If you’re looking for a reason to cry, here’s a good one. Eight-year-old Carter Blanchard from Arkansas has made a new best friend, a Labrador named Rowdy. Both Blanchard and Rowdy were diagnosed with skin diseases in the same month and year. Blanchard was just five when he was diagnosed with vitiligo, a disease that causes the loss of skin color in patches.
Once his skin pigmentation began changing, Blanchard struggled with his self-confidence. According to his mother, Stephanie Adcock, each new spot brought on a daily struggle. 2,000 miles away, Rowdy was dealing with the same physical changes.
Rowdy and Blanchard met digitally at first but that’s all that Blanchard needed to get a necessary confidence boost. “Really, it was life-changing for him. It changed his childhood for the better, it was a gift I couldn’t give him,” Adcock told ABC.
It was uncertain if the pair would ever get to meet but after receiving many generous donations, Blanchard and his mother were able to make the trip to Portland, Oregon where Rowdy lives with his owner, Niki Umbenhower. Umbenhower was overcome with emotion when the two finally met. She gets goosebumps just thinking about when Blanchard first came into the room.
Now, Blanchard and Rowdy were able to play together, at last, with Blanchard even performing flips for his new best friend.
“Even his darkest days were worth it,” Adcock said. “It couldn’t be any other person that made him feel better. It had to be Rowdy, it had to be a dog.”
“Getting to pet him” is Blanchard’s favorite part of being with Rowdy. He loves Rowdy a lot, but he does think that Rowdy could do with a few more spots, especially on his back.