By Charlotte Nisbet
An adorable toddler with dwarfism has taken her first steps thanks to the help of her doting dog.
Tiny Ivy Sutcliffe, now 21 months, has been inseparable with Rhodesian Ridgeback, Lenny, four, since she was born.
Ivy has spent her entire life with Lenny by her side and her parents, Keeley Bailey and Carl Sutcliffe, both 34, are now praising the pooch for helping their daughter walk after she took her first steps last month [April].
They believe that was Ivy’s desire to walk alongside Lenny that she has now hit the huge milestone – despite doctors warning of development delays due to her diagnosis of Achondroplasia.
The first time parents say they couldn’t be more proud of her and says she’s a little miracle after suffering two ectopic miscarriages.
Keeley, a banking adviser, said: “When Ivy was first diagnosed I was absolutely devastated and couldn’t stop crying.
“But now, I wouldn’t change her for the world and feel incredibly blessed to have had a baby with dwarfism as she’s absolutely amazing and brightens up any room she enters.
“Lenny has always been by Ivy’s side and they are best friends as they spend all their time together, when she was a baby he would rest his head next to hers in the cot.
“Ivy has started walking earlier than we’d originally have thought and we do thank Lenny for that as there’s no doubt that she wanted to chase him around the garden.”
Keeley and Carl have no other family members with Achondroplasia – the most common form of dwarfism – and have been told that it’s not due to their genetics that she has the condition.
She added: “My entire family are of average height and when we were first told that Ivy was small in the womb, we didn’t think anything of it.
“When Ivy was born she didn’t seem as though there was an underlying condition but to be sure, doctors ran some tests a few months later.
“After meeting another family in our area with a child with the same form of dwarfism we instantly felt at ease and my whole attitude changed.
“Ivy is the best thing that has ever happened to us and she’s the happiest child most people have ever met as she’s always smiling.”
Lenny and Ivy now enjoy going to the park together and Keeley says strangers often assume Ivy is only a few months old.
Keeley added: “Ivy still wears baby clothes that are for babies who are six to nine months.
“So it’s no surprise that some people are confused by her age, especially now that she’s walking but is still so small.
“We are so proud of her for taking her first steps, she has taken everything in her stride.
“But she has never moaned and continues to smile.”
The couple say Ivy is an extra special miracle after suffering two heartbreaking miscarriages previously.
Keeley said: “Both of my miscarriages were ectopic pregnancies and we were unsure if I’d be able to conceive naturally due to having one Fallopian tube removed.
“We are so blessed to have Ivy and we won’t be having anymore children as our family is complete and we couldn’t wish for anything more.
“I hope our story gives hope to any other parents who are going through something similar.”