by: Jared Leone, Cox Media Group National Content Desk | WSBTV Atlanta
CANBY, Ore. – White spots started to form on Rowdy, a black Labrador retriever, a few years ago.
Niki Umbenhower, his owner, thought the 13-year-old dog was aging. But Rowdy was diagnosed with vitiligo, a rare skin disorder.
More than 2,000 miles away, Carter Blanchard, 8, was given the same diagnosis in Searcy, Alabama, according to KATU.
“I used to pick up Carter from school from kindergarten and first grade, and the first thing he would say is that he hates his face and hates his skin,” his mother, Stephanie Adcock, told KATU. “I read that Rowdy had vitiligo and I was blown away, and when I showed Carter he was so excited to see a dog that was famous for his vitiligo.”
The families talked for over the last year and decided that because Rowdy is approaching 14 years old, it would be better the two to meet sooner rather than later.
Carter and his mother were flown to Oregon to meet Rowdy over the weekend.
UPDATE ON ROWDY . 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! It is truly overwhelming to see the kindness and love this pup has from around the world! We love you all! Please continue to follow along the amazing adventure we are having with Carter and his mom from Arkansas! While Rowdy started his day with a scare and a trip to the ER, he was able to end it meeting up with Carter, another beautiful little girl Emma from Eugene, and some dear family friends for a play date and then squeezed in a photo shoot to boot. . This dog never ceases to amaze me with his resilience!!
“Really, it was life changing for him. It changed his childhood for the better, and it was a gift I couldn’t give him,” Adcock told ABC News.
Rowdy has met with children with vitiligo for years, but this encounter was especially memorable.
“The meeting was (and has been) one of the most gratifying, rewarding things I’ve personally ever experienced,” Umbenhower wrote on a GoFundMe page that helps raise funds so children can meet Rowdy, who suffered a seizure on Sunday.
His health is continuing to deteriorate, according to another GoFundMe page that Umbenhower created to help pay the animal’s medical bills.