From Bangor Daily News:
DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A young boy who has a dog with an unusual number of legs made an unusual birthday request.
Owen Sherman, who turned 7 years old Monday, asked friends and family to not give him gifts for his birthday. Instead, he asked them to donate the money they would have spent on him to the animal shelter that provided him with his dog 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.
“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.”
Underhound Railroad Rescue, which provides foster homes for dogs through a series of volunteers until a permanent home is found, transported Eli from Georgia to Maine. The organization paid for Eli’s medical care and amputation. Volunteers coordinate through the organization’s Facebook page, said Sherman.
“They’re like any other boy and dog. They love each other,” said Sherman. “He even has a song called ‘Eli is a good dog.’ He sings it to him all the time. His dog is his best friend. They’re unstoppable together.”
Sherman said her son told her he had received a bunch of gifts for Christmas and couldn’t think of anything he wanted for his birthday. Inspired by his new best friend, Owen asked friends and family to donate to the animal shelter instead.
“I was just so proud of him,” said Sherman. “I said, ‘Owen, that’s really nice. Daddy and I are so proud of you.’”
So far, $120 has been collected for the Underhound Railroad Rescue based in Connecticut.
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