Fiona Gordon, 31, Skye, Inner Hebrides of Scotland has forked out a fortune to desk out her pups for Christmas!
With Christmas songs on full blast, I sang along in the kitchen. It was only the start of December but I was busy cooking up a festive feast for my seven Maltese pups.
‘Organic turkey with veggies and gravy, doesn’t that sound delicious?’ I asked, as they sat watching me with hungry eyes.
I want the best for my babies, so I only ever feed them homemade grub but, as it was Christmas, I wanted them to have something extra special.
Once it was all cooked and divided up, I packed the portions into the freezer so they’d last the month.
Then I went up to my spare room that’s been converted into a doggy dressing room for Floee, 7, Mya, 7, Hamish, 3, and pups Angus, Theo, Ellie and Isla, 2.
As well as grooming tables, there are six wardrobes, two storage boxes and three clothes rails packed with adorable dog clothes.
With the festive season in full swing, it was time to sort through the wardrobe that’s dedicated to Christmas outfits.
‘Do you think they can wear the Santa onesies again this year?’ I shouted downstairs to my partner Stuart, 42.
‘Yeah, nobody will remember!’ he replied.
But, truth is, the pups have become a bit of a local attraction and I don’t like them to wear the same thing too many times.
Every time we go out of the house, the dogs are kitted out with hair accessories and outfits. The girls usually wear dresses and the boys have T-shirts and jumpers.
Even a quick trip to the shops ends up with countless people stopping us and asking for photos. The dogs love the attention and prance about to show off what they’re wearing.
At Christmas, I go to extra lengths to make them look special.
They have a range of Christmas hats, including reindeer ones, complete with antlers, and a huge selection of Christmas jumpers featuring Rudolph, elves and snowmen.
Last year, it was their Father Christmas outfits that went down a real treat.
‘Oh, my goodness, they’re like Santa’s little helpers!’ one woman shrieked when we took a trip into town.
Luckily, all of the attention we get is positive, though I’ve no doubt there are people out there who would disagree with it.
But, truth is, if the dogs don’t want to wear a certain outfit, they make it clear they’re not keen!
I’d never do anything that they didn’t like.
I bought seven festive stockings with the dogs names on for last year and hung them above the fireplace. Each one was packed with presents that I’d lovingly wrapped up for them. They had toys, treats, new grooming brushes and collars, as well as piles of new clothes, of course.
On Christmas morning, the dogs raced downstairs to tear open the wrapping paper and see what ‘Santa Paws’ had brought for them.
They couldn’t stop barking with excitement.
‘Merry Christmas, darlings,’ I said, with a huge smile on my face.
After a lovely big Christmas feast, we all crashed out together on the sofa to watch festive films.
But, even though it was Christmas Day, I still had to do our daily grooming routine. It takes nearly two hours. Maltese dogs must be brushed every day to keep them tangle-free.
A few months ago, I went to the vet with Hamish for a checkup and, for once, he wasn’t wearing any clothes.
‘Oh, heavens, he looks naked!’ cried our vet in surprise. I couldn’t help but laugh.
This year I’m more excited than ever about Christmas.
I’ve been buying outfits since the end of August. I’ve even had some custom-made Christmas dresses in red and green made in America and I’m getting them shipped over.
Each one cost around £50 – expensive, but you can’t put a price on how cute they look when they’re all kitted out.
I’ve spent far more than I like to think about on filling up their stockings. It’s probably at least a few hundred pounds just on Christmas items.
And that’s on top of the jumpers, T-shirts, pyjamas and coats that I buy throughout the year – usually at about £20 a pop.
I never planned on ending up as the crazy dog lady with seven precious pooches.
When Hamish and Floee had puppies, we planned to sell them but, when it came to it, I just couldn’t let any of them go.
The dogs are the perfect distraction from the day-to-day troubles of life, so Christmas really is a brilliant excuse to spoil them all rotten.
People might think I’m barking, but I see my dogs as part of the family – so why shouldn’t Christmas be as special for them as it is for us?