Monday, March 31, 2014

Haatchi and Little B: The inspiring true story of one boy and his dog by Wendy Holden

The dog that would one day become Haatchi did not have an auspicious beginning - left on the train tracks to die as a five month old puppy his fate seemed sealed - but he was a survivor.  Found and rescued he was fed into the rescue network first under the RSPCA and then under the care of other dog rescue groups, the loss of most of his tail and one of his legs just added to story.  Despite everything that had happened the puppy, soon named Haatchi after a famously loyal Japanese Akita, was a loving and gentle dog and everyone who met him felt he deserved a second chance.

Haatchi's story soon collides with the story of Owen, affectionately known as Little B who has a rare genetic disorder that causes his muscles to contract - a disorder so rare that only a few people in the world are known to have it.  Loved completely by his parents, Little B is a brave little soul who you can't help but cheer for despite the challenges he faces on a daily basis.  When his parents divorced it was not the end of the world, but the beginning of a new one with the introduction of Colleen into their family, but Colleen is not the miracle worker who brought Little B out of his shell - that was Haatchi.

An Anatolian shepherd is not a small dog, and there was some concern that Haatchi would not be able to lead a normal life because large dogs often fail to thrive as a "tripod" - their massive weight is simply too much for their single back limb to manage.  Haatchi landed on his paws though, as his family makes sure that he receives all the care he needs to remain happy and healthy, and that love is repaid through a very special friendship that develops between Haatchi and Little B.  Through the good times and the bad, the trials and the tribulations, Little B and Haatchi are side-by-side - a shining example of the love between a boy and his dog, a friendship that has broken down barriers and brought sunshine into the lives of thousands (if not millions ) of people all around the world.

There are some truly amazing stories out there about the benefits of the human companion animal bond, and Haatchi and Little B is one of the few books about the HCAB between an animal and a child.  The story itself is deceptively simple - a boy facing medical challenges meets a dog who is also facing medical challenges  and together they forge a deep friendship and never let the world get them down.  Built around this deceptively simple story is the romance between his dad and his step mother to be, the challenges his parents faced (and face) with diagnosis and treatment, the amazing touch of karma that seems to be supporting them all, and the lives of the people they touch.  

The one disappointment for me was the writing style of the author which seemed jerky at times and at other times seemed to have some errors - it was also a bit wonky in places with timing seeming to go back and forth in time every now and then rather than keeping the story fluid and linear.  It was a bug bear rather than a turn off, but it did take some of the shine off the story.  The colour plates in the book are gorgeous and touching, and show the love Little B and Haatchi share for each other.

If you like this book then try:
Reviewed by Brilla

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