An albino dog’s life went from a rocky start to smooth sailing when the canine was outfitted with a pair of suave sunglasses that protect him from the elements and have made him a social media star.
Sherlock the schnauzer was born in Australia with a rare form of canine albinism, giving the pup pure white fur and electric blue eyes.
The dog was reportedly given up by its first owners shortly after being born and was placed in temporary care with Netta McKay, who had fostered animals for 10 years before she fell in love with Sherlock.
“I had absolutely no intention of keeping Sherlock,” McKay told Caters. “I foster lots of different dogs and I always do the right thing and send them off to their new home. But I just fell in love with him instantly; there was something about him. I didn’t know what to expect but I just knew he belonged to our family.”
McKay adopted Sherlock and set out to give the pooch the best home possible.
Sherlock’s albinism makes it very dangerous for the dog to spend time in the harsh Australian sun. If the lovable lapdog is exposed to light for long periods of time, he risks severe sunburn and even skin cancer.
But McKay said she and her family know just how to properly care for an albino dog.
“Albino dogs are not for everyone; they’re indoor dogs,” she said. “He can’t just have free access to go outside where he could sit and sunbake or he would get really burnt... We have to be really careful. You could never take him out in the boiling midday sun.”
The family takes Sherlock for his walks in the late afternoon, when the sun is nearly set or overcast. Even then, the family lathers the dog with sunscreen and ensures Sherlock is wearing special goggles — or “doggles," as many affectionately call “his sunglasses.”
“Because the sun really hurts his eyes and he will constantly be squinting,” McKay explained.
Albinism in dogs can cause vision and hearing problems, but Sherlock has fortunately not experienced either of those symptoms.
“He is such a relaxed and chilled-out dog and has the funniest little personality,” she said. “We’re just so lucky that he’s happy and healthy. We love him so much.”
The love extends to social media, where Sherlock’s shades have earned him quite an online following.
Sherlock has even been signed to Melbourne pet talent agency Animal Extras.
“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 joked.