Little Owen is a loving boy who like kids his age wears a twinkle in the eyes. What separates him from other children is a rare genetic condition called Schwartz Jampel Syndrome which causes his muscles to be permanently tense. At the tender age of seven, the realization of being different can be catastrophic for a young lad. The constant scrutiny of staring eyes wasn’t welcomed by Owen and hence he gradually withdrew from his social interactions and preferred to stay at home.
It all changed when Owen’s step-mom, Colleen brought home…wait for it, a three-legged dog, Haatchi, who was also missing the tail. As fate would have it, the two friends have relied on each other’s strengths and have scripted a modern day fairy tale of friendship against odds. Together, the celebrated couple has starred dog shows and brought a smile to sick and terminally-ill children. They also plan to motivate soldier amputees injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Along the way Haatchi has amassed not only love of the people but a kitty of felicitations. In 2012, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) conferred him with Animal of the year award. He also won Drontal Dog Of The Year Award.
Guess you can take the tail out of a dog but not the inherent love. What the world may see as a disorder the genial dog barely notices. It’s because we dogs unlike homo sapiens see heart and there’s this thing with heart – it has nothing to do with physical manifestations.
As I saw on a placard while browsing through Haatchi’s photographs, It’s not how many legs or wheels it’s who journeys with you. It’s a story that moves us beyond words and before you read on; here’s the other angle of the story. The chapter would not have been possible if Owen’s mother hadn’t adopted Haatchi in the first place. Haatchi, who had lost a leg after being tied to a railway track by an evil ‘human’. It was a brave decision for we can barely imagine how much an effort the family would have to put in to ensure proper care of its princes.
Here’s Haatchi’s story in his own words:
In January 2012, when I was approximately 5 months old, a very bad human deliberately tied me to railway line in North London and I was hit by a train. The impact severed off most of my tail and critically injured my rear left leg. I managed to stagger away and hid for around 5 days.
I was rescued by the RSPCA who tried to save my leg but there was too much infection. As a result, in order to save my life, they amputated what was left of my tail and completely removed my leg at the London North (Harmsworth Memorial) Animal Hospital. I was then placed in a foster home to recover but was attacked by another dog whilst there so they sent me back to the RSPCA. Because of this the decision was made that I would be put to sleep. Fortunately one of the staff members, who could not bear the thought of me not having a chance at life, rang UK German Shepherd Rescue who have a No Kill policy and asked them to register me on their books to avoid me being put to death. They agreed immediately and rang two of the most wonderful people iAn my life called Ross McCarthy and James Hearle from a company called Dogs and Kisses. They dropped what they were doing on that lovely Sunday afternoon and drove like crazy to a motorway service station to collect me. I took one look at them and knew they were good humans who would never hurt me and would make my dream of a wonderful life come true. I limped over to them and without any fuss or fear got into their vehicle and went to their big doggy home. I got out of the car, walked into their kitchen, sleepily greeted the numerous dogs, flopped down and drifted off to sleep knowing I was safe. Ross and James then asked all of their dog loving friends if anyone would be able to offer me a good home. This is how my mummy first learned about me. Mummy (Colleen) came to visit me at Ross and James house and the rest is history. I moved to my forever home on the evening of the 18th February 2012 just 6 weeks after my operation.
I met Little B when he woke up the following morning and knew I had found the best companion in the whole wide world! I look forward to spending the rest of my life with Little B and hope to make other people happy Little B (Little Buddy/Owen Howkins) is my bestest forever friend. Owen lives with a condition called Schwartz Jampel Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder which causes his muscles to be permanently tense. Although this affects his body it in no way affects his mind, heart or soul which for me from my doggy point of view are the most important and relevant parts of a human being. To that end, in my fluffy eyes, my Little B is perfect and no one will ever convince me otherwise
I am now a Therapy dog and would love to work at Amputee Wards and Rehabilitation Centres. I admire anyone who strives to give animals the chance to lead a pain free fulfilling and loving life and home. Please do not overlook an animal who has physical challenges, we never let these get in the way of our happiness so why would you?
It was a serendipitous finding to have come across a post by Haatchi’s mom on Dog with Blog’s facebook page that led us to discover this heartwarming story which will now forever be our swansong of hope. Here’s wishing Haatchi, Owen and the family all the love and wishes from this Indian dog.
PS To know more on Haatchi and Little B, connect with them on facebook.