By Jasmine Kazlauskas
Too much direct sunlight could kill this adorable abandoned albino puppy – but his suave sunglasses have made him a social media star.
Sherlock the schnauzer suffers from a rare form of canine albinism that means he cannot stay in the harsh Australian sun for pronged periods of time or he will get severely burnt.
The Melbourne pooch is also at risk of developing fatal skin cancer so he needs to slather on special doggy sunscreen and wear sunglasses every time he goes outside.
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 mum being a normal, black schnauzer.
Sherlock, aged 10 months, was abandoned by his previous owners when he was just a newborn.
He was placed in temporary care with dog-mad Netta McKay, who has been an animal foster mum for the past 10 years, but she quickly fell in love with his beautiful nature and decided to permanently adopt him.
Netta said: “I had absolutely no intention of keeping Sherlock.
“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.
“He is such a relaxed and chilled-out dog and has the funniest little personality.
“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”
Netta, who used to work in the tax department, said that she and her business owner husband Peter, 56, 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.
Sherlock has even now signed up to Melbourne pet talent agency Animal Magic in the hope of becoming an even more famous face in future.
Netta said: “It knew it would be very difficult to find him a home that would fit his circumstances and to find people who would know how to care for an albino dog.
“We have a very shaded courtyard at our house that he can play in and he keeps active inside with our two other dogs.
“Albino dogs are not for everyone, they’re indoor dogs.
“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.
“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.”
“I’ve heard that some albino dogs can have so many health issues like being blind and deaf.
“We’re just so lucky that he’s happy and healthy. We love him so much.”