Birth photographer Kristen Waner has extensive experience attending and capturing women’s births, but just weeks ago, she was invited to one that was particularly special.
For the second time, she photographed the home birth of Brooke Ellington – a doula who is now a mum-of-three. As she watched Brooke move through the stages of labour and eventually give birth, Kristen noticed there was one family member who never, ever left her side.
Brooke’s corgi, Ranger.
From the moment Kristen arrived, she said Ranger was "excited," and knew something was happening.
"He was very curious as to what was going on," she wrote in a story for Bored Panda. "He laid under the bed watching her rock back and forth. He was a calming presence when the power and intensity of her contractions started. Every once in a while he would jump on the bed to give her a reassuring kiss to let her know she could do this."
Once Brooke moved to the birthing tub, Kristen writes, "Ranger sat on the couch watching her, making sure everything was okay." When the contractions became particularly intense, Ranger came and gave Brooke another "reassuring kiss" before returning back to the lounge.
As little Berkeley entered the world, Ranger jumped up to meet her. "He loved her," Kristen wrote. "He watched every moment from her getting weighed to her first outfit changed."
Two years ago, Brooke gave birth to her son Boyd, and said her older corgi Ryder was with her throughout the entire process. The family, however, lost Ryder shortly after Boyd's birth.
"I quickly filled the void with our sweet puppy, Ranger," Brooke told Buzzfeed. "I just couldn’t imagine not having that love from a corgi for my family. Ranger instantly fit in and became a big part of our family right away."
It was only when Kristen showed Brooke the photos of her birth that Brooke realised that Ranger had never left her side. "It brought me to tears looking at the photos after my birth, seeing just how impactful he was to the entire event," she told Buzzfeed.
"It was like he really knew I was hurting and wanted to make sure I was okay."