Southeast Bakersfield

Autistic boy's therapy dogs found

Autistic boy's therapy dogs found »Play Video

EDITOR'S NOTE: The family told Eyewitness News on Monday morning that their dogs have been found.

The original story, published over the weekend, is below.

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A south Bakersfield family is asking for help to locate their two therapy dogs, which have been instrumental in helping their autistic child.

Diego Ibarra, 12, was diagnosed with autism when he was only 2 years old. Seven years ago, his parents, Nancy and Jesus, brought German shepherd Lexi home, a therapy dog trained in Vacaville.

Mother Nancy Garcia said, "Lexi has taught him to be responsible, more calm."

"She is just part of our family," Nancy Garcia said, "one of our children."

Less than a year ago, they got 2-year-old Charlie, who has also proved to be invaluable to Diego and the rest of the family. But, Charlie and Lexi went missing last Wednesday morning and now the family, and especially Diego, are incredibly worried.

"Lexi is an unconditional friend that loves my son regardless of his autism," said Diego's father Jesus Ibarra.

Diego is nonverbal but communicates through sign language. His parents said he hasn't been the same since Lexi and Charlie left.

If you know the whereabouts of Charlie and Lexi, please call the family at either (661) 303-7450 or (661) 717-6959.