ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A young teenage girl is smiling again after a horrific injury.
She feared being scarred for life until doctors at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital repaired the damage.
Laughing, playing and just having fun is something Emma Smith and her family never dreamed of so soon after what happened a year ago.
"It was like a matter of seconds," remembers Emma's sister, Sharon Smith.
"My dog attacked me," Emma explained. "I was sitting on the floor and I stood up and he just attacked me."
Emma was in total shock following a vicious bite by the family pet.
"I thought it was a dream," Emma said.
And her dream became a nightmare.
"Her jaw was split open, in two pieces. Her face was just wide open," Susan said. "It was horrifying.
It was the scariest thing I ever [saw[. It was horrible."
Emma was rushed to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, where surgeons began the delicate process of repairing Emma's face.
"We did a series of five operations on Emma," Says Dr. Alex Rottgers who works at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. "We reconstructed her jaw and at the same time reconstructed her eyelid and her tear duct which had both been injured."
A year-long transformation to make Emma whole again, and to give her back the confidence a young girl needs.
"I think its amazing because I saw some before and after pictures," Emma explained.
"It's just amazing to see her come so far from something like that. To recover she's even better than ever," Susan said.
And she is more than ready to resume a normal, happy life.