As the saying goes, a dog is man’s best friend. But for Carter Blanchard, the relationship has transformed his life.
The eight-year-old has vitiligo, a disorder caused by a lack of melanin, a pigment in the skin.
As a result, Carter has white patches around his eyes and until recently suffered from a lack of confidence.
However, the little boy is now embracing his unique look after befriending a famous black labrador called Rowdy, who has the same white patches around his eyes.
The 14-year-old dog, who has more than 67 000 followers on Instagram, was diagnosed with vitiligo in 2014 – the same year as Carter.
The pair built up a friendship online after Carter’s mother, Stephanie Adcock, from Arkansas in the US, contacted Rowdy’s owner, Niki Umbenhower in Oregon, after seeing Rowdy’s photos.
They met for the first time on Saturday thanks to a fundraising drive.
Mrs Umbenhower, 48, said: "It was as if they had known each other for ever. Carter walked right in and just knelt down and started petting him.
"He was on the floor playing and Rowdy just kept walking around him and he was even barking and hopping around because of all the energy and excitement in the air."
She added: "We’ve helped that little boy do a 180 in the way he views his skin and we want to do that for as many kids as we possibly can."