Why We Exist
Echo has been a part of our family for almost a year and a half, but it feels like we’ve never been without him. He’s had a huge impact on us, especially on our nine-year-old son, Jason. Jason was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. He had no safety awareness and was having regular tantrums, each of which could last up to two hours. Public outings were stressful for our family, and we lived in constant anxiety that Jason may bolt (suddenly run off) out of our reach and endanger himself. When we saw a news story about Autism Support Dogs, we decided to apply.
When we got the call that Echo would be joining our family, we were ecstatic. Jason has always loved animals – dogs in particular. He loves cuddling them and talking to them, so when Echo became part of our family, their bond was immediate.
Jason has experienced many positive behavioural changes since Echo arrived. Most noticeably, his ability to express himself verbally has improved, and he talks to Echo as if they were old friends. When we are out in public and people ask us questions about Echo, Jason takes the lead to answer them. Additionally, nowadays when he becomes agitated, Jason has learned to soothe himself by hugging Echo. Even if Echo is not within close reach, Jason is now able to calm himself down by taking deep breaths and simply thinking of Echo. As parents, we take great comfort in knowing that wherever Echo is, so is Jason.
The bond these two have is incredible, and this year it was even more evident when we took a family vacation to Disneyland. We were a little nervous, but with Echo by Jason’s side, our anxiety was put to rest. The pair did great together throughout the trip, and we were so proud of both of them!
Echo is a sweet and fun-loving dog. He loves to play with his chew toys and likes to think we like them too. Sometimes he comes up to us and teases us with them, letting us almost grab the toys and then running away with them. He also enjoys running around the backyard with the kids and going to the dog park to play with other dogs.
Our entire family has benefitted so much from having Echo, and we are so very grateful that he has come into our life. Not only are we all a little calmer, but Jason also has a new best friend and guardian. Although the smile on Jason’s face when he is with Echo is priceless, we recognize the financial support, time and effort that went into training Echo for this very important job. Thank you so much to all the donors, trainers and staff who made this possible.
– Jason & Echo, Autism Support Dog Team.
The Gubbels Family