Be prepared to smile. This is the story of how an 8-year-old autistic boy connected with an abused puppy named Xena. Xena was found nearly starved to death but a rescue group in Georgia helped her fight her way back to health. Then she met the normally shy Jonny Hickey, and both their lives have changed for the better.

Related on MNN: Fly me away! Pilots and volunteers unite to rescue animals