This Adorable Labrador With A Rare Skin Condition Is Teaching Kids That It’s Okay To Be Different

Meet Rowdy. Rowdy is a chocolate labrador with a rare skin condition called vitiligo, a disorder that causes a loss of skin pigmentation. As a result of this, Rowdy has bright white markings around his eyes, which really marks him out from the crowd. And now a charity that campaigns for awareness of the condition in humans, the American Vitiligo Research Foundation (AVRF), have adopted Rowdy to front a campaign designed to teach children that it’s okay to be different.

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Rowdy will star in adverts campaigning against the bullying of children with vitiligo, encouraging them to be comfortable in their own skin. Rowdy’s owner, Niki Umbenhower, from Canby, Oregon, said:

“Rowdy’s become a celebrity. It’s exhausting taking him anywhere because people always stop us and comment how he looks like an orca or a reverse panda. They ask me if I have painted his eyes. He’s always been special and a bit of a character, even when he was young. I think it’s great that he can help raise awareness and educate people about vitiligo.”

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Rowdy has lived eventful life, which has included being shot by a police officer, and having his stomach pumped after drinking toxic water. Niki continued:

“He’s 14 years old now and has been through a lot. We say he has nine lives because of everything that has happened to him. He’s always getting himself injured or into pickles. One day we will make a movie of his life – I can see him in Hollywood.”

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“Stella Pavlides, founder of ARVF, said, “The kids will love Rowdy – he’ll help them to feel good about the condition. The foundation supports finding a cure through an alternative to animal testing, so it’s great to have Rowdy on board.”

Watch a video about Rowdy’s story below:


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