7-year-old Owen Howkins has Shwartz-Jampel, a rare genetic condition that results in permanent tension in his muscles. Due to his illness Owen’s sense of balance is affected. He has to use a walking frame most of the time as well as a wheel chair for long distances. When Owen was old enough to understand his condition he became scared of leaving the house as he felt he was different than everybody else. His parents described him as practically agoraphobic until a new friend came into his life and changed everything.
Haatchi himself had had a quite difficult life before he came into the Howkins’ house. The Anatolian shepherd was found on the railway after having been hit by a train. The vets managed to save the dog’s life but the injuries in one of his back legs and tail were so severe they had to be amputated. Naturally, it would have been very difficult for Haatchi to find a home as he was missing a leg and a tail and most people might not want such a dog. However, Colleen, Owen’s stepmom instantly fell in love with Haatchi and knew he was special the moment she saw him. What is more, the dog proved out to be a miracle worker : ever since he came into the house Owen has been a different boy. He isn’t shy anymore, he likes to talks to strangers about Haatchi and spend time outside, usually with his best friend. Owen’s parents say all of this was practically unthinkable before Haatchi’s appearance in their life.
The special dog is going to be presented with an award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare for the special part he has had in his best friend’s life.