A Wake Forest teenager who lost her family in a triple murder a few years ago is getting the surprise of a lifetime.
CBS 17 is not identifying her because the murder case has not gone to trial yet.
“Just looking back at old photos and wishing I could go back to that day,” the teen told CBS 17.
In 2016, her mother, father, and grandmother were shot to death in their home while she hid upstairs.
“She locked herself in the room and was one of the ones that called 911,” said Pam James, who is now raising the two kids that were left behind. “I know she heard and I think there were some things that she saw that no kid should have to see.”
Pam James took the teen and her younger brother into her home two years ago. She knew their grandmother from church.
“He’s just not able to do the things that he did back when he was our age with his kids,” James said. “He lost his son, daughter-in-law and wife that day and he ran for his own life and he appreciates what we’re doing. He keeps telling us one day we’ll be rewarded, but we don’t want a reward. We just wanted to give them a happy home.”
James says she is just doing what God instructed her to do. She says the children may not be blood, but they are family and she considers the kids her daughter and son.
She says this Christmas she wanted to give her daughter something that could help her heal and deal with her PTSD.
“She not only lost her parents and grandmother that day, she also lost her pets,” James explained. “I think she had two dogs and two cats, but those dogs were taken by friends to the shelter and found homes for them. So, for a child to lose the closest people to them and their family pets, it was very traumatic. “
So, she reached out to the community looking for a trained emotional support dog and that’s how she found TaO Grace. The poodle was set to work with hospice patients, but when that fell through the trainer of Assistdogs.org reached out to James.
“She was gonna be a Christmas present and she was actually signing the papers and initialing them the other night thinking she was gonna be pet-sitting this dog,” said James. “We were gonna try to pull one over on her and as she was initialing she looked up at me and said ‘Is this gonna be my dog?’ and I wish I had that on video because it was one of the most special…I wanted to cry and I couldn’t lie to her so I said, ‘Yes’ and she was just like, ‘Oh Miss Pam this is the best Christmas present ever.’”
So far, the pair seem to be a match made in heaven.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” said the teen. “I didn’t think I would get a dog. I always wanted one of my own.”
James says it was important to get her daughter the dog now, so she can have TaO Grace for support once the case does go to trial sometime next year.