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Kindred spirits: Young Hoosier amputee meets quadruple-amputee dog in surprise visit

PHOENIX, Ariz. – An Indiana boy traveled to Arizona for a surprise visit with a kindred spirit.

Owen Mahan, 10, met Chi Chi the dog after flying to Phoenix for the weekend. Owen suffered burns to 98 percent of his body when he was just two years old. He learned about Chi Chi—a golden retriever—through online videos. He said he drew inspiration from her.

Both have something in common: prosthetic legs. Owen had both legs amputated earlier this year. Chi Chi has had four limbs amputated.

Owen said getting to meet Chi Chi was a “dream come true”—and he had a little help to make it happen. NASCAR legend Tony Stewart offered the use of his personal jet to fly Owen and his family to Arizona.

“He’s proof that no matter what happens in your life, you make something good out of it,” said Susan Mahan, Owen’s mother.

“Owen and Chi Chi have a lot in common. They’ve both been through terrible things, had bad things happen to them, but now they’re happy and resilient and they love life,” said Richard Howell, Chi Chi’s owner.

The Howell family adopted Chi Chi from South Korea in 2016 and coordinated with Owen’s family in Indiana to bring him to Arizona.

Owen and Chi Chi were special guests at a NASCAR event and met a wheelchair rugby team from Australia. Owen and his family also attended an NHL game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Winnipeg Jets.

You can learn more about Owen and his visit at the “If Owen Can, We Can” Facebook page.