If you have a dog at home, you already know the power of a dog’s unconditional love. When you come home from a rough day, dogs intuitively know and will make you smile simply by wagging their tail and looking at you with their soulful eyes. The bond between humans and animals is incredibly special.
For kids, especially, having a pet in the house actually serves some pretty incredible purposes when it comes to their emotional development and even physical health. Living with and interacting with a family pet increases empathy and compassion. The gentle nature of many dogs makes them the perfect candidate for animal-assisted therapy programs, helping hospital patients, victims of abuse or neglect, and military veterans coping with wartime stresses and conditions like PTSD.
So it really comes as no surprise that when eight-year-old Carter Blanchard was feeling bummed about his vitiligo, a benign condition that causes loss of skin pigment, a four-legged pup helped him perk up and embrace his differences.
Meet Rowdy. He lives with his human mom, Niki Umbenhower, in Oregon. Rowdy also has vitiligo.
Carter lives in Arkansas and ever since his mom found Rowdy’s Facebook page, Carter has become proud of the spots that once caused him anxiety. “Right around the time we discovered Rowdy, [Carter] looked at me one night and said, ‘Your skin’s boring because you don’t have vitiligo,” said Carter’s mom told BuzzFeeds .
After being long distance pals for months, Carter was able to fly with his Mom to meet Rowdy in person. “You would think they grew up together. He immediately went to Rowdy.” So precious!
Keep on being adorable, you two!
If you would like to stay up to date on Rowdy and his mission to change hearts and minds, you can follow his Facebook page. And make sure to send this sweet story to anyone who would be touched by this heartwarming friendship!