At the risk of sounding like a total grinch, I have a certain suspicion of the genre of dog and baby pictures. It’s not that I think dogs and babies aren’t adorable. My heart hasn’t become that black and shriveled. It’s more that there are a lot of photographers out there who don’t trust the inherent charm of the subject matter and feel like they have to improve on it. Case in point: Anne Geddes. Babies are cute enough on their own; when you start dressing them up as flowerpots and fairies, you’re just cranking the sweetness up into diabetes territory.
That caveat aside, I’m genuinely charmed by the Carter and Toby Instagram feed, which has become something of an Internet phenomenon. As of right now, there’s only 295 images and videos, but almost 24,000 people following the stream.
Carter is the infant child of Devin Crouch. As most parents do, Devin has been enthusiastically taking pictures of the new addition to her family. But there was another family member who was in all those pictures: Toby, the family dog. In each photo, Toby was right there by Carter’s side, inseparable from and loyal to Carter.
The Instagram feed dedicated to the two started just like any other. The pictures were followed and commented on by friends and family. When she tagged one of the pictures #DogsofInstagram and it was reposted by that site, things took off.
Since then, she has accumulated thousands of followers who are fascinated by the bond between the two. They’ve been written about in England and Belgium, and they have fans as far away as Korea. Only a year old, and Carter has already gone global. (Of course, this raises the question, what does he do for an encore?)
Crouch says that Toby has been protectively shadowing Carter from the moment he came home.
“Carter was very good at tracking him, just with his eyes,” she told the Indy Star. “When he was learning to crawl, he would lean forward to get closer to Toby. Once he was crawling, they were inseparable.”
The Carter and Toby stream shows the good times and bad. You see Carter sleeping, laughing, throwing tantrums, and everything else that babies do. And through it all, Toby is right there, patiently guarding and supporting him. Little surprise that when Carter recently said his first word, it wasn’t “mom,” or “dad,” but “dog.”
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