Haatchi the three-legged stray - a Crufts winner who changed little Owen's life

Simon Garner
11 March 2013
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Seven year old Owen Howkins holds the trophy at Crufts 2013, NEC, Birmingham after his dog, Haatchi, an Anatolian Shepherd Dog, won first place in the Friends for Life award

A three-legged stray dog which has helped to turn around the life of a seven year old boy with a rare genetic disease has been awarded a top Crufts award.

Haatchi, an Anatolian Shepherd Dog, won first place in the Friends for Life award at the Birmingham NEC last night.

The dog, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, had to have a severely damaged leg and tail amputated after being deliberately tied to a railway line and struck by a train.

Just a month after his near death experience he joined the family of Owen Howkins.

Owen has a rare genetic condition called Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome, which causes his muscles to be permanently tense.

The youngster, who was withdrawn and painfully shy, now has a new lease of life thanks to his beloved dog.

He fundraises for a range of charities with Haatchi and enjoys socialising on dog walks and at dog shows.

Colleen Drummond, the fiancee of Owen's father Will, told The Sun: "As soon as they met, the effect Haatchi had on Owen was incredible. Before his arrival, Owen didn't like going out."

Colleen, who has been part of the family since Owen was three, continued: "Owen used to be scared of strangers but he now 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."

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[More pictures: All the action from this year's Crufts]

Haatchi was up against four other dogs for the title of Friends for Life, all selected for their outstanding bravery and devotion to their owners.

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog won after receiving the most votes from the public.

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