Three-year-old Sapphyre Johnson was born with a birth defect that caused her to be missing fingers and toes. When she was only one-year-old, little Sapphyre had to undergo a double leg amputation, but she was fitted with prosthetic legs that now allow her to run around like any other toddler. While this resilient little girl will has overcome many obstacles in her life, she has never lost her positive attitude – and now with a new puppy by her side, she is taking on the world with the utmost confidence.
Lt. Dan, the nine-week-old white German Shepherd, was born without a front paw and shares Saphhyres unrelenting zest for life.
Karen Riddle, the breeder who cared for Lt. Dan’s knew that when this particular pup was born that he was destined for something special. While many others advised Riddle to euthanize the disabled pup, she never entertained that possibility. Many of the dogs that Riddle has raised have gone on to be therapy dogs and she knew that Lt. Dan would be no different.
And Lt. Dan has certainly found his other half in Sapphyre. Riddle contacted the local Shriner’s Hospital to see if they were in need of a therapy animal and she was directed to Sapphyre and her family.
“The first time I showed her a picture of the dog,”Shriners child life specialist Elaine Hardin told the Greenville News, “she looked at it for a moment, and she said, ‘That’s my puppy. He’s just like me.'”
Riddle told ABCNews that when they first met, “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.”
Sapphyre and Lt. Dan have been inseparable since they met. Both of these little ones now have a forever best friend to help them navigate all the challenges of life.
It absolutely warms our hearts to see these two together. Thanks to some incredible and compassionate people these little friends are sure to take on the world with more gusto than we’ve ever seen!