The family trained Faith by holding a spoonful of peanut butter above her. They motioned for her to come and rejoiced in every small victory. "When she took that first hop, we totally rewarded her with peanut butter and gummy bears and hugs and kisses," says Jude.
Watch Faith the Dog walk!
Laura says Faith is a gift from God and living with her special needs has helped the entire Stringfellow family become more compassionate. "We had to take care of her," Laura says, "[and] make sure she's okay. That's what made us less selfish."
Faith spreads the love she's received from the Stringfellows. As a therapy dog, she interacts with students learning English as a Second Language (ESL) by providing companionship and emotional support to kids trying to improve their reading.
When he was just a puppy, Larry says Oogy was living in a hell on earth. He was tied to a stake and used as bait for pit bulls in a dogfighting ring. "He basically had the side of his face ripped off, his jaw was crushed, his skull was damaged," says veterinarian Dr. Bianco. "He's lucky to be alive."
Larry and his twin boys were at the vet to drop off their cat when Oogy walked down the hall...and right into their hearts. "He looked like part of him had melted," Larry says. "But he just covered us with kisses. It's like he didn't know that anything bad had happened to him—he was just full of love. He jumped in our arms."
When Larry found out the dog didn't belong to anyone, he asked Dr. Bianco if he could adopt him. "I couldn't believe my good luck," Larry says. "That's how I felt about this dog right from the start."
Oogy was given a loving home, but he still had an agonizing road to recovery. A second major surgery was necessary to rebuild Oogy's face and put an end to his chronic pain. "I think that every day my family tries to atone for what happened to Oogy. He's been through the worst imaginable horrors, and we feel very lucky because of what he gives back to us—an immeasurable amount of devotion and love."
Larry's twin sons, Noah and Dan, have something special in common with Oogy—they were also adopted. "I'm sure when our parents adopted us, I hope it was one of the greatest days of their lives. And I know in my life, my experience when we adopted [Oogy], it was one of the greatest days of my life," Dan says.
Although Noah and Dan will be off to college soon, Larry plans to make sure Oogy still gets plenty of attention. "One of the things I want to do for Oogy is train him to work with kids and take him to kid's hospitals, because I think he'll be an inspiration to young kids who are facing a lot of adversity," Larry says.
Watch Maggie do math for Oprah!
"I hear Jack Russell terriers are smart," Oprah says, "but this is ridiculous!"
Jessie says Maggie is also able to learn names and even fetch a tissue when someone sneezes. "You can actually teach dogs things very, very quickly with positive reinforcement," she says.
Allie says she got the idea from a show she saw on Animal Planet. "Another zoo had some golden retrievers and some labs they used to help nurture and stimulate baby animals ... so that's when I got my golden retrievers," she says. "Isabella just happened to be lactating when the mama tiger abandoned her cubs, so we put them on [Isabella], and away they went."
Now, Boo Boo eats 2 tablespoons a day. "Her biggest meal is breakfast. She has a tablespoon of food," Lana says. "I fix her ground turkey with peas and carrots in it."
When Gibson is on his hind legs, he's 7'2"—that's an inch taller than NBA all-star Shaquille O'Neal.
Watch his wild ride across the country!
Gibson's life isn't only about being in the spotlight. He knows the importance of giving back, so he volunteers as a licensed therapy dog. "His job is just to go around and make people happy and smile," Sandy says.
Now, Dominic can do all normal canine activities. "He can do whatever he wants," Kay says. "He can run downstairs, jump on furniture, go in the cupboard and get his own treats."
Chris says you need to use positive reinforcement to train a dog to do new tricks. "I use all positive training techniques with my dogs," he says. "I have found it takes a lot of patience obviously, but you have to be consistent in training your dog." Of course, training a dog to do extreme stunts takes time. "The handstand trick took a good six months or more, but it takes a year to two to get our dogs trained professionally and doing live shows," Chris says.