By Tui Benjamin
A wannabe photographer mum’s pictures documenting the adorable bond between her son and the rescue dog who watched his birth have gone viral.
Rachel Gagnon adopted cairn terrier-shih tzu cross Peach in October 2015 – just 12 months before she gave birth to son Oliver, one, at home in November last year.
Before her son was born, the 24-year-old was worried Oliver and Peach wouldn’t get on but soon realised the canine and tot had struck up a heart-warmingly close connection.
Married mum-of-one Rachel, who dreamed of being a photographer but never had the confidence, has spent the past year capturing the pair’s friendship and her stunning iPhone images have now racked up thousands of Facebook likes and shares.
The stay-at-home mum said: “As soon as we got Peach, I was completely obsessed with her.
“She was actually meant to be my mum’s dog, but when she came to our home we just fell in love with her so I ended up keeping her with me.
“When I got pregnant everyone reminded me dogs can get jealous and potentially can be dangerous to be around the baby.
“But I think she could even tell I was pregnant, as she started to lay near my stomach when she had never been a cuddly dog before.
“And right off the bat, she was so great with Oliver. They play together, they spend all their time together, they’re inseparable. Peach goes everywhere Oliver goes.
“Oliver was born at home, so Peach was actually present for the birth, in the same room.
“She just dotes on him and is always near him. Any time he cries, she will run there and wait for me to come into the room to make sure he is ok.
“She is very affectionate, she loves him. She totally doesn’t care at all if he steals her toys or pulls her fur.
“She lets him climb all over her – when he was first pulling himself up, he would sit on her and she would just lay there.”
Rachel and husband Tyler Keene, 21, had not originally planned to adopt Peach as Rachel had always thought she preferred bigger dogs.
But when her sister brought the rescue pup – who was originally meant for Rachel’s mum – home from a local shelter she couldn’t resist the pooch and had to keep her for herself.
The photographs – taken over the course of Oliver’s lifetime – were mainly taken using just Rachel’s iPhone.
And the mum-of-one, who never had the confidence to pursue her photography dream, now hopes the amazing reaction to her pictures could be the gateway to a new career.
Rachel said: “Tyler and I just love how cute together Oliver and Peach are and it’s been lovely documenting them doing different things together.
“Other than getting them in the shot together sometimes it is never really posed, it’s genuinely just their relationship.
“For a long time I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do. As iPhones got more useful I started taking pictures, and realised I really liked it.
“I couldn’t believe the reaction the photos had. It is so exciting because it is my dream to grow a photography presence but I’ve never really had enough confidence.”
Since Rachel posted highlights of Oliver and Peach’s first year together to Facebook earlier this week, they have racked up more than 5,000 likes and shares.
In her original post, Rachel said: “I always hated small dogs but two years ago when my sister brought home this puppy from a local shelter, my opinion dramatically changed and she immediately became a major part of my life.
“A year later my son was born and Peach has bonded with him just as she had with me.”
For more of Rachel’s images, go to www.instagram.com/rgags/