8-year-old Carter Blanchard of Arkansas has a new friend and a new comfort in his own skin thanks to one very special black Labrador from across the country.
Carter and White Eyed Rowdy, the black lab in question, have developed a heartwarming bond over the rare skin condition they share: both have vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that results in a loss of pigment in patches of the skin. The pair recently met for the first time in person after only seeing each other over the internet for the past year, reports WGN, after an anonymous local news viewer saw a story on the duo and donated $5,000 to make sure they could meet face to face — something Carter’s mother, Stephanie Adcock, said helped to fill her son with the confidence she always wanted him to possess. “Really, it was life-changing for him,” she explained. “It changed his childhood for the better. It was a gift I couldn’t give him.”
Dreams came true tonight!!! ❤❤ Carter and I were finally able to meet in person!! Check out my Facebook Fan Page "White Eyed Rowdy" for news clips from Oregon and Arkansas about our story!! #dreamcometrue #vitiligo #avrf #keepportlandrowdy #vitiligoworld #vitiligonation #vitiligogirls #vitiligopride #vitiligobeauty #vitiligoawareness #vitiligobeauties #nocuredontcare #vitiligo #dogs #dogsofig #dogsofinsta #dogsofinstgram #dogsofinstaworld #dogslife #handsomeboys #purelove
A post shared by White Eyed Rowdy (@white_eyed_rowdy) on Mar 18, 2017 at 11:13pm PDT
When Carter was first diagnosed with vitiligo in the middle of his kindergarten year, “he was really struggling with the transition on a personal level,” she told InsideEdition. “The kids weren’t being mean or vindictive, but they were saying what they observed and that was starting to bother him.” At one point, Carter stopped wanting to go to school at all because “I thought people would laugh, and tease me.”
But after some one-on-one time with Rowdy, everything’s changed. “He’s done a complete 180,” his mom explained. “We’ve come full circle. He’s proud of himself. He thinks we have boring skin because we don’t get to have vitiligo.”
Rowdy’s owner, Niki Umbenhower, was equally moved by witnessing the meeting. “I have goosebumps when I think about the moment they walked through the door,” she told KATU reporters. “I’m actually tearing up. It’s amazing.”
And Carter himself clearly found meeting a doggy-doppelganger to be amazing as well, joking that while the pups spots were fantastic, “he needs some more on his back.”
“It couldn’t be any other person that made him feel better,” his mom added. “It had to be Rowdy, it had to be a dog.”
But now it’s this very special dog that’s in need of help. The 14-year-old dog recently suffered a surprise seizure, and his owner, Umbenhower, has started a GoFundMe page to help support his recovery — not that any of that has stopped Rowdy from continuing to do what he does best: cheer up children.
UPDATE ON ROWDY . Rowdy saw a neurologist in the ER today. They are not sure if it was a seizure or a stroke or something else. They did a lot of tests and without a "much needed" (expensive) MRI and CT Scan, we may never know. He could have a tumor or a mass causing a lot of his issues. . We left with them prescribing a new medication for seizures as well as some codeine for his pain. This could be age related, an isolated event, or he may have more episodes like today. . I want to thank EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU for the prayers, well wishes, and support! It is truly overwhelming to see the kindness and love this pup has from around the world! We love you all! Please continue to follow along the amazing adventure we are having with Carter and his mom from Arkansas! While Rowdy started his day with a scare and a trip to the ER, he was able to end it meeting up with Carter, another beautiful little girl Emma from Eugene, and some dear family friends for a play date and then squeezed in a photo shoot to boot. . This dog never ceases to amaze me with his resilience!!
A post shared by White Eyed Rowdy (@white_eyed_rowdy) on Mar 20, 2017 at 12:10am PDT
Once Rowdy is feeling better, can someone please introduce both him and Carter to the amazing young woman who turns her vitiligo into art? Something tells us they’d be fast friends.
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