NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio - Echo spent most of his life chained up with a collar cutting tightly into his neck. He also has genetic problems that eventually caused him to go blind.
"We take on dogs with special needs. We thought Echo would make a good therapy dog," said Charles Stella, of Elite K-911 training center.
He was given the name Echo because of his use of echo location. When he makes a sound, it bounces off of solid objects. Echo can than better judge what is around him.
"Within six months I would like to have him certified and going into schools and hospitals. I'd like to have him working with blind children and teach them that life still goes on - even without sight," said Stella
Numerous pit bulls have had training as therapy dogs through Elite K-911. The dogs, along with their handlers, routinely visit local schools and patients at University Hospital in Cleveland. Once Echo's training has been completed, he will join them.
"The hope is that the kids will create a bond with the dogs. They'll go home and tell their parents and friends that they met an awesome pit bull. I spent time with her. I played with her," said Chris Hughes of the Thera-Pits program.
You can follow Echo's progress as he trains to become a therapy dog at thera-pits.com