Rowdy the black Labrador lived most of his life as a normal dog with his family in Oregon, but when he turned 12, something strange started happening to his face.

The fur around his eyes began turning white in small patches, and within a year, they had developed into full circles. Nobody could figure out what was causing them until a veterinarian suggested it could be vitiligo, a long-term condition that causes patches of skin to lose their pigment and become white. A biopsy confirmed that he did have it — and now he’s raising awareness through the American Vitiligo Research Foundation and helping children with the condition to embrace their unique appearances.

For the past year, Rowdy has been inspiring Carter, an eight-year-old boy from Arkansas with vitiligo, to love his skin. Carter’s mom saw that he was struggling to accept his condition before — then she found photos of Rowdy online.

“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,” Adcock said.

They’ve been keeping in touch with Rowdy’s owner, Niki Umbenhower, ever since. Carter hoped to someday be able to meet Rowdy in person, and when an anonymous donor heard about them, they decided to help them meet by donating $5,000 for travel expenses.

When they finally got to meet, Adcock says it gave Carter a huge confidence boost and changed him for the better. “I have goosebumps when I think about the moment they walked through the door. I’m getting emotional, it’s amazing,” Umbenhower said.

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“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.”

Unfortunately, Rowdy suffered from a seizure shortly after meeting Carter. He will need tests including expensive MRI and CT scans to determine the cause of the issue. Umbenhower has set up a GoFundMe page for anyone who’d like to contribute to his medical expenses.

(via Fox 4 News and KATU)

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If you’d like to help Rowdy to keep inspiring others and stay healthy, you can donate to his care here. Please share his story with others who may like to contribute.

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