RYE, N.Y. -- The family of a young autistic boy in Rye is still searching for his service dog, Echo, who went missing last week in Rye.
The Fontana family has received some calls about the small, female black lab, but she has so far not turned up. The family has been coordinating with police, a professional tracker and through social media with the #FindEcho hashtag.
The dog was donated to the Fontana family by Guiding Eyes for the Blind to help care for their 5-year-old son, Mark, who has autism. Mark does not speak and frequently tries to run away, but the family says there has been a remarkable change in his behavior since they got Echo back in September.
“It’s amazing to think that an animal, like Echo, is capable of transforming our lives. But she has,” said Emily Fontana, Mark's mother. “For the boy whose first word was ‘doggie,’ Echo has been the best gift in my son’s life. Please help us bring her home.”
The dog was last seen near Cornerstone Bakery and the Hix Park area in Rye at around 7 p.m. last Wednesday. She is wearing a red collar that says Guiding Eyes for the Blind, with a phone number. She is microchipped, does not bark or bite, and is described as very friendly.
Anybody who sees Echo should contact Mark's mother at 914-967-2796 or 914-708-7609, the Rye Police at 914-967-1234, or Guiding Eyes at the number on her collar. A reward is also being offered for her return.
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