Reunion Between Terminally Ill Man And His Runaway Dog Is Proof That Humanity Is Truly Good

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Kelly Phillips is a terminally ill man in Memphis, T.N. who lives on a boat on the Mississippi River with his best friend, Sapphire, a small bundle of black furry joy.

Phillips, who was diagnosed with incurable sinus cancer, let his dog off of the boat to wander around on the nearby cobblestones, assuming she’d come back when she was ready – but she never did.

“All of a sudden, she disappeared. I don’t know where she went,” Phillips said. “She was gone.”

As it turns out, little Sapphire had wandered several blocks away to a nearby office building. That’s when Diana Sanders, an employee at the building, met Sapphire for the first time.

“I found out that this dog had just showed up at the agency, and somehow made it up to the fifth floor,” Sanders explained.

Sapphire immediately won over everybody’s hearts. “She was the sweetest dog. She would literally smile at you.”

The staff at Archer Malmo tried in vain to see if Sapphire would give them any clues to where her human lived, but she didn’t. Sapphire went home with Sanders that night.

Meanwhile, Phillips spent hours looking for his beloved dog, stopping people on the street to see if they’d seen her. Finally, he came across a man who knew about Sapphire.

The moment that dog and owner were finally reunited was beyond touching.

“It truly brought me to tears,” Sanders said.

But the goodwill didn’t end there. Phillips may have temporarily lost his closest companion, but in the process, he gained some lifelong friends.

Footage provided by WREG Memphis

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