Vanessa Rowe and Ben Wickens had no idea what to expect when they introduced their newborn child to their 110-pound Great Dane.
"As soon as I said I was pregnant people asked 'what are you going to do about the [Great Dane]?," 40-year-old café manager Vanessa told The Mirror. "But to me she's like my other daughter. I would no more get rid of her than I would [our daughter] Isla."
Harley, the Harlequin Great Dane, was a emotional necessity when they adopted her into their little family.
In early 2012, the couple was attempting to get pregnant, but experienced the heartbreaking loss of a miscarriage. Around that time, Mr. Wickens, 36, became very ill. He was eventually diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and forced to give up work.
At that low point in their lives, Ms. Rowe came across the RSPCA website and found Harley the Great Dane. Instantly, she fell in love.
"No matter what kind of day you've had, to be greeted by someone that excited to see you at the end of the day - every day was better because we had her." Vanessa said about the Great Dane.
Isla was conceived a few months after the adoption of their beloved Great Dane and was born this past June.
Vanessa explained the relationship between her daughter and Harley the Great Dane.
"We introduced them as soon as we could in the first couple of days, and this huge dog gave this little fragile baby a sniff to try and work out what it was, and that was it....From day one Harley has been so gentle with this strange little bald puppy we bought home from the hospital and Isla only shows an interest in rolling or crawling if it means getting nearer to her long-legged, floppy eared sis. Isla breaks into a smile whenever she sees me or my husband - but that's nothing to the way her face completely lights up when she sees her big sister. Isla has got so many toys - all the usual interactive ones - but there is nothing more interactive than a huge [Great Dane]. Harley lets herself be petted, and Isla loves playing with her ears. Isla grabs her to help her move, and the first time she rolled over was to get closer to Harley. …Now they are best friends, and it will be so lovely to watch them grow up together."[ Images courtesy of SWNS ]