It takes a little faith
Joan Fleitas

Hello there. My name is Faith. I know you'll be able to tell from my picture that I'm a dog, which means, of course, that I love to lick people faces, and eat dog biscuits, and rip the stuffing out of toys, and even (I know it's pretty gross), sniff doggy butts.  Can you also tell that I am a very unusual dog?  Instead of having four legs like the dogs you know, I was born with only two that worked right.  When I was a puppy, all I could do was lie on the ground.  Because I certainly did NOT want other dogs...and feel sorry for me, I was happy that some great people adopted me. They had faith in me,  and instead of worrying about the two legs I *didn't* have, they taught me how to stand up on the two legs I *did* have."  At first it was hard to do, but whenever I stood up and hopped, I was rewarded with a spoonful of peanut butter (did I ever lick that spoon clean... quickly, and thoroughly!). Even better, I was able to get from here to there without rolling around on the floor. It was simply amazing. In fact, pretty soon I was able to actually walk around like you and your friends do.

One day, my family's other dog, Ean, bit me on my heel and took away my toy. Now I don't know about you, but I don't like to be treated like that. Even though I had never run before, that's just what I did; I RAN after him, and s
ince I was so much taller than Ean, who is just a little Corgi dog, I caught him and got my toy back!  We're still great friends, but he's never, ever bitten me again. Quite frankly, I didn't know I had it in me to do all of this. And that's why I'm telling you my story....because you may not know just what you have in you, too!

If you have been born with a body that doesn't have all the pieces that most bodies have, or a body that has the pieces but they don't seem to know quite what to do, I thought you might be interested in my story . If you have been born with a body that works just fine, I thought you'd be interested, too. It's all about faith and love.

If I hadn't been blessed with people who loved me, and supported me, and, most important, had faith that I would find a way to be OK, then I wouldn't be able to write this story for you. Lucky for me, I have such a family. I believe that every puppy, and every baby too, is born with special gifts. Sometimes they are hard to find, but they are definitely there. Just think about it, I learned that if I tried very hard, I could stand up, and I'm the only dog I know who can do that!

So it's important for you to figure out what gifts you've been given. If you have medical differences that make it hard for you to stay healthy, or to do the sorts of things other people can do without even thinking about them, figure out what you CAN do. Maybe your gift is making people smile, or multiplying numbers in your head, or being able to draw beautiful sunsets. Have a little faith and you will learn what an important kid you are, no matter what!

And even if you don't look different or behave any differently than your classmates, there are things that are unique, about you, too. Things that make YOU special. Like being a good friend, and making sure everyone in your class is treated with respect, and knowing that the gifts you have been given are meant to be shared, so that we all, each of us, can do our best to make the world a softer place.

Thanks for reading my story. Would you like to see a little movie  of me walking?
Or read a book about my life and the lives of the family that adopted me?

Or learn more about kids' health problems?

Enjoy your web visits to these resources. Love and a very odd hug, Faith

(Picture of Faith courtesy of her owner, Jude Stringfellow)

To the frog ponds
To send me a note
To the site map

Joan Fleitas,  Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing
Lehman College, CUNY

Bronx, New York 10468

Published: April 6, 2006
Last updated: April 20, 2006