A little girl and a family dog who’ve grown alongside each other share what appears to be an incredible bond. Not only do they love and protect one another, but they also “sing” together, possibly making the cutest girl band of all time.
Ever since Gia, 3, was born, the family’s Rottweiler, Zara, now 6, stepped into the role of a big sister perfectly.
“To this day, Zara has never missed a wake-up call, a goodnight, a bath, or a meal with Gia,” the little girl’s mother, Stacey Hofmeister, 35, told The Epoch Times.
Stacey, who grew up in South Africa and has lived in Zambia with her husband, Thorsten, since 2014, welcomed Zara into the family in 2016.
“She just fitted right in and lapped up all the attention I was able to give her as a stay-at-home dog-mom,” Stacey said.
Zara, who has a larger-than-life personality, seemed to have formed a bond with Gia before she was even born.
“[When I was pregnant], Zara stopped jumping up on me and she became a little calmer,” Stacey said. “We also included Zara in everything, spoke to her, and let her listen to recordings of my scans.”
Stacey gave birth to Gia in South Africa and had to wait for six weeks for the all-clear to fly home to Zambia.
When Stacey returned home with Gia, the welcome was intense.
“We just put Gia on the floor in her car chair and let Zara sniff away. Zara was overwhelmed with excitement, but … just accepted Gia immediately. She was kind of like, ‘Woohoo, a new pack member!,'” Stacey said.
When Gia was still really small, Zara would go into her room while she was sleeping and sleep right next to her cot.
For a few days, Gia only stared at Zara, but later she began warming up to the pup. Whenever Zara made a noise, Gia’s eyes would widen in surprise. The baby girl also watched closely how her family interacted with Zara.
Soon, Gia began to lick Zara’s paws and was fascinated by her wagging tail, using it as a brush to tickle her own face.
While many babies’ first words might be “Mama” or “Dada,” Gia’s was “Pup.”
“I think it says a lot about their relationship and just how much Zara is part of our family,” Stacey said.
Over the years, Zara and Gia have become the best of friends. The pair enjoy watching movies, and Gia is excited to see Zara whenever she returns home from school or from an outing.
Zara also naps beside Gia when she is unwell.
According to Stacey, Zara even taught Gia to sing. The pup, who has always been vocal, sang to Stacey’s pregnant belly before Gia was born. When Gia was born, Zara continued to sing and the little girl just watched her puppy in “awe.”
“When Gia became old enough to make a noise, she copied her pup,” Stacey said.
One Christmas, when Gia got a microphone and began singing, the pair became unstoppable. Now, every time Gia steps up to the mic, Zara is right beside her, howling along.
According to Stacey, this is how their adorable “girl band” was born.
“The girls have taken the internet by storm … everyone loves watching how Gia and Zara have grown together and how they continue to grow,” Stacey said. “I love it when Gia shows off a sneaky wiggle, and when she chooses of her own accord different instruments. I love seeing her take on each performance.”
The adorable duo has amassed over 50,000 followers on Instagram.
Today, sassy Gia loves music and dancing as much as she does her dolls and teddies, whom she loves to boss around. She’ll even boss her mom if Stacey has stern words for her best puppy friend.
“If I shout at Zara for bringing muddy paws into the house for the fifth time that day, Gia will come to me and say, ‘Don’t shout at puppy, Mom!'” Stacey said. “And when I get upset with Gia, Zara always goes and fetches a toy and she will bring it to me, almost as a sorry gift.”
Witnessing them each day, Stacey is truly delighted by their daily interactions.
“I love spying on them when they don’t know, and the two of them are walking around the garden together, looking for lizards, or when Zara is sleeping and Gia is reading her a story,” she said. “Sometimes, the moments I don’t capture are the most special.”
In sharing Gia and Zara’s special bond with the world, Stacey hopes to change perceptions about raising children and animals together.
“Too often, pets are given away when a baby comes along, and I want to show the world that you can have pets and children,” she said. “It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it!”