ORLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) — It’s a perfect fit for a horse rescue group, and a young woman who welcomes some emotional support.

She lost her father and brother, and gained a steadfast friend.

Mimi McParland, 18, is the proud new owner of Sinatra, a 7-year-old horse she’s cared for since the beginning of the year.

CBS 2’s Pamela Jones was there when horse and owner got their surprise.

Sinatra slowly stepped out of his trailer to a bright new future with his favorite pal.

When the rescue’s caravan pulled up to Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park on Wednesday, the teenage equestrian didn’t quite know what to think, until she was surprised with her gift: Illinois Horse Rescue is giving Sinatra to her.

“I had no idea. I don’t know, I’m speechless,” McParland said.

Illinois Horse Rescue gives neglected animals new, healthy lives; and it does a lot for volunteers who work with the animals, too.

“It’s where I come when I think I need to get away. It’s where I go when I’m sad, it’s where I go when I’m happy,” she said.

Caring for Sinatra has helped McParland deal with personal loss.

The group’s founder, Tony Pecho, said “she lost a brother at a young age. … I believe she was 6 and he was 4. And later on in life, she lost a father – drowned while they were on vacation. And she didn’t give up.”

Sinatra was treated well by his previous owners, but his strong personality proved to be too much for them, and the rescue took him on.

Now, after months of work, Sinatra snuggles up to McParland like it was meant to be.

“Mimi is an outstanding young woman. She’s an example to all the young people at our facility,” Pecho said.

McParland plans on attending the University of Illinois, and she wants to ride Sinatra in competition during college.

McParland’s mother said she expects her daughter to hold down a job to pay for the upkeep. The rescue shelters horses at its stables in Peotone.

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