A seven-year-old British boy with a fear of open spaces has finally overcome his phobia, thanks to Haatchi, a three-legged dog.
Owen Howkins, suffering from a rare genetic disorder, was too afraid to leave his house until his family adopted the Anatolian Shepherd.
Owen had become
withdrawn from social situations when he realised that he was different from other boys and girls at school.
The condition, known as Schwartz-Jampel, causes his muscles to be permanently tense.
It left him scared to talk to people and worried about leaving his home in Basingstoke, Hants.
When his family adopted Haatchi, they were thrilled with the positive effect he had on Owen's confidence.
As well as leaving the house to take his dog for walks, Owen is now happy to talk to strangers — telling them all about his energetic pet, the Sun reported.
And he now feels differently about his condition after seeing Haatchi take his "medicine" — a mix of manuka honey, salmon oil and supplements.
Like Owen, Haatchi had a difficult start in life, suffering horrific injuries when he was tied to a railway line and hit by a train around ten months ago.
He was found days later, cowering, with a mangled tail and back leg.
By the time he was taken to a vet's surgery, his leg and tail had to be amputated.
15-month-old Haatchi has recently completed his training as a Pets as Therapy dog and will soon begin visiting soldier amputees injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as sick and terminally-ill children.