Connected through spots: Arkansas boy heads to Oregon to meet special dog

Photo of Carter Blanchard from Stephanie Adcock, alongside a photo of 'Rowdy' from Niki Umbenhower.

CANBY, Ore. (KATU) — A little boy's wish to meet a special dog in Canby, Oregon is about to come true.

The Canby dog and the boy from Arkansas share a rare skin disorder.

Rowdy the lab was born with all black fur. Three years ago, his owners noticed white spots throughout his body.

“Around the age of 11, he started to get just a little white. I didn't think anything of it, I just thought he was getting old,” Rowdy’s owner, Niki Umbenhower, said.

It turned out they aren’t just cute spots. Rowdy has a rare skin disorder called Vitiligo.

“The skin will develop a patch of pink or white, but it will lighten the skin in that area,” Umbenhower said.

More than 2,000 miles away in Searcy, Arkansas, a young boy named Carter Blanchard was diagnosed with the same condition.

“Carter was diagnosed and got Vitiligo the exact same month and year that rowdy did,” Carter’s mom Stephanie Adcock said.

She said her son struggled on a daily basis with every new spot that appeared on his face.

“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,” Adcock said.

Then, Adcock found pictures of Rowdy on Facebook.

“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.

Carter, 8, and Rowdy, 13, have kept a close digital friendship for years.

Stephanie says the meeting would be unforgettable - and unforgettable it will be. Stephanie and Carter hopped on a plane Saturday!

The two families worked to raise enough money to fly Carter to Oregon to meet Rowdy.

KOMO News' sister station KATU News plans to be there when Rowdy and Carter meet.

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