Sherlock the schnauzer suffers from a rare form of canine albinism, which means he cannot stay in the harsh Australian sun for prolonged periods of time or he will get severely burned.
The rare genetic condition causes a lack of melanin in the skin, which meant that Sherlock was born with pure white fur and electric blue eyes despite his mother being a typical black schnauzer.
Sherlock was abandoned by his previous owners when he was just a newborn. He was placed in temporary care with Netta McKay, who has been an animal foster mom for the past 10 years, but she quickly fell in love with his beautiful nature and decided to permanently adopt him.
“He is such a relaxed and chilled-out dog and has the funniest little personality,” McKay said.
“I tell my husband that he is never allowed to walk him on his own because Sherlock is real chick magnet — especially with those sunglasses”
McKay, who used to work in the tax department, said that she and her business-owner husband, Peter, knew that Sherlock would fit in perfectly with their family because they knew how to look after an albino dog properly.
Albinism in pooches can cause vision and hearing problems, but apart from his unusual appearance, Sherlock has no lasting symptoms. And his dog sunglasses — dubbed “doggles” — have even seen him rack up thousands of fans on Instagram and Facebook.
“Albino dogs are not for everyone; they’re indoor dogs,” McKay said. “He can’t just have free access to go outside where he could sit and sunbake or he would get really burnt. They get sunburnt so easily and are more likely to get skin cancer, which could be fatal.”
McKay and her husband treat Sherlock with extra TLC. She explained: “We have to be really careful. You could never take him out in the boiling midday sun. We can only go for walks outside in the late afternoon, when the sun is nearly set or when it’s really overcast. We still need to lather him with sunscreen and put on his sunglasses because the sun really hurts his eyes and he will constantly be squinting.”
While caring for an albino puppy requires a lot of work, they wouldn’t change a thing about. McKay, said, “We’re just so lucky that he’s happy and healthy. We love him so much.”
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