BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A Connecticut family is desperately trying to find an autistic boy’s dog, which was snatched from in front of a relative’s home in Fairfield County.

Eleven-year-old Noah Worrell owned Aimie, a Yorkshire terrier, for six years, and the boy’s mother credits the dog for bringing Noah out of his shell, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.

Before Aimie entered Noah’s life, he said “not a word. Not even ‘Mom,” Haydee Perlata said.

Perlata said Aimie made such a strong connection with Noah that she had begun to have her trained as a certified therapy dog.

“She’s very shy and timid,” Perlata said. “Because of her demeanor and personality, it works so well with Noah. It calms him down.”

Perlata said they were visiting her sister’s house on Noble Avenue when the dog went missing five weeks ago. She said Aimie wandered out through a door Noah left open. Security camera footage from a business shows a car stopping and a woman and man picking up the dog before driving off, Perlata said.

Noah’s mother does not believe the people thought they were rescuing the dog.

“She had … a tag with my name and her name and my phone number,” she said.

The boy is struggling to cope after the dog’s disappearance. His teacher, Cathy Miranti, said Noah has begun to regress in school ever since.

“A setback for sure,” Miranti said. “He’s not as spontaneous as he was, and he’s having difficulty finishing assignments.”

Posters of the missing dog have been posted all over town.

“I try to look for Aimie on my Kindle to search for more information,” Noah said.

The car driven by the dognappers is described as a black Nissan Maxima with dark-tinted windows and a spoiler.

Although their faces were not visible in the video, Perlata said the woman appears to be wearing medical scrubs or a nurse’s uniform.

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