Five-month-old Alia has an unusual best friend, Daisy the sloth. They met when Alia was just two days old, Daisy, three months old, and the duo have been inseparable ever since.
Alia’s parents Julia Heckathorn, 29, and Jason, 35, from Virginia, brought Alia home from the hospital the same day they welcomed four-month-old Daisy into their home. Alia’s parents say that both of them love to play and take naps together.
Julia is the author and illustrator of the Search for the Hidden Clover series of children’s books, which follows the adventures of many animals in order to teach youngsters about the significance of environmental preservation.
The couple had been looking for a sloth to expand their educational team when Julia fell pregnant with her first child, Alia. And Julia said it felt like fate that they had welcomed their first baby and first sloth into their home on the same day.
Julia said: ‘We had been looking for a US-born, well-raised, and healthy baby sloth suitable for children’s education for four years. ‘It just so happened that the first one available to us was born just after I became pregnant with Alia, and ready for a new home just as Alia was born.
Julia said: “When Alia and Daisy sit next to each other, Daisy sniffs Alia while Alia nuzzles into Daisy’s soft fur. They are so sweet together. ‘They even wear the same colored flower headpieces in their hair.
Julia added: ‘There are challenges to being an author with many animals, as well as two new babies that just want to be held and snuggled. ‘But the challenges are also joys that allow me to teach my own child to love and care for the natural world.
The sloth and baby have been growing up together, taking walks together, and working alongside mommy as I write my books and travel to schools.” ‘It may sound like an unusual situation, but the look on the school children’s faces as they meet their favorite book characters in real life are priceless. ‘These are memories that will stick with those children for a lifetime.’