CANBY, Ore. – An 8-year-old Arkansas boy with a rare skin disorder met a dog in Oregon with the same condition and it’s something the boy and his mom say they will never forget.
Carter Blanchard and Rowdy, a black Lab, are connected through the white spots caused by vitiligo, a disorder without a known cause that destroys pigment-producing cells.
For the last year, Carter and Rowdy only knew each other digitally, but Rowdy taught Carter to love his skin despite vitiligo. After seeing a KATU report about the pair, an anonymous viewer donated $5,000 to make sure they could meet face to face.
“I definitely knew we would come soon, I just didn’t think it would be within two days,” says Carter’s mom Stephanie Adcock.
Adcock says Carter gained the confidence she always wanted him to have. “Really it was life changing for him,” Adcock said. “It changed his childhood for the better, it was a gift I couldn’t give him.”
Now, seeing her confident boy doing flips and stopping just long enough to pet Rowdy, she says even his darkest days were worth it. “It couldn’t be any other person that made him feel better,” said Adcock. “It had to be Rowdy, it had to be a dog.”
It was a long awaited moment for Rowdy and his owner, Niki Umbenhower, who said, “I have goosebumps when I think about the moment they walked through the door, I’m actually tearing up. It’s amazing.”
Adcock said she was touched by the meeting and is grateful to everyone involved.
“I wasn’t 100% sure we were going to get them together and now we have those memories,” Carter’s mother said. “This is far more than we ever deserved, and so we are just overwhelmed with the support.”
Thanks to an impromptu photoshoot, they can keep their memories forever.
As for Carter, he loves his four-legged friend, but says Rowdy needs more spots, joking, “He needs some more on his back.”
Now, however, it’s Rowdy who needs help, his owner says.
On Sunday, Rowdy suffered a seizure. Doctors say he needs more medical tests to determine what’s wrong. If you would like to help Rowdy, a GoFundMe has been set up.