An 8-year-old Arkansas boy got to meet the dog who has inspired him from afar for the past year.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, Carter Blanchard, who has Vitiligo, an auto-immune disease that causes skin to lose its pigmentation, flew to Oregon over the weekend to meet Rowdy, a 14-year-old black lab with the same condition.
Rowdy is an ambassador for the American Vitiligo Research Association. He developed Vitiligo more than two years ago, giving the 14-year-old dog’s face the appearance of a panda in reverse.
With his owners, he works to further understanding of the condition, and help children — often embarrassed over and teased about the condition — to learn to be comfortable in the skin they’re in.
Carter, for example, began struggling with his self worth after his appearance changed when he was in kindergarten, his mother, Stephanie Adcock, said.
“He would go from room to room in my home looking at every mirror. I remember the day I picked him up from school when he said, ‘Mom, I hate my face,'” Adcock wrote in a letter to Ellen DeGeneres. “As his mother, it broke my heart that I could not change this situation for him.”
Earlier this year, Carter’s mother saw pictures online of Rowdy. She shared them with her son and contacted Rowdy’s owners, who included Carter in a video about Rowdy that went viral last fall.
When Carter saw the video, “He broke out in the biggest smile, according to his mother, and he said, “Me and Rowdy are famous.”
Carter started looking at his condition differently.
“For the first time in 2 years, Carter was proud of himself and his Vitiligo,” Adcock said in the letter. “He even said, ‘Mom, your skin is boring because you don’t have Vitiligo.’ Rowdy changed my son’s childhood. He changed our home and our lives.”
With Rowdy’s health declining rapidly, his owners decided they wanted Rowdy and Carter to meet, and one of his owners, Niki Umbenhower, started a GoFundMe campaign to allow Carter and his mother to make the trip from Searcy, Arkansas to Canby, Oregon.
Carter and his mom flew to Oregon Saturday and Carter and Rowdy met for the first time Sunday, KGW in Portland reported.
“The meeting was (and has been) one of the most gratifying, rewarding things I’ve personally ever experienced,” Umbenhower said.
Carter and his mother will return to Arkansas tomorrow.
Rowdy, meanwhile, wasn’t doing so well. On Sunday, he had a seizure.
His owner updated the situation Monday on Instagram:
“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!”
(Photos: By Niki Umbenhower / Instagram)
Posted: March 22nd, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: American Vitiligo Research Association, animals, arkansas, black lab, Carter Blanchard, dog, dogs, inspiration, inspired, instagram, lab, labrador retriever, Niki Umbenhower, oregon, pet, pets, pigmentation, rowdy, seizure, skin, social media, stroke, video, vitiligo, white-eyed Rowdy