Sapphyre Johnson and Lt. Dan aren’t typical best friends. They are extraordinary. And while some people may look at them as ‘deficient, with each other, they’re always complete.

The duo may be missing something in their physical body, but that didn’t stop or slowed them down. Although unable to exchange the same words, Sapphyre and Lt. Dan share something that’s clear: Their love for one another.

When Sapphyre was born, her feet were not fully developed. The doctors explained that this rare condition affects 1 to 2 newborns out of 1000. Because of the severity and complexity of this congenital defect, Sapphyre’s toes needed to be amputated when she was a few months old.

Surprisingly, Sapphyre proved to be so resilient at a very young age. While she may look a little different compared to most people, with Lt. Dan, she’s never going to feel odd. Sapphyre grew up as one happy child. Things weren’t always easy and neither are they always difficult.

When Karen Riddle’s dog gave birth to a litter of puppies, Lt. Dan stood out. He only had 3 paws.  “I knew that while some people will look at it as an abnormality or a defect, for the perfect individual, it’s actually a real blessing. One in disguise,” said Riddle.

So Riddle got in contact with Shriners Hospital for Children in Greenville, South Carolina. She asked if they possibly have a patient who would be interested in meeting and taking home Lt. Dan to be part of their family. During that time, Sapphyre was in the hospital for the fitting of her new prosthetics. And she fell in love with the special pup instantly.

“The very first time I showed Lt. Dan’s photos to Sapphyre, she looked at it then said, ‘That’s my puppy. He’s just like me,’” said Shriner’s Child Care Specialist Elaine Hardine. “He’s a very special dog and he’s going home to a very special child.”

Credits to Greenville Online for sharing this story.


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