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Boy with Rare Muscle Condition Finds New Strength from Three-Legged Dog

Posted November 06, 2014 in A Pet's Life

9-year-old Owen Howkins suffers from a rare muscle disease called Schwartz-Jampel syndrome. According to Owen’s father, Will Howkins, Owen’s muscles are, “always in a state of tension, they never relax.” As a result, Owen has limited balance. His stiff muscles require that he use a walking frame to move short distances and a wheelchair for anything longer. Owen stoically endures daily pain as a result of his constantly cramping muscles. Despite all of this, when Owen speaks about his best friend Haatchi, a rescued Anatolian Shepherd, he does so with a smile on his face and overwhelming love for the dog that made him, “confident.”

Owen’s inspirational story was first told in 2013. That award winning video can be seen below, as shared on YouTube by a Boy and His Dog. Owen describes Haatchi’s story: “Haatchi got tied to a railway line and got hit by a train in North London…RSPCA found him and then Ross and James adopted him. Then he was feeling bad and then he came to us…He does look after me.” Owen’s drawings accompany this moving story turning it into an emotional tale that you’ll need to see to fully grasp.

The bond between Owen and Haatchi was immediate and lifelong. Colleen Drummond, who first spotted the dog on facebook, describes it as, “Utterly incredible…electric…spiritual.” While Owen says that Haatchi changed his life.

The pair was nominated, and won the 2013 Crufts ‘Friends for Life’ Award. It was an overwhelming experience for Owen, but only the beginning of his amazing adventure.

Recently, The Telegraph reported that Owen and Haatchi’s last video has inspired a sequel (also seen below), and a bestselling book has been released titled 'haatchi and little b' (as Owen is also known by). This year, Owen has been busy with radio interviews and talk show appearances. He has also received supportive post cards from all over the world. He describes the experience as “Amazing.” In fact, every part of this story is amazing. Just try to get through the videos below without feeling inspired by this brave duo.

Haatchi and Little B return in heartwarming video...

This story was selected for our series: “Heartwarming Stories for Your Holiday.”

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Jason has over 6 years of experience in the pet health industry and is managing editor of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.

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The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.