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Community Helps Bring Service Dog To Autistic NJ Boy

NEW VERNON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A wish has come true for a family in Morris County.

The Ng family now has a medical service dog -- a golden retriever named Yazzie -- for 4-year-old Ethan, who is autistic.

Ethan smiled when he met his new friend, but he didn't use words to express his excitement, CBS2's Erin Logan reported. His mom said the most he can say are two- to three-word phrases.

It's been a struggle trying to raise the autistic little boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Autism service dog for Ethan Ng
4-year-old Ethan Ng meets his service dog, Yazzie (credit: CBS2)

That's why Yazzie, a medical service dog, is finally with him after 16 months of trying.

"I guess I would equate it to getting married, if you think about the long engagement and all the preparation that goes into that day," said Ethan's mother, Margaret.

Medical service dogs cost nearly $60,000. The community stepped up to help the family.

Yazzie already has a bed, right next to Ethan's. His parents are hoping that once Ethan gets comfortable with him, that will be the end of sleepless nights.

Right now, Ethan wakes up almost every 90 minutes. Margaret said, like parents of a lot of autistic children, they can't self-soothe.

So his mother and father take turns in the middle of the night, making them tired, impatient and having less time to focus on each other and their daughter, Emma.

"So for me, this dog is here not just for Ethan; he's here to help put my whole family back together again," Margaret said.

The family is now on a mission to make sure other families who need a Yazzie get a Yazzie in their homes -- they're already starting to form a foundation.


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