Most dog owners will understand how positive and rewarding it can be to have a bond with your furry companion. But for Owen Howkins, this bond was nothing short of life-changing.
Owen, 7, suffers from Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, an extremely rare condition that leaves his muscles in a permanent state of tension. Before meeting Haatchi, Owen was nervous about leaving the house and scared of strangers, making life difficult for himself and his parents.
Haatchi, a three-legged Anatolian Shepherd, had been through a traumatic start to life himself, having been tied to a railway line and hit by a train before being left for dead.
Now the pair have been united, and the strong bond between them has allowed both Owen and Haatchi to begin enjoying their lives for the first time.
Owen’s stepmother Colleen Drummond 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.”
“I feel really happy,” Owen explained. “He changed my life. I’m not scared of strangers now.”
Owen and Haatchi captured the heart of the nation when they won the Friends For Life competition at Crufts 2013. Since then, the pair have made guest appearances on ITV’s This Morning, had their story turned into a book and, more recently, had their bond captured in a 9 minutes short film, which has gained over 1 million views in one week.
To see the video, click on the link below: