Owen Sherman of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, just turned seven years old. He asked his friends and family to skip getting him a birthday gift, but instead he requested donations for an animal shelter where he found his best friend, Eli.
Owen, a first-grader at SeDoMoCha Elementary School in Dover-Foxcroft, has bilateral fibular hemimelia — a congenital absence of the fibula bones in both legs. His legs were amputated below the knees when he was 8 months old. He now wears prosthetic legs, which he was walking on as early as 13 months old, according to his mother Barbara Estabrook Sherman.
After the family dog, Sparky, died last year, Owen and his father, Shane Sherman, went looking for a new dog.
“My husband and he went behind my back and searched over the Internet and found Eli,” said Sherman. “[Owen] fell in love with Eli sight unseen.”
Sherman said Eli, a boxer-lab mix, had to have one of its hind legs amputated.
“We believe he had been abused and somehow an infection set in,” she said. “He was given up and he had to have that leg amputated.”