A rare skin condition brought them together, and now an eight-year-old boy has the confidence he always needed.
When Rowdy, a black Labrador Retriever, started getting white spots all over his body, his owners assumed it was because of his age. He was eleven years old at the time, and his owner, Niki Umbenhower didn't think much of it. But as the spots continued to grow and the fur around his eyes became a brilliant white, she knew this wasn't average canine aging.
With help from a local veterinarian, Rowdy was soon diagnosed with a rare skin condition called vitiligo. The condition occurs when the cells responsible for producing pigment stop functioning or die. Skin loses its color, and the condition can affect every area of the body, including eyes, mouth, and hair. Treatment can help, but it cannot be cured.
The same month that Rowdy was diagnosed, a little boy 2,000 miles away was hearing the same devastating news. Carter Blachard, eight years old and living with his family in Arkansas, was also diagnosed with vitiligo. With each new spot that appeared on his face, Carter's confidence waned.
He soon learned about the dog living thousands of miles away with the same condition, but their relationship was a digital one. Carter was sent pictures of Rowdy, and the dog's story taught him how to be happy in his skin. But Carter's mother, Stephanie Adcock, wanted more for her son. She worked with Rowdy's owners to arrange a meeting.
After a year of communicating through emails, Carter finally met Rowdy. 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."
What do you think of Carter and Rowdy's friendship? Let us know in the comments.
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