Dogs and their owners share a unique bond, but maybe none quite as unique as the one between Sapphyre Johnson—a 3-year-old girl who lost both feet due to a congenital condition—and her new pup, Lieutenant Dan.
Lt. Dan is a white German Shepherd missing one of his paws (spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen Forrest Gump). A couple of weeks ago, the two were united thanks to the Greenville Shriners Hospital in South Carolina, where Sapphyre had been making progress while working with therapy dogs.
Karen Riddle, who owned Lt. Dan’s mother, said many people suggested she euthanize the pup, but she had a feeling he would make a special addition to the right family. That’s when she called the hospital.
As soon as Sapphyre saw the picture of the German Shepherd, she said, “That’s my puppy. He’s just like me.”
According to her family, Lt. Dan is helping Sapphyre talk about her disability, and he keeps her motivated to move and get around. They already spent their first day together running around the park. While there, Sapphyre’s parents told her to show him her feet and she proudly took her prosthetics and socks off to show her new friend. Lt. Dan responded by holding his paw up.