A toddler in South Carolina who was born without feet has found her new best friend.

In an adorable story that's making national headlines, 3-year-old Sapphyre Johnson was united with a puppy that was born without a paw. 


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According to the Greenville News, the dog's owner, Karen Riddle, wanted to do something special with the disabled pup, who was born in a litter of nine. 

Riddle named the 9-week-old White German Shepherd Lt. Dan, after Gary Sinise's disabled character in the movie "Forrest Gump."

She then began working to find him a special home, dismissing suggestions that she have the dog put down.

Riddle said she thought Lt. Dan would be the perfect therapy dog for a disabled person or a wounded veteran. 

Johnson and Lt. Dan found each other at Shriners Hospital, where she had been a patient since she was 3 months old. 

"A lot of kids don't see other children or animals that have issues like they have," her father, Matthew Johnson, told the paper.

"This was a really nice thing and a really good thing for Sapphyre."


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Sapphyre was born with a birth defect that left her missing fingers and toes, her mother said. She underwent surgery when she was 1 to have her feet amputated so she could be fitted for prosthetics.

Her mom, Ashley Johnson, said Sapphyre immediately fell in love with Lt. Dan when they met on Monday.

"Sapphyre immediately noticed that he was missing a paw. She said, 'He has a foot like mine,'" Johnson told ABC  News.


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