Three-year-old Sapphyre Johnson was born with no toes or fingers due to a unique birth defect. Because of this, she has been a regular patient at Shriners Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina since she was an infant. When she was only a baby, doctors decided to amputate her legs, so that it would be easier for her to wear prosthetic legs, causing Sapphyre to undergo three major surgeries during the first few years of her life.
Recently, the hospital's Child Life Specialist Elaine Hardin was contacted by Karen Riddle, a puppy breeder. Riddle told the specialist that one of her white German Shepherd puppies was born without a paw and she was wondering if any of the hospital's patients would like to care for it. The employee immediately thought that Sapphyre would be the perfect fit for puppy Lt. Dan, who was named after the character from Forrest Gump.
This past week, the family arrived to meet Lt. Dan and Sapphyre, and instantly noticed that the puppy was different, taking off her prosthetic leg to show him that they are alike. The little girl's mom explains that the two have already become best friends. “Lt. Dan follows Sapphy around everywhere. He is always right there beside her. Wherever she goes, he goes,” she states.