Five-year-old Cade Matthews had just finished lunch on Tuesday, when Jillian the dog did her usual thing: hop up in the chair and snuggle up close to her favorite boy.
Photographer Meredith Brown, who is soon to be Cade’s stepmom, seized the moment to capture these guys’ special relationship.
“Cade loves animals! We don’t really give him a choice though,” Meredith told us.
Indeed, it’d be near-impossible not to love the furry critters in this family.
Meredith is a public school teacher, on top of taking gorgeous photos, and has a long background working with shelter pets. Most recently, she’s been getting her students involved with animal rescue and advocacy.
Her fiance Kevyn Matthews, Cade’s dad, is a chef, who specializes in cooking for dogs.
Kevyn even owns a Baltimore *restaurant for dogs,* called The Dog Chef Cafe.
Meredith adopted Jillian about a half a decade ago from BARCS, the city shelter, even before she and Matthews had started dating.
At the time, Jillian “was emaciated, had long nails and clearly had been neglected for a long time,” Meredith says.
Obviously, not anymore.
Now Jillian’s healthy and the opposite of neglected, with the constant company of three other dogs and a 17-year-old cat.
Plus, of course, her mom and dad — and her most beloved brother.
To be sure, Jillian knows her place in this busy household.
It’s next to Cade (or, someone else, if they happen to be within sight). According to Meredith, “Jillian forces her way onto everyone’s chair or lap. If we are home, she’s sitting that way with someone. Or curled up with another dog.”
Soon, Jillian, and the whole fantastic crew, will have a new little human to love.
Meredith and Kevyn are expecting a baby this spring.
They know the baby is a boy. They also feel pretty darn confident that he’ll love Jillian, and probably all of the Earth’s other animals.
“Kids that I’m involved with don’t get much of a choice,” Meredith says.
We are very excited for the family — and we sure can’t wait to see the pictures.
Featured image by Meredith Brown