she used peanut butter on a spoon as a lure and reward for her to stand up and jump around. Even the other dog at home also helped to encourage her to walk. Amazingly, only after 6 months, like a miracle, Faith learned to balance on her 2 hind legs and jumped to move forward. After further training in the snow, she now can walk like a human being.This is called 'training.' This is what you do when you train a dog. You use incentives and positive reinforcement. It's not a miracle for a dog to learn how to do things, especially if they have a dedicated teacher guiding them. People don't exclaim that it's a miracle when a dog learns to run a complicated obstacle course or is trained to help people who are disabled or is trained to sniff out certain chemicals and these are not even biological imperatives. It was in the dog's best interest biologically to mobilize itself somehow AND she had a trainer. I would say she had more than enough incentive and support to teach herself to use her legs in an atypical way.
Her present owner Jude Stringfellew has given up her teaching post and plans to take her around the world to preach that even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect soul'.This may be nit-picking on my part, but isn't it a big cruel for a christian to talk about a dog being an example for anything to do with perfect souls when christians maintain that animals don't even have souls? No, it's not nit picking. Christians have no problem insisting that animals are below humans because of some contrived notion that humans are god's chosen creation, yet when it suits their purpose they'll celebrate specific animals as special because they can imagine divine inspiration from them. This dog is inspirational in that she would have otherwise died had it not been for sound veterinary science and specifically focused training when she was still in the most pivotal developmental stages of life.
Contrary to what this woman might want people to believe, Faith is not a miracle dog. She's a cool dog, I'm not bad mouthing the creature, but she's certainly not any indication of the supernatural - other dogs with similar conditions have accomplished the exact same feat. Faith is a perfect example of something that should be celebrated being ignored in favor of religious fanaticism. Ms. Stringfellew can call Faith a miracle all she wants and will no doubt capitalize on her dog's success financially and personally, but the fact is - the dog did what dogs do best, which is adapt and compensate. Way to be a dog, Faith.