Autistic boy loses service dog on bus

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SALT LAKE CITY -- For four-year-old Isaiah McOmber, losing his dog Peaches was more than just losing a pet.

Peaches is Isaiah's service dog. Isaiah has autism, and has been inseparable from the Papillion his entire life until Monday. The family is asking for help finding the dog.

"So she comes almost everywhere we go," Tiffany McOmber, Isaiah's mom, said. "We've had her for almost four-and-a- half years now."

Whether it's hiking in the snow, or visiting the planetarium, Isaiah and Peaches are never far apart. The dog helps the family and the boy manage his condition.

"She's basically a medical service dog," McOmber said. "She assists in any problems that he may have. She warns me if he's getting stressed or worn out."

There's plenty of stress right now for the entire McOmber family. James McOmber was just sworn into the Army and left for basic training a few days ago, marking the first time the couple has been apart in their eight-year marriage.

Tiffany and Isaiah are planning to move to be closer to James and have sold many of their belongings, including their car. They've been using the bus to get around, which is where she left the dog carrier on Monday. They were at the transportation hub at 600 West and 300 South in Salt Lake when she realized what had happened.

I got on the bus thinking ‘it's time to go.' And about 15 minutes into the bus ride I recognized that Peaches was gone and I had left her behind.

–Tiffany McOmber

"I got on the bus thinking ‘it's time to go,'" she said. "And about 15 minutes into the bus ride I recognized that Peaches was gone and I had left her behind."

By the time she returned to the bus bench, it was 30 minutes later and the dog and pet carrier were gone. Since then, Tiffany and Isaiah have visited most of the animal shelters in the area, but with no no sign of Peaches. Isaiah, who usually sleeps with his dog, hasn't slept well this week.

"He'll go to sleep for an hour or two and then wake up and then sleep for an hour or two because he wants his dog," she said.

UTA didn't get any reports at lost and found, and surveillance video showed nothing of the dog. No witnesses have come forward, either.



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Keith McCord


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