Autism Service Dogs change lives, period. Simply put, they make life better for children with autism and their families, a lot better. Our family was devastated by our son Mark’s autism. At three years old, he could not talk, and he was hyper and antsy. He would scream constantly and he wandered or ran away so often that we were afraid to take him in public. We had many heart-stopping moments where Mark became lost, ran into traffic, jumped in a pool when he couldn’t swim, and, on one gut-wrenching occasion, dandling perilously over a fire escape many stories high over a busy parking lot, laughing, oblivious to danger. We didn’t even realize how we had shrunken away from the community we loved, until Echo entered our lives five years ago, when Mark was 5.
Echo gave us back the life we had all been missing. This four-pawed package did what no human could. Echo became Mark’s anchor, and a blessing for our family. Echo wears a harness with a tether connecting her to Mark when outside our home. When Mark tries to bolt, Echo braces, stopping him. Mark is now so accustomed to Echo that he rarely tries to escape when he’s with her. Her presence is calming to Mark, drastically reducing his agitation and screaming. We are able to go places as a family again, like church, museums and restaurants. Echo goes everywhere with Mark—she rides the bus to school with him every day. She sits at his feet when he’s at his desk and she walks with him in the halls. Their relationship is nothing short of extraordinary. BluePath Service dogs trains dogs like Echo for children with Autism.
I’m walking May 19 to fundraise so that other children with autism and their families can have the life-changing gift of an autism service dog. Please join me in supporting BluePath Service dogs by donating any amount that feels right to you, so that another family affected by autism can have a better life. Thank you for your support! Emily Fontana