London - It’s well known we adore our pets, especially dogs, with over a quarter of the population now owning one.
But a new survey of 60 000 pet owners by insurers, PetPlan, shows we’re becoming more obsessed than ever.
Some go even further - emblazoning their dogs’ faces onto household items such as mugs, coasters, towels, lunchboxes, necklaces, calendars and even works of art.
Meet the women who have turned their homes into shrines to their four-legged friends...
I bought a house so I could rescue Nellie
Laura Rosenthal, 50, from Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, works in training and development. Her dog Nellie, eight, is a lurcher. Laura says:
I have so many items in the image of Nellie because I’m completely besotted with her. I once even ordered a box of marshmallows with her face on them, but they’re too cute to eat!
I first saw Nellie in 2015, after I’d been made redundant from my corporate job. I wanted a change in lifestyle and to work with animals so I started volunteering at a local animal shelter. As soon as I saw her, there was something about Nellie.
She lived in a corner kennel and, unlike the other dogs at the shelter who would almost bite your hand off when you fed them, she would look at you with her big soulful eyes and would take the food gently from my hand.
She captured my heart right there and then.
She’d been discovered as a young stray and had been in shelters most of her life but, because she’s not pretty to the average eye, she was completely overlooked and no one wanted her.
I mentioned to the shelter workers that I’d love to take her home and they kept telling me to take her. "But I have a flat with no garden," I said. "Then sell it!" came the answer.
One day, while having dinner with a friend, I decided to take action. "I’m going to sell my flat and adopt Nellie!" I said. And that’s exactly what I did. It took a while but finally, in September 2017, I had a house with a garden and was able to bring Nellie home.
My husband says I love the dog more
Victoria Alter, 50, is a headteacher from North-West London. She is married to Paul and they have two children, Emily, 22, and Rebecca, 19. Her dog Flossy is an eight-year-old Westie Bichon. Victoria says:
I had a Westie called Ziggy when I was a little girl and apparently I used to dress her up. I can’t really remember any of that but my childhood is definitely where my love of Westies comes from.
I was the "crazy dog person" at the school gates when my children were at primary school, talking constantly to the owner of a cute Westie Bichon so I could sneak in a few strokes. Every day I’d come home and beg my husband to get a dog, but he wasn’t keen as he never had dogs and the kids were young and he felt we had enough on our plate.
It took me three years to persuade him and, by then, I’d lost contact with the owner of that Westie. But I managed to track her down and asked if I could come and visit her, just to check this was the kind of dog I still wanted.
And when I saw her, I knew I had to have that breed, so I found a breeder in Wales and got Flossy when she was a puppy.
Paul jokes I love her more than him but he secretly adores her too, as do our daughters.
Wookie got his own Valentine
Nikki Lane, 48, is a post office clerk from Hitchin in Hertfordshire. She is married to Jon and their dog, Wookie, five, is a Polish lowland sheepdog. Nikki says:
My dogs are like my children. My husband Jon and I never wanted to have a family - we’re more animal lovers - so I suppose our dogs, Wookie and Solo, took the place of kids.
We plan holidays around them, take pictures of them and I even got a part-time job in the local post office so I could spend more time with them. And yes, I love to buy and make stuff with their cute little faces on! Whenever I see something unusual pop up on my Facebook feed I can’t resist. That’s how I got the necklaces, coasters and hoodies - I just like anything with their faces on.
I love doing crafts and I go on day courses working with ceramics or glass and the teacher always asks what kind of design we want to do. For me, it’s a no-brainer. It’s always dogs!Daily Mail