Meet Carter, an eight-year-old boy with Vitiligo. What is Vitiligo? Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition characterized by patches of the skin losing their pigment. The patches of skin affected become white and usually have sharp margins. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that determines the color of skin, die or stop functioning. This causes slowly-enlarging white patches of irregular shapes to appear on the skin, over time. Vitiligo affects all races but may be more noticeable in people with darker skin.
Carter was in kindergarten when his skin started to change. Carter's mom, Stephanie, said that for awhile her son didn't want to go to school because he was ashamed of how his skin looked. Carter was struggling with his condition, and Stephanie knew she needed to do something to help him.
Now meet Rowdy a 14-year-old Labrador Retriever with the same affliction. Both were diagnosed with this disease in August of 2014 when patches started appearing around both of their eyes.
When Carter's mom heard about Rowdy, she knew she needed to take her boy to meet the pup. Thanks to generous donations from the public, Stephanie and Carter flew more than 2,000 miles, across the country from Arkansas to Oregon, to meet Rowdy. Carter's mom said she thought that meeting a dog that was praised for his condition would help Carter come to terms with his own markings. And she was right! These two became best buddies right away!
Niki, Rowdy's owner, said, “In all honesty, it was as if they had known each other forever.” Carter walked right in, took off his jacket and just knelt down and started petting him. “He was on the floor playing, and Rowdy just kept walking around him and laying down by him, and he even was barking and hopping around because of all the energy and excitement in the air.”
When we go through something difficult or face hard situations, we all need someone to say to us, “I understand, I've been there!” That's what Rowdy did for Carter; he showed him the power of “Me, too!” Now, Carter is able to accept his skin the way it is; he said he's proud of the spots that made him famous saying, "That's how God made me!" What a great story.