Lieutenant Dan, a white German Shepherd missing one of his paws, met his new family and best friend, Sapphyre Johnson, a 3-year-old little girl who lost both feet due to a congenital condition. Karen Riddle, who owned Lt. Dan’s mother, wouldn’t listen to people who suggested she euthanize the pup, because she knew he would make a special addition to the right family. She called the Greenville Shriners Hospital in South Carolina to see if they knew of anyone that might be interested in such a companion.
Specialist Elaine Hardin told Riddle about Sapphyre, because she had done so well with therapy dogs at the hospital. As soon as Sapphyre saw the picture of him, she replied, “That’s my puppy. He’s just like me.” The Shriners hospital provided Sapphyre with prosthetics and has said they will fit Lt. Dan for one in the future as well.
Sapphyre’s family couldn’t be happier, because they know that having Lt. Dan will provide her with an outlet to help discuss her disability with other children and people and also keep her motivated to move and get around. They already spent their first day together running around the park. Her 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. The moment was captured in this adorable photo
Since arriving home, the Johnsons note that Lt. Dan is working out perfectly. They say he’s calm, good-natured, and hasn’t even chewed anything. But mostly, he and Sapphyre are inseparable and I couldn’t be happier that these two found each other.