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Three-legged rescue dog changes the life of boy with rare condition

Custom_sam_sheepdog_300_thumb By Martha | | Comments (9)

Haatchi with Owen
Haatchi, an Anatolian Shepherd and Owen Hawkins take care of each other. Photo: YouTube

An Anatolian Shepherd named Haatchi overcame a terrible act of cruelty to become the best friend and inspiration for a young boy with a rare genetic condition.

Owen Hawkins is 7-years-old and has Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, a condition which causes his muscles to constantly seize involuntarily. Before he met Haatchi he had agoraphobia and socially withdrawn. Haatchi was not yet a year old had endured an unimaginable and frightening act of cruelty.

In January 2012, Haatchi was deliberately tied to a railway line in North London and was hit by a train. His tail was severed and his rear leg severely damaged. Haatchi managed to stagger away and hid for around 5 days before he was rescued by the RSPCA. Unfortunately, due to infection, his leg and tail had to be amputated.

Haatchi and Owen

He was immediately fostered but was attacked by another dog in the home and returned to the RSPCA, where they struggled with the decision to put him down. But a staff member did not want to give up on the dog and called UK German Shepherd Rescue who has a No Kill policy for help. The rescuers began to look for a loving home for Haatchi, and that's when Colleen Drummonds and fiance Will Howkins (Owen's father) saw a post on Facebook and decided to visit Haatchi. On February 18, six weeks after Haatchi had had his operation, the couple took him to his new home.

Haatchi with OwenWhen Haatchi met Owen the pair bonded immediately and began to support each other. Colleen, who has been with Owen since he was three, says Haatchi's effect on Owen was immediate.

Before Haatchi arrived, Owen was struggling with being different and became withdrawn and anxious at school and around strangers.

"As soon as they met, the effect Haatchi had on Owen was incredible. Before his arrival, Owen didn’t like going out – he was practically agoraphobic," Colleen said. "Owen used to be scared of strangers, but now he wants to talk to everyone about Haatchi and wants to go out all the time to dog shows. The difference we see in him can’t be put into words."

Will said Haatchi is equally attached to Owen. "Haatchi will come and drink out of the bath when I’m bathing Owen, and they don't like to be apart."

Now 15 months old, Haatchi has completed his training as a therapy dog and will be visiting soldier amputees as well as terminally-ill children. Haatchi has also been recognized by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for his amazing story. Haatchi has been awarded IFAW's Animal of the Year.

Owen and Haatchi collecting the IFAW award

Via This is Hampshire


Update November 16, 2012

Haatchi and Owen's story has travelled the globe and the pair enjoy receiving postcards from all over the world.

Haatchi and Little B reading a postcard they received
Haatchi and Owen (Little B) enjoy reading the postcards they are receiving from well-wishers. Photo: Facebook

If you would like to send Little B (Owen) and Haatchi a postcard from where you are, they can be sent to their attention at:

C/O Driver Hire Fenland 1st Floor
1b Market Place
Cambs PE13 1DT
United Kingdom

Update February 21, 2013:

Haatchi has been nominated for a Crufts award for heroic dogs!

Haatchi has changed Owen's life for the better and Owen says Haatichi is his best friend.

"I used to be scared of strangers, then Haatchi came along and now I'm not and that's how he changed my life. I didn't really meet many others with disabilities and felt like the odd one out, which made me really sad. But when I saw Haatchi and saw how strong he was, even though he only had three legs, I became stronger myself. I love him so much.", Owen said.

Haatchi is among the final five dog heroes who will compete in the public vote for the Friends for Life award at Crufts 2013.

Visit Haatchi on Facebook!

View more articles in: Community News

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Comments on this Article

This is such a beautiful story. This boy is so adorable and that dog is a hero!! Strengthens my belief that dogs are often our angels. I wish this young man and his best friend a long and happy life together. God Bless you both. Thanks Dogheirs for another inspiring story.
Yes, I made an account just to complain about typos and spelling. You mean agoraphobia. Since this is an article, it should be proofread before added. Otherwise, very sweet story. I am glad they will be forever friends. They both deserve it.
Connnie, Has Owen Gotten His Wheel Chair???
A wonderful ending (beginning) to a horrible story. How could anyone be so cruel as to tie an animal to a train track and force it to be terrified for a very long time. I am constantly amazed and horrified at just how cruel humans can be. SICKENING to be sure!!! God bless Haatchi and Owen, so good that their lives have changed for the better.
I just fell in love with Owen! What a precious little boy! Haatchi is such an awesome dog....I am so incredibly happy for this perfectly matched pair! What a blessing for both of them. A tragedy turned into something so beautiful! :-) <3 God bless the whole family.......
What a blessing that they saved Haatchi! Oh, the resounding spirit of children and animals! God bless all involved.
I am lost for words. So very stressed about what's happened to this beautiful animal. And then so touched by the rest of the story. It's a good life now. Warm story.
A tragic story with a heartwarming ending. So happy Owen's family rescued Haatchi and he and Owen bonded so strongly. Humans save dogs, but sometimes dogs save humans right back. Good luck Owen and Haatchi.
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