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Tag: stroke

Boy with Vitiligo meets the dog that has inspired him from afar — Rowdy the Lab

carterandrowdy

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.

carterrowdy2Last week, an anonymous donor from Salem donated $5,000, making the trip possible.

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)

A fond “adios” to the Taco Bell Chihuahua

tacobelldogGidget, the Chihuahua best known for her Taco Bell ad campaign, died from a stroke on Tuesday night at age 15.

“She made so many people happy,” Gidget’s trainer, Sue Chipperton, told  PEOPLE Magazine.

The mostly retired actor lived out her days laying in the sun – “I like to joke that it’s like looking after a plant,” said Chipperton – and entertaining at shoots when her trainer brought her along.

In addition to serving as Taco Bell’s spokesdog, Gidget had roles in a commercial for the ’90s edition of Trivial Pursuit and as Bruiser’s mom in Legally Blonde 2.

Chipperton said Gidget was a natural ham who enjoyed her time before the camera.

“One time, I kid you not, she actually pushed her stand-in out of the way because he was still there when she arrived on set,” Chipperton recalled. “Gidget always knew where the camera was.”

Inseparable: Nikkie and Natt

Natt Nevins was a fixture among the doggie crowd of Greenwich Village, where she was rarely seen without Nikkie, her 15-year-old dachsund, at her side.

When Nikkie was diagnosed with cancer last month, Nevins told some of her many dog park friends that she couldn’t imagine life without her dog.

Last week Nevins, 74, died — just a few days after suffering a massive stroke.

Nikkie died the next day.

Dozens of friends – including an army of dachshunds, Shih Tzu’s, Chihuahuas and other small dogs –  gathered at Nevins’ West Village apartment Thursday night to memorialize the well-loved duo, the New York Daily News reported.

Nevins rescued the long-haired dachshund when he was 1, after he’d been surrendered by a family with kids that burned him and tied cans to his legs.

Nevins was a regular at the Washington Square Park dog run, where she could often be found dispensing advice.  She regularly cared for neighborhood dogs while their guardians were at work.

Nevins was much more than a dog nanny, though. A former singer and entertainer, she spent 3-1/2 years in the U.S. Air Force performing for troops during the Korean War. She worked, until retirement, as a gerontologist, was a founding member of Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE), and the first woman on the board of directors of The Hetrick-Martin Institute, which provides safe havens for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth.