A rare skin condition brought theses two together, and now an eight-year-old boy has all the confidence he always needed.
When Rowdy, a black Labrador Retriever, started getting white spots all over his body, his owners believed it was just him ageing. He was eleven years old at the time, and his owner, Niki Umbenhower didn’t think much of it at first. But as the spots continued to grow and spread, the fur around his eyes became a bright white. This was when she knew something was up.
Rowdy was later diagnosed with the rare skin condition, vitiligo, by a local veterinarian. The condition occurs when the cells responsible for producing pigment die or don’t function properly. This causes skin to lose its colour, and the condition can affect every area of the body. Treatment can help, but currently it cannot be cured.
The same month that Rowdy was diagnosed, a young boy named Carter Blachard living in Arkansas, over 2,000 miles away was diagnosed with the same devastating condition. With each new spot appearing on his face, Carter’s confidence dropped.
He soon learned about Rowdy with the same condition. They developed a relationship but only a digital one at first. Carter was sent pictures of Rowdy, and the dog’s story taught him how to be happy in his own skin. But Carter’s mother, Stephanie Adcock, wished more for her young son. She worked with Rowdy’s owners to arrange a meeting in person.
After a year of communicating via emails, Carter and Rowdy finally met. Stephanie told KATU-TV;
“Really, it was life changing for him. It changed his childhood for the better, it was a gift I couldn’t give him.”
Rowdy couldn’t give Carter any words of encouragement, but his attitude and loving spirit was enough to boost the boy’s confidence levels. Stephanie explained;
“It couldn’t be any other person that made him feel better. It had to be Rowdy, it had to be a dog.”
Carter found a new best friend in Rowdy, and the dog’s gentle comfort gave him the courage to face his condition. The duo shares a special bond, but Carter couldn’t help but give Rowdy some critique. Carter says;
“He needs some more spots on his back.”