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Pets at Christmas

PUBLISHED: 17:31 27 November 2015 | UPDATED: 17:52 27 November 2015

Sam and Herbie the bearded dragon

Sam and Herbie the bearded dragon

© Claire Barker

From the parakeet who loves a bit of Pride & Prejudice to the bearded dragon who loves shiny things, Kent Life readers reveal what their pets can look forward to this Christmas

Emily and Kiki

Tell us a bit about you

My name is Emily Wilde and I live in Loose with my family and I’m in full-time education at Maidstone Girls Grammar School sixth form.

Tell us about your pet

My pet is a red-crested kakariki parakeet, his name is Kiki and I’ve had him for two years this Christmas.

What makes Kiki special?

I think what makes Kiki special is that he loves sitting with me listening to audiobooks and different music, but will screech if he doesn’t like a specific song. His all-time favourite is my Pride and Prejudice on audiobook.

What will you buy him for Christmas?

I will most likely be buying him a radio for Christmas.

Sam and Herbie

Tell us a bit about you

My name is Samuel Barker, I am nine years old. I live in Leigh and am lucky enough to go to Leigh Primary school.

Tell us about your pet

Herbet (aka Herbie) is my pet bearded dragon. He is nearly two years old and he was my eighth birthday present.

What makes Herbie special?

He looks really cool and he’s fun to have around. Lots of people are scared of him but he’s actually really gentle.

What will you buy him for Christmas?

I’ve read that bearded dragons like shiny things so we are thinking of hanging some Christmas tree baubles in Herbie’s cage. I think he might like that.

Special thanks to ….

Sam’s mum, Claire Barker, of Sunshine & Wellies Photography, specialises in taking outdoor shots of children, www.sunshinewelliesphotography.com

Margaret and Hugo

Tell us a bit about you

My name is Margaret Cook and I live just outside Tunbridge Wells. I’m retired and volunteer at trinity arts

Tell us about your pet

His name is hugo and he is an eight-month-old long-haired miniature dachsund. he’s been part of the family foir just over six months

What makes hugo special?

he is hugo the wonder dog because he could ‘fetch’ at just seven weeks old and when he wants to play he gets his toys out of the toy box and brings them to you

What will you buy him for Christmas?

a barbour dog coat!

Unusual pet?

Have you got an unusual pet you’d like featured in Kent Life? Tell us a bit about your pet, what breed they are and what makes them special and, if possible, include a photo and email everything to: editor@kent-life.co.uk.

BARKING MAD?

A survey by Samsung earlier this year revealed that pampered pooches really do rule the roost in the UK

● More than half of British dog owners admit that they would be more upset if their pet passed away than if a family member did

● 55 per cent of pet owners believe dogs can be more intelligent than humans

● 23 per cent of dogs have been on diets, 41 per cent enjoy the same supper as their owners, and a third have their own special chairs in the living room

● 85 per cent of dog owners consider their dogs to be fully-fledged members of the family

● Human and TV/movie-influenced names have replaced traditional ‘pet’ names: Dexter, Elsa and Yoda top the list of popular dog names

The study of 1,500 British dog owners was specially commissioned by Samsung to celebrate its sponsorship of the world’s largest dog show, Crufts 2015. The findings reveal that pampered pooches in British households influence important decisions, enjoy special meals and are treated as one of the family.

The research highlights that a third of our pet dogs now have their own dedicated chair in the sitting room with 46 per cent of owners admitting they would make friends and family sit on the floor rather than move their cherished canine.

A similar number (53 per cent) of dog owners admit that their dog’s needs have influenced an important life decision such as where they live or what job they have. Mealtimes have also witnessed an upgrade in recent years with four in 10 owners admitting they regularly treat their dogs to doggie ‘fine dining’ by cooking additional portions of their own food for the family pet.

And a quarter of owners admit that their households have more framed pictures of their pets than they do of their friends.

Further results reveal that 66 per cent of owners now opt to give their dogs human names, ranging from the everyday such as Max or Dave to Hollywood and on-screen characters such as Elsa (Frozen), as well as literary classics including Mr Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) and Bellatrix (Harry Potter). Traditional pet names such as Rex, Snowy or Spot are now deemed old fashioned.

Top 10 names

1 Dexter (19 per cent)

2 Max (17 per cent)

3 Milo (13 per cent)

4 Elsa and Mr Darcy (11 per cent)

6 Sherlock (10 per cent)

7 Yoda (8.5 per cent)

8 Bellatrix (8 per cent)

9 Lola (7.5 per cent)

10 Dave (6.5 per cent)

The average dog owner spends 13 hours a week with their beloved pet, so it’s no wonder then that 47 per cent believe that their intuitive dogs automatically know what they’re thinking or what mood they’re in. A further 55 per cent of those surveyed believe that some dogs are more intelligent than humans.

The survey also reveals if we want to keep our precious pets in the lap of luxury, we need to keep our purse strings fairly loose, with an average £13,152.36 lifetime (£1,011.72 annual) spend.

And it’s no wonder, with owners shelling out for things like pet insurance, holidays, dog walking, kennels, treats, toys and food.

Keeping our pups preened with regular beauty treatments and adorning them with the best ‘bling’ accessories, along with the more unusual but growing trend of throwing ‘puppy parties’, which 21 per cent of those surveyed admitted to doing, also help increase the hefty bill.

And with the amount of animal videos that are breaking the internet, it’s unsurprising that a quarter of owners admit that they have a social media profile for their dog, so family and friends can keep abreast of all its doggy news.

One of the most prolific pups online is Maggie May, one of Andy Murray’s two border terriers, who boasts an impressive 27,300 followers on Twitter, all eager to hear of her rivalry with sibling terrier Rusty. But this is nothing in comparison to Boo the Dog, whose Facebook page alone has more than 17 million followers.

Sam and Herbie

Tell us a bit about you

My name is Samuel Barker, I am nine years old. I live in Leigh and am lucky enough to go to Leigh Primary school.

Tell us about your pet

Herbet (aka Herbie) is my pet bearded dragon. He is nearly two years old and he was my eighth birthday present.

What makes Herbie special?

He looks really cool and he’s fun to have around. Lots of people are scared of him but he’s actually really gentle.

What will you buy him for Christmas?

I’ve read that bearded dragons like shiny things so we are thinking of hanging some Christmas tree baubles in Herbie’s cage. I think he might like that.

Special thanks to ….

Sam’s mum, Claire Barker, of Sunshine & Wellies Photography, specialises in taking outdoor shots of children, www.sunshinewelliesphotography.com

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