CHIC: Rhonda Pereira with her beloved Yorkie, Lady Mila.
Photo by Nicola Muirhead
CHIC: Rhonda Pereira with her beloved Yorkie, Lady Mila. Photo by Nicola Muirhead

We all spoil our pets to some degree. After all, they are members of the family.

But how far would you go beyond the basic needs of food, love and shelter?

Rhonda Pereira, the owner of a two-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, admits she has a “pampered pet”.

Lady Mila was a birthday gift from a friend and arrived at LF Wade International Airport from the UK, aged 10 weeks old.

It was “love at first sight” when Ms Pereira saw the “tiny little round ball of fur”. And ever since then, she has showered her with affection.

Dresses

Ms Pereira has owned pets throughout her life, since she was a child, but describes her Yorkie as akin to “a child”.

“I’ve owned anything from a mouse to a German Shepherd; I’ve had cats, a Fox Terrier, guinea pigs and even a rat,” said Ms Pereira. 

“But Lady Mila is more spoilt. She is literally like a child.”

Although Ms Pereira’s house in Warwick is also home to Skyla, a Calico short-hair cat, the two animals are “perfect friends”.

Ms Pereira, a seamstress, enjoys making clothes for Lady Mila and even buys bows for her hair.

“When I found out she was a girl I went out and bought dresses and bows for her. I treat all my animals like the precious things they are, but I dress her up more than the others because she is tinier.

“I can sit at the sewing machine and create anything I want, and it doesn’t take very long. She doesn’t mind sitting there and getting dressed.”

If anything, Lady Mila seems to like showing off her new outfits when she walks down the street.

“She is pert and has a little swig (swagger) to her,” said Ms Pereira.

“When she is wearing her outfits her head pops up a bit higher, so I guess she is showing off, being pert.

“Passers-by will say, ‘Oh that’s a girl, that’s definitely a girl!’

“And she loves children. If she hears a child’s voice she will go up to them and play with them.

“The little girls in the neighbourhood love her outfits. One of them keeps asking me, ‘Where’s mine?’

“Lady Mila was a black and tan puppy but is grey in colour now. She doesn’t have the straight hair a lot of Yorkies have; hers is all curled up.

“She’s also not a ‘yappy’ dog, she’s fairly quiet. But she’s very sociable.

“Even when she goes to the vets (Ettrick Animal Hospital), she pulls me through the door. She’s not like one of those dogs that don’t want to go in.

“People like her because she’s quiet and doesn’t bark a lot. She will go up to anyone to get a pet and will lick their hand.

“Everyone thinks she’s really cute. She goes up to them and is like, ‘Who are you? Speak to me’.

Ms Pereira said her personal favourite outfits for Lady Mila are a red and white crocheted dress that she wears on Valentine’s Day, and a green outfit with tulle skirt and green pants worn at Christmas.

“I’ve got a lot of material sitting by my sewing machine, just waiting for me to put something new together,” she added.

“I have to make her a raincoat soon as she doesn’t like to get wet when it’s raining.

“I don’t do costumes but I will put on her dresses and put her hair up in a bow.”

As for Lady Mila, Ms Pereira believes her Yorkie’s favourite outfit is a denim jacket with a daisy on the back.

“It’s a bit too small for her now because she’s grown, but it was the first thing I made for her and so she wore it a lot,” said Ms Pereira.

“I made it so that the leash could hook right onto it, rather than her wearing a separate harness or collar.”

Lady Mila also has her own collar in pink with her name spelt out in rhinestones. At home her food and drink bowls are ordinary stainless steel and she eats regular dog treats.

However, she expensive taste when it comes to her food.

“She doesn’t like regular dog food, she likes people food more,” said Ms Pereira.

Toe polish

“At dinner, she gets anything from hamburger to chicken and vegetables.

“She certainly has expensive tastes, because regular dog food would be cheaper.

“She also goes to the beauty parlour more than I do,” she added.

Lady Mila attends SnipPets each fortnight for “the full works”.

This includes a shampoo, conditioner and blow dry, hair trim and toes.

“She also has her toes done. Not as in clipped, but as in polished,” said Ms Pereira.

“We usually choose feminine colours, so no blues or greens, but reds and pinks.

“She just sits there and lets you do whatever.

“I like spoiling her. Animals rely on their owners to take care of them and if I was a dog I’d want someone to take care of me too.

“I love Lady Mila like a child. My immediate family has all passed away so it’s just me and cat and dog.

“Lady Mila is a very good company. We watch TV together, we go out in the yard to play together, and when it’s time for bed she sleeps on the bed with me.

“Between her and the cat they have one half of the bed, and I get the other.”

Ms Pereira said anyone considering getting a pet should first of all consider whether they can afford to keep it, and secondly, “whether it’s something they can handle”.

As for dressing them up, there are clothing websites online, but you should first of all consider whether your pet is comfortable with wearing any apparel.

“If you have to force your dog to be put in something, then don’t put it on them because this means they don’t want to wear the item of clothing,” said Ms Pereira.