Seven-year-old Owen Hoskins was so fearful about going outside that he could not leave his house. But then a three-legged dog named Haatchi, an Anatolian Shepherd, came into his life and everything changed.
Owen has a rare genetic condition, Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome, which makes his muscles permanently tense (affecting his mobility) and can cause some facial abnormalities, among other complications. As The Sun notes, he was withdrawn from socializing to the point that his stepmother, Colleen Drummond, said that Owen “was practically agoraphobic” and feared to be around other people.” On starting school, Owen became aware of his differences and, as a result, “even more withdrawn.”
“Difficult” is actually a complete understatement: Ten months ago, Haatchi was found tied to a railway line. He had been hit by a train and was found “cowering, with a mangled tail and back leg.” Amazingly, he survived all that trauma. A veterinarian operated on Haatchi and had to amputate his tail and one of his legs.
Haatchi had an immediate effect on Owen once they met. Once scared of strangers, Owen “now wants to talk to everyone about Haatchi and wants to go out all the time to dog shows,” enthuses Drummond who adds that “the difference we see in [Owen] can’t be put into words.” Haatchi has helped with Owen’s medical needs which can require hospitalization. Haatchi even takes “medicine” (a mix of manuka honey, salmon oil and supplements) to help Owen take his.
For his (another understatement!) positive impact on Owen’s life, Haatchi won an award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare which was presented at an Animal Action Awards event at the House of Lord. He has also completed training as a Pets as Therapy dog and will visit soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as children who are terminally ill.
Most of all, Haatchi has opened up the world for Owen. Here’s a video of Haatchi playing with his first toy:
It has to be said: Hats off to Haatchi!
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