Little Girl Without Feet Finds Loving Friendship In Puppy Born Without A Paw

May 2, 2015 By Archit Tripathi

Kate Riddle is a dog breeder from Greenville, South Carolina. When she recently had a white German shepherd puppy who was born without a foot, she did two amazing things. 

First, she gave him the adorable name Lt. Dan, after the one-legged character from "Forrest Gump." She also decided that a puppy this unique couldn't be put down (which is what most breeders do). Knowing that there was someone out there for him, she looked at Shriner's Hospital for Children, and that's where she found an adorable little girl called Sapphyre Johnson.


Sapphyre was born with a birth defect that left her with partially formed fingers and two long toes on each foot at birth. 

Her parents decided to amputate when she was just a baby so that she could be properly fitted for prosthetics.

Elaine Hardin is a child specialist who works with Sapphyre. She recalls the first time the little girl laid eyes on Lt. Dan:


The first time I showed her a picture of the dog, she looked at it for a moment, and she said, ‘That’s my puppy. He’s just like me.’ …He’s a special dog and he’s going to a special child.... In the future, I could see Sapphy at her first show-and-tell in school and she could bring in her dog and explain about her dog and herself. Everybody loves dogs and they’ll want to know about her dog that’s special like her.

Shriners Hospital has even offered to make a prosthetic for Lt. Dan once he's old enough.

Credit: Laughing Squid | Greenville Online

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