Emma and Gracie get a second chance

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- Around 60 dogs spent their first weekend at their new homes with their new families. The dogs were rescued from a Dothan puppy mill and auctioned off last week. One lucky dog is lending a helping paw to ten-year-old Emma McBroom.

Last January, Emma started having a series of illnesses including strep throat. She was diagnosed with PANDAS, which causes brain inflammation and gives a child neurological issues like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), ticks and separation anxiety.

"She would start to make a little bit of progress, then strep would hit again,” said Emma’s mother Amy McBroom. “It would erase everything and she is relearning reading, counting and all those sorts of things."

She spent a lot of time at the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham and could not walk on her own for about three months. Emma is doing a lot better now with the help of her new four legged friend, Gracie.

"They had an immediate bond. She came right up and laid her head on Emma’s knee,” said Amy.

Gracie is the newest addition to the McBroom’s home. Amy saw all the "Paws for a Cause" dogs posted on Facebook, but knew Gracie was the one. They’d always wanted a dog, but were waiting for the right time.

Both of them are getting a second chance for health and happiness.

"I wanted to name her Gracie because she was sick and I was sick too. We got grace to get better."

Amy says Emma’s short term memory is improving, but she does not remember her birthday or her life before her illness. She also says Gracie helps with Emma’s physical therapy by keeping her active.