A three-year-old girl with amputated feet has a new best friend, a puppy without a paw.
Sapphyre Johnson was born with a rare condition that led to the amputation of both feet when she was only one-year-old. Her condition also caused her to be born missing a few fingers, but besides that the adorable toddler is in great health.
Sapphyre hasn’t had the most normal childhood thus far. The Tennessee native has spent a great deal of time playing patient at the Shriners Hospital For Children in Greenville, South Carolina. Here, she has received multiple surgeries for prosthetic feet.
In the same exact town Sapphyre relocated for treatment, German shepherd breeder Karen Riddle was surprised to find one of her puppies was born missing most of his right front paw.
While other breeders suggested she put the dog down, Karen considered that option out of the question. Instead, she had a much better idea.
Karen phoned Shriners Hospital, she had a hunch there might be a kid at the hospital that would greatly benefit from this dog. Her hunch couldn’t have been more accurate; in fact her kind gesture has changed Lt. Dan, the puppy without a paw, and Sapphyre’s life forever.
Sapphyre was the perfect person for the 3-leged dog. The moment she saw the picture of Lt. Dan she said, “That’s my puppy. He’s just like me.”
Elaine Hardin, Shriners’ child life specialist, told the Greenville News, “He’s a special dog and he’s going to a special child.”
When the two finally met it was love at first sight.
Riddle told ABC News, “We said, ‘Sapphyre, show him your feet’ and, oh boy, she threw off her prosthetics and her socks and said, ‘Look!’ Then Lt. Dan put his paw up at the exact same time.”
Her father told the Greenville News, “A lot of kids don’t see other children or animals that have issues like they have.”
Sapphyre has since returned to her hometown in Tennessee with her new dog in tow. The two are inseparable, the very best of friends. Sapphyre’s mom Ashley said, “He follows her every step she takes, everywhere she goes.”
Photo Credit: greenvilleonline