A boy and his dog: Owen and Haatchi
Haatchi, a three-legged Anatolian shepherd, will be honored today by the International Fund for Animal Welfare for helping a 7-year-old boy with a genetic disorder face the world.
Owen Howkins, who has a condition known as Schwartz-Jampel, which causes his muscles to be permanently tense, was withdrawn and afraid to leave his house until his family adopted Haatchi, according to his parents.
Now both he and Haatchi are blazing new trails.
Haatchi is receiving an Animal of the Year Award today from the IFAW in a ceremony hosted at the House of Lords. The award is being presented by Queen guitarist Brian May.
Haatchi lost a rear leg after being hit by a train. He recovered and was later adopted by Colleen Drummond, her fiancé Will Howkins and his seven-year-old son Owen, who live in Hampshire.
“Before his arrival, Owen didn’t like going out — he was practically agoraphobic,” said Drummond. “When he first started school, he became more aware of being different, and he became even more withdrawn.”
But Haatchi, in addition to being a steadfast friend, brought Owen out of his shell, and seeing Haatchi cope with three legs has led the boy to feel differently about his own condition.
Seeing the change led Owen’s parents to get Haatchi qualified as a therapy dog. Now just over a year old, he’s scheduled to make regular visits to amputee soldiers rehabilitating from injuries suffered in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as sick children in hospitals and hospices.
Other IFAW award winners this year include former Olympian Fiona Oakes, from Essex, who runs a sanctuary for 400 rescued animals, veterinarian Vikki Fowler, who rescues and rehabilitates neglected horses, and Julie Hinks, who cares for and rehomes tortoises, many of which are rescued after being smuggled into the UK illegally.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anatolian, anatolian shepherd, animal action awards, animal of the year, animals, awards, brian may, disorder, dog, dogs, genetic, haatchi, hachi, hatchi, ifaw, international fund for animal welfare, owen howkins, pets, queen, Schwartz-Jampel, shepherd, therapy dogs