Hants, UK – The dog was tied to a train track, hit by an oncoming train and left for dead. He was discovered days later, cowering, with a leg and tail damaged beyond repair. Both had to be amputated.
When Colleem Drummond, 41, read about the dog’s plight on Facebook, she adopted him, thinking that he would be good company for her fiance’s son, Owen.
Owen, 7, has a rare genetic disorder called Schwartz-Jampel, a condition that causes the boy’s muscles to be permanently tense. Owen became withdrawn and shy when he started school and realized that he was different from other children. He soon became afraid to leave his home or talk to people.
But the dog, Haatchi, changed everything. “As soon as they met, the effect Haatchi had on Owen was incredible,” notes Drummond. “Before his arrival, Owen didn’t like going out – he was practically agoraphobic.”
Haatchi, an Anatolian Shepherd, and Owen have become best friends. Owen not only leaves the house without fear to take Haatchi for walks, he talks to anyone who will listen about his dog. Owen’s father, Will Howkins, says of the transformation in his son: “The difference we see in him can’t be put into words.”
Howkins, 33, an engineer at Royal Air Force (RAF) Odiham, said: “Owen is incredibly attached to Haatchi – in fact, they are very attached to each other.” The boy’s father even comments, “Haatchi will come and drink out of the bath when I’m bathing Owen, and they don’t like to be apart.”
Owen is bound to be just one of many lives that Haatchi touches. The 15-month-old dog has recently completed his training as a “Pets as Therapy” dog, and will soon be visiting soldier amputees injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 3-legged-animal will also visit sick and terminally ill children.
The story of Haatchi’s survival, and the positive impact he has had on Owen’s life has earned his a prestigious award: he will be honored at the Animal Action Awards even next week. The award will come from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Haatchi will receive the award from none other than Queen guitarist Brian May.
Drummon notes, “We feel completely privileged and honoured that Haatchi is to receive this IFAW award.”