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 Before he met Haatchi he had agoraphobia and socially withdrawn.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.
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.
When 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Before Haatchi arrived, Owen was struggling with being different and became withdrawn and anxious at school and around strangers.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.
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 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:
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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!
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