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Boy Whose Foot Had to Be Amputated Forms Bond with Puppy Born Without Paw: 'She's Like Me'

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Kids are incredibly resilient, and when they face difficulties in life that make them stand out from a crowd, good parents do their best to highlight the positives and encourage their child’s uniqueness.

But even those who have settled with their differences experience a loneliness that comes with feeling like no one else quite understands — and if they can find someone who does, an unbreakable bond is formed.

That happened recently for a family in Waconia, Minnesota, whose 7-year-old boy, Paxton, had his right foot amputated three years ago. Paxton was born very premature, and an infection in his leg caused a number of difficulties, leading his parents Blaine and Stephanie Williams to make the tough decision to have his foot amputated.

This year, Barb Felt, who raises golden retrievers under the name Rolling Oaks Goldens, had a unique puppy born in one of her litters. The pup was missing her front right paw.

In many cases, a breeder would see this as a deficiency, and only think of how difficult it would be to place a pup with such a condition — but Felt saw the potential.

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“When she was born, we knew right away she has ​a special purpose,” Felt told WCCO-TV. “We wanted her to go in a home with someone who had a limb difference.”

The two families connected through Paxton’s occupational therapist, and the pup went to the Williams for a trial run once she was old enough.

“Meet Marvel! She is now 9 weeks old and loves to snuggle and give lots of kisses,” Rolling Oaks Goldens shared on April 30. “As many of you know we have been looking for options to donate her once she was old enough.”

“We did find a family that has a child with a limb difference just like Marvel. Today Marvel went to her new home on a trial to see if this is her forever home. Thank you to everyone in helping us name her. We choose Marvel because her new owner has a love for the avengers and made the final choice of Marvel!”

Things seem to have been going very well, and Marvel gets along great with everyone in her new family.

“Blaine & Steph told us about their 7 year old son Paxton who has a limb difference,” another post from Rolling Oaks Goldens said. “Paxton had his right leg amputated when he was 4. He has a big sister Evelyn and a little brother Dawson. It is great to see the impact Marvel has in their sweet family already. We will continue to share Marvel and Paxton’s adventures.”

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Paxton and Marvel especially have hit it off, and the puppy seems to have given Paxton a boost of confidence.

“It gives him the opportunity to tell the kids, ‘Oh, she’s missing a paw, she’s like me,'” Stephanie Williams said. “And like it gives him that voice, too, to advocate for himself.”

“It’s like they knew they were special,” Blaine Williams added. “The amount of emotions that were running through me at the time … It was just awesome because it was knowing that she was in the perfect place at the perfect time.”

While Marvel will eventually need some sort of wheelchair or prosthetic to help her get around, she and Paxton will have each other to lean on, and the two will definitely be going on many adventures together.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking