A Boy and His Dog

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.”

Owen and Eli are inseparable. The Underhound Railroad Rescue now has at least $120 coming that would have been spent on Owen's birthday gifts. Link  -via Fark

(Image credit: Barbara Estabrook Sherman)

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My 8 year old daughter has been requesting donations instead of birthday gifts to the cat shelter where we've adopted all our cats, including her proclaimed "best friend" who passed away a year ago. We've had several parents tell us how much they like the idea. My daughter is now well known at this tiny little cat rescue place, as she also likes to go and give the cats treats and exercise by playing with them. I think the person who runs it is expecting my daughter to take over running the place when she's older. I think more kids should do something similar. This is a great story, and I hope it gives more parents ideas for alternates to birthday gifts.
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