Crufts nod for disabled boy's dog 'hero'

Owen Howkins and Haatchi Haatchi is gentle and likes cuddling up on the sofa with Owen, said Will Howkins

Related Stories

A three-legged dog which helped a disabled seven-year-old Hampshire boy become more confident has been nominated for an award at Crufts 2013.

Haatchi, an Anatolian shepherd, had to have his back left leg and tail amputated after someone tied him to a railway line and he was hit by a train.

He was adopted by the family of seven-year-old Owen Howkins, of Basingstoke, who has a rare genetic condition.

Owen said: "Haatchi has changed my life."

The seven-year-old has Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, which causes his muscles to be permanently tense, and uses a wheelchair.

'Magical connection'

He said: "I used to be scared of strangers, then Haatchi came along and now I'm not and that's how he changed my life.

"I didn't really meet many others with disabilities and felt like the odd one out, which made me really sad.

"But when I saw Haatchi and saw how strong he was, even though he only had three legs, I became stronger myself. I love him so much."

Haatchi had been due to be put down, but was saved by a charity.

Owen's father, Will Howkins, 34, said the pair were best friends from the moment they met a year ago.

"It seemed like there was a magical connection between the two of them where they knew something was different between each other - Owen didn't know what was wrong with Haatchi and vice versa."

Mr Howkins said Haatchi's story "brings a few tears to a few people" when his son tells it to strangers while out dog-walking.

"But I think it's a nice story, that something so horrific and terrible can actually work out good in the long run."

Haatchi is one of five dog "heroes" competing in the public vote for the Friends for Life award at next month's Crufts 2013.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More England stories

RSS

Features

  • Shinji Mikamo as a boy, and Hiroshima bomb cloudLove and the bomb

    The Japanese man who lost everything but found peace


  • Northern League supporters at the party's annual meeting in 2011Padania?

    Eight places in Europe that also want independence


  • scottie dogShow-stealers

    How Scottie dogs became a symbol of Scotland


  • Hamas rally in the West Bank village of Yatta, 2006Hamas hopes

    Why the Palestinian group won't back down yet


  • The outermost coffin of Tutankhamun 'Tut-mania'

    How discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb changed popular culture


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.