A rare skin condition known as vitiligo has previously made headlines on a world-wide scale due to celebrities who have suffered from it, ranging from late pop-superstar Michael Jackson to supermodel Winnie Harlow. Now, a black Labrador Retriever from Canby, Oregon, has gone viral after photos of his unusual-looking fur has captured the eyes and hearts of many.
Rowdy, who is already 13-years-old, has now developed some striking white patches around his eyes – a fact that stands out even more due to his beautiful black fur coat – due to a painless skin condition known as vitiligo. Vitiligo, usually affects humans with auto-immune diseases, yet its’ exact cause remains unknown. While it is utterly painless, vitiligo causes patches in a person’s skin to lose pigment, making white patches randomly throughout the body.
Rowdy now has two big white patches around both of his eyes, a fact that more often than not makes bystanders sop and stare. People often stop Rowdy and his owners, Niki and Tim Umbenhower, while they’re out and about minding their own business and ask if they have painted the dog themselves. It goes to such an extent, in fact, that his owners describe him as ‘like our own little celebrity around town,’ said Tim. ‘Everybody loves to stop us and wonder what we did to him or if we painted it on there.’
Check out the photo below taken on August 2014, when Rowdy’s vitiligo first started showing near the corners of his eyes.
The black Lab is used to the attention by now, as his condition has slowly being developing since August 2014. Not only is Rowdy used to the attention, but he is now also used to having drama around his life as he has unfortunately survived two previous life-threatening incidents before. The curious Lab had to get his stomach pumped after swallowing water from a toxic-waste infested river, and also managed to survive an accidental shotgun fired by police when they thought they saw a burglar near his home.
Luckily for Rowdy and his owners, his skin condition poses no threat to his health, except physical changes due to the remarkable patches around his eyes.