Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued August 19 at 4:00PM EDT expiring August 19 at 9:00PM EDT in effect for: Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe, Muskingum, Noble, Tuscarawas
Tessa Puma, girl who lost leg to rare infection, shares special bond with physical therapy dogs
5:05 PM, Jun 20, 2017
5:22 PM, Jun 20, 2017
AKRON, Ohio - Wearing her trademark pink bow and a precious smile, Tessa Puma walked around the courtyard of Akron Children's Hospital with the assistance of a walker, a physical therapist assistant and a Siberian mix named Gracie.
Tessa loves how "soft and cuddly" the dog feels and also senses a special connection to her. Gracie only has three legs.
Turranna Rice, a physical therapist assistant who works with Tessa, said the girl's confidence is growing because of the noticeable connection she shares with Gracie and Rudy.
"One of the things she said was she wants to meet someone else that has the same challenges as herself. Not only did she get an opportunity to meet another kid that had a prosthetic, but also a dog," Rice said.
Tessa also benefits from petting a calm pony named Petie that also visits other kids at Akron Children's Hospital.
"He's so soft," Tessa said as she looked into the pony's eyes.
Tessa's parents and therapists are confident that she will return to gymnastics and dance once she adjusts to her prosthetic leg.
Tessa said she's excited about getting back to the sports she loves and is ready to work hard to meet her goals.
"A lot of stretching, definitely," she said. "I'm excited about it."