Boy Suffering from Rare Disorder and 3-legged Dog Become Best Friends

Owen HowkinIf you are a regular reader of Doog News, you know that we think dogs are awesome.  And this story of Haatchi and Owen once again proves it.  7-year-old Owen Howkins was born with Schwartz Jampel Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that results in dwarfism,  a tensing of the muscles, and vision problems, among other symptoms.  The condition is so rare that there are only an estimated 30 people in the world suffering from this debilitating disorder.   Owen needs a wheelchair to get around as his muscles are always stiff and sore.  Battling this condition meant Owen had self-esteem issues when dealing with others and was afraid of strangers, who would ask questions and stare.

Owen Howkin's Drawing of his dog Haatchi

Owen’s drawing tells Haatchi’s story

But Owen’s life changed, all because of an abandoned dog.  Owen tells the amazing story in the video of how a dog, Haatchi, was tied to a railway track and hit by a train.  Haatchi lost a leg in the terrible incident.  The Italian shepherd was taken in by the RSPCA.  Owen’s mom, Colleen,  saw a picture of Haatchi on Facebook with a plea to adopt the three legged dog.  Colleen says that when she first looked into Haatchi’s eyes that she “literally took a gasp of breath,  I’d never felt like that about any dog, ever in my life.”  It was a special moment for the dog too as it was only a few months after having his leg amputated.  Haatchi’s tail started to wag when meeting his new family, the first time since the accident.  “I knew then that Haatchi had chosen us, we didn’t choose him.”

Haatchi and Owen, An Immediate Bond

Haatchi the dog

Owen’s mom Colleen gasped when she first looked into Haatchi’s eyes.

The day that Haatchi met Owen, friends for life were born.  “It was electric” said Owen’s mom. “It was spiritual”.  The dog took to the young boy immediately.  Owen described their first meeting, “He just laid up to me and put his head in my lap.”  Says Colleen, “There was an immediate bond and it was like they both knew that each other was different.”  she said of the special relationship, “There was an instant acceptance of those differences and they were going to work together as a team.”

‘Before his arrival, Owen didn’t like going out – he was practically agoraphobic,’ his mother said in an interview with the Basingstoke Gazette.

‘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.’   Now instead of people looking at him and asking questions about his condition, they wanted to ask about his buddy, and Owen loved to tell them the story.

Before Haatchi, Owen says, “I was scared of strangers, but he changed my life to not be scared of strangers now.”

Owen and Haatchi the dogThe story has been made into this beautiful 10 minute documentary as well as a book, titled Haatchi and Little B.  The film was made as part of a documentary film course in England and was directed and produced by Jonna McIver.  Jonna says making the film was a special experience,  “Last year we made this film as part of our documentary filmmaking course at the University of Hertfordshire. We managed to find this special family and document an incredible few months of their lives. We made this film to not only tell the families story, but to raise awareness of Schwartz Jampel Syndrome and to show how incredible rescue dogs are. A little bit of love can go a hell of a long way.”

If you want to feel good and have your heart warmed, do yourself a favor and take 10 minutes to watch one of the most touching stories you will see, the story of Owen and Haatchi.  It’s a story that can teach us all a little something.  “What I’ve taken from the relationship between Owen and Haatchi,” Owen’s mom says, “is that no matter how bad things get, there was always something good in the world. Owen and Haatchi simplify everything by pure love.”   And that is a message we could all use.

See more stories on Doog News about how animals make our lives better, like the story of a therapy dog and cat who helped an Iraq war vet deal with his post traumatic stress disorder, or the story of how a prisoner trained therapy dog has transformed the life of  a young boy with autism.

And don’t forget to support your local SPCA with National Cupcake Day.

You can read more about Owen and Haatchi in their book:

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