Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Lean On Me: A Boy In Need and A Three-Legged Dog

Owen, a withdrawn boy, and Haatchi, an abused dog, become the best of friends.

We all know how important the presence of other animals in our lives is. We bring nonhuman animals (animals) into our homes, we rescue and rehabilitate those in need, and we seek out animals in nature when we're down and out.

I woke up this morning to this heartwarming story of a young boy named Owen, whose fear and anxiety of open spaces was making it impossible for him to venture outside, and his close companion, a three-legged Anatolian shepherd named Haatchi, and it's well-worth sharing widely.

According to this story, "Owen became 'withdrawn' at school when he realised a rare genetic condition made him different to other boys and girls... Owen suffers from Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, which means his muscles are always tense."

Owen's father, Will, adopted Haatchi from a local rescue center and the two have become inseparable friends, rescuing one another from lives of loneliness and misery. Haatchi had also had a very difficult start in life. He'd been tied to a railway line and hit by a train and suffered horrific injuries. Days later, when he was found, he had a mangled tail and back leg and the leg had to be amputated. 

The pictures in this story will move you and make it clear just how other animals can profoundly change our lives when other more conventional remedies cannot. Indeed, this and other stories about how humans and other animals can rescue one another should make people realize that animals can indeed be considered to be "conventional remedies." Haatchi, who is now a "Pets as Therapy" dog, has been named "Animal of the Year" by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The teaser image, copyright of Robert Nemeti Solvent News, can be found here.

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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