CANBY, OREGON — A child with a rare skin condition found it hard to look in the mirror, until he met a dog with the same condition.
Since kindergarten, Carter Blanchard, 8, has been developing blotchy white patches on his body. Carter suffers from vitiligo, a disorder that destroys the cells that make pigment in the skin, leaving behind random patches of discoloration. Roughly 1 in 200 people suffer from the condition, including notables Joe Rogan, Jon Hamm, and Michael Jackson. The skin abnormality has no known cure, and remains a mystery to doctors.
Carter’s mother, Stephanie Adcock, still recalls the moment he got in the car after school one day and told her, “Mom, I hate my face.” Watching her son lose confidence with every new white spot he discovered, she felt helpless, until the day she became aware of a dog in Canby, Oregon, who suffered from the same disease. Rowdy the dog, a 14-year-old purebred black lab, began developing white spots around his eyes in August 2014, roughly the same time as Carter.
As Rowdy’s photos were quickly garnering the attention of the internet, Adcock showed the old dog’s pictures to her son in hopes he might see himself in a different light. After developing an online bond with Rowdy and his family, Carter’s confidence started to grow faster than the vitiligo could spread, and the only thing left to do was set up a play date for the two.
Donations, including $5000 from an anonymous donor, started pouring in to help fund Carter’s trip from Searcy, Arkansas to Rowdy’s home in Oregon. On March 19, the patchy pair finally got to meet.
Earlier that day, Rowdy reportedly suffered a seizure, leading veterinarians treating him to believe he may not have much longer to live. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the dog’s family pay for an MRI and CT Scan.