New York boy thrilled as autism service dog returns home safely

echo16n-2-webA five year old boy with autism is overjoyed as his autism service dog returned home today, he was last seen on Friday November 6.

Echo, a black Labrador specifically trained to stop Mark Fontana, who was diagnosed at three is non verbal, from wandering bolted after being let out without her service vest.

The family reported her missing immediately, and after nine days of absence, she returned back to Mark, and greeted him with sloppy kisses and lots of hugs.

A woman who returned the Echo told the family that she found her wandering around the neighbourhood. After seeing reports of the dog’s disappearance, she brought the pup back, according to NBC New York.

Echo was supplied to Mark and his family from the charity Guiding Lights one year after he was originally diagnosed.

His mother had previously described Echo as being the “Rolls Royce of dogs” in an interview with the New York Daily News.

She explained that Mark was vulnerable and lost without his pooch:

“Mark doesn’t speak. He doesn’t communicate that way. Sometimes he just ends up running – to the street, to water. But he can communicate, and he just needs the keys to unlock it. Echo was one of those important keys.”

The emotional reunion can be viewed here.