By Charlotte Nisbet
A woman who would rather ditch her boyfriend for dates with her beloved Chihuahua has claimed the pair enjoy all their romantic outings with her pint sized pooch.
Rachel Shippen, 30, refuses to leave three year old dog, Dolly, at home – much to the disappointment of her partner, Dale Norris, 29.
Instead of enjoying lavish meals and romantic dinners together, Rachel is always quick to ensure the venue is dog friendly so the three of them can visit together.
Pampered Dolly is rarely seen without her nails painted and is always wearing a glitzy pink dress when out and about.
Rachel uses her handbag to carry Dolly and will often sneak her tiny pooch into restricted venues to ensure she never misses out.
Dale and Rachel have been dating for six years and the pair haven’t yet managed to enjoy a date without Dolly.
Rachel, a dog fashion designer, said: “Dolly always comes out and enjoys mine and Dale’s dates.
“Whether it’s meals, drinks, cinema dates, food shopping, Dolly is always with us.
“He hates having her constantly with us as she restricts where we can visit but I struggle to leave her at home.
“I only buy handbags that I know she will fit into and if Dale kicks up a fuss, I’ll just hide her in my bag and tell him she’s not with us.
“It’s really funny, I will sneak her into some places and it’s not until she pops her head out that we’re told that no dogs are allowed.
“Dolly is so pampered, if she’s not being groomed, I’m dressing her up or painting her nails, she lives in in my handbag and we run all sorts of errands together.
“She comes on all my food shopping trips and she loves being in the trolley all snuggled up.
“I know Dale finds it annoying that she attends everything with me but I can’t help that I’d rather spend all my time with Dolly than anyone else.
“I’d happily not have children and just have eight dogs but I know Dale wants children one day so we’ll have to compromise.
“Dale has put his foot down in the past as at one point Dolly had a dog bed in every room of our house and he has since banned me from buying anymore.”
The couple who often enjoy dates with Dolly at Shab Shack, South Shields, are always approached in the street by people fascinated by Dolly’s fashion sense.
Rachel said: “Whenever we take Dolly out it always take twice as long because everyone wants to stroke her.
“She does go on daily walks too as I have two other dogs that are also pampered, just not quite as much as Dolly.
“It does Dale’s head in but I know he loves her deep down, I love nothing more than showing her off, she’s a little princess.
“I haven’t get started buying her Christmas presents but it’s Christmas every day for her.
“I used to be a dancer until a bad fall last year, it caused a condition called Fibromyalgia and due to the all over body pain due to my nerves, I can be in bed for days.
“When I’m in bed Dolly lies with me all day, she’s such a lazy dog but we have such a special bond.”
Rachel – who colour coordinates her clothes with Dolly’s white fur – enjoys wearing the same nail varnish as Dolly and wishes there were more dog friendly venues for the pair to visit.
She added: “I’d be more than happy to spend all my on dates with Dolly rather than Dale.
“I just wish there were more places to go, I’d love nothing more than being pampered while Dolly was also receiving a treatment.
“I started my dog fashion business, Poopys Boutique, soon after my fall and I haven’t looked back since.
“It can take me days to make just one bespoke diamante jacket but it’s all worth it when I see the dogs wearing my designs.
“Dolly has dozens of dresses and she loves wearing them when she’s outside as they keep her warm.
“I’d rather stay in than not go out with Dolly so I’ll continue to take her on my dates, I think Dale secretly loves it too.”
Dale said: “I don’t like having Dolly with us everywhere we go as it limits the restaurants we can visit.
“Instead we tend to visit the same dog friendly places every week.
“Dolly is very cute but I wish Rachel would leave her at home every once in a while.”