CANBY, Ore. — An 8-year-old boy from Arkansas who has vitiligo, a rare skin disorder, has found confidence thanks to a dog who has the same disease.
Carter Blanchard and Rowdy, a 13-year-old Labrador retriever from Canby, Ore., have finally met up after being online buddies.
“Around the age of 11, he started to get just a little white. I didn’t think anything of it, I just thought he was getting old,” Rowdy’s owner Niki Umbenhower told KATU-TV.
“Carter was diagnosed and got vitiligo the exact same month and year that Rowdy did,” Carter’s mom Stephanie Adcock said.
Adcock said her son would come home from school and say “He hates his face and hates his skin.” That was until Adcock found photos of Rowdy on Facebook.
“I read that Rowdy had vitiligo and I was blown away, and when I showed Carter, he was so excited to see a dog that was famous for his Vitiligo,” Adcock said.
“[Rowdy] really changed the way he saw his own skin. It wasn’t a problem anymore. So ever since then, we have been keeping in touch.”
Adcock says seeing her boy full of confidence makes even the darkest days worth it.
“Really, it was life changing for him. It changed his childhood for the better, it was a gift I couldn’t give him,” Adcock said. “It couldn’t be any other person that made him feel better. It had to be Rowdy, it had to be a dog.”
Umbenhower wrote on a GoFundMe page that Rowdy had a seizure on Sunday. She has set up the page to help pay for his medical bills.
A separate GoFundMe was also set up to help other children with vitiligo meet Rowdy.