Since the day Vanora came home, Taco, a 3-year-old golden retriever, has stayed right by his baby sister’s side.
“When we would lay her down on the floor or on our bed, Taco would just lay down next to her,” Claudia Hughes, Vanora and Taco’s mom, told the Dodo.
In a way, Taco became Vanora’s babysitter — always attentive to her needs.
“When we would wake up in the middle of the night to feed her, he would be right there with us,” Hughes said.
Taco was also excited by every new milestone of Vanora’s, like when she began holding onto her crib railings in the mornings to greet him. But nothing was more thrilling for Taco than the moment he realized his one-year-old sister could finally walk.
See Taco react to Vanora’s first steps here:
Of course, Vanora’s walking didn’t happen overnight, and Taco was just as happy to celebrate every one of her attempts as she learned.
“As soon as Vanora started taking some steps with a baby walker,” Hughes said, “Taco started getting super excited.”
According to Hughes, Taco started jumping from side to side whenever he would see Vanora pushing her walker.
Taco’s case of the zoomies went off the charts the moment he realized Vanora could walk, but he still knew to keep a safe distance from the toddler when his excitement peaked. “Taco would go and lick her, then go and have some zoomies, then come back and lick her again,” Hughes said.
Taco isn’t the only one practicing how to be gentle with their sibling in the Hughes household, though.
According to Hughes, it was just as important that Vanora learn how to treat Taco with kindness. “We have shown Vanora that we hug Taco, we pet him gently and that we give him kisses on his head,” Hughes said. “But, if we get mad at him, we don’t hit him.”
Now that Vanora is walking, Taco and his sister have discovered new ways of interacting with each other, like running around their kitchen island together playing hide-and-seek. Whatever the game or milestone may be, it is safe to say that Taco will be a proud part of it all.
“We felt like he could be the dog for our family and that he was going to be good to our future children,” Hughes said about the day she met Taco. “He is more than that. He’s always there.”