Northern Suburbs News

Echo, autistic boy's service dog, found safe

Friday, November 15, 2013
echo mark fontana

Echo and Mark Fontana (Guiding Eyes for the Blind)

An autistic boy's missing service dog named Echo has been found, according to Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

The group posted a picture of Echo and Mark Fontana on its Facebook around 1:30 p.m., adding " It's a beautiful day and we are so thankful!"

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Echo, a black lab, had been missing since November 6.

"She's changed our life. She's not a pet, she's a critical care giver for our son. She keeps him safe," said Emily Fontana, the dog's owner.

When Echo puts on her work vest, the 5-year-old black lab knows her job is to protect 5-year-old Mark Fontana.

Mark was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at 3 years old, meaning he's not verbal, he doesn't speak.

A Good Samaritan returned the dog to the family at 1:15 p.m. on Friday. She is in great conditio, according to Guiding Eyes. The organization used a chip reader to confirm that the dog is Echo.

Neighbors had covered the area with fliers searching for her over the last week.

Echo was donated to the Fontana family by Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, who paid the $45,000 it costs to train her.

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