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Meet the pampered pups who wear dresses and play ping-pong

Owner Helen is famed for throwing her Chihuahuas extravagant birthday parties

Leila Marshall

Posted 2 months ago ago

(Image: Helen Turner)

By Leila Marshall

It’s been difficult for us all during the pandemic, and Chihuahua-loving Helen has had to invent new ways to keep her six pups entertained. 

Helen Turner, 49, had to cancel the extravagant birthday parties she had organised for her Chihuahuas – events on which she used to spend up to £4,000. 

Helen, who owns Short Dog ‘n’ Sides dog grooming salon in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, has had to celebrate with her dogs at home. She said: “It’s been a quiet time for the party pups with covid restrictions, but they’ve still had birthday celebrations together at home. They have taken to playing ping-pong in lockdown. 

“They have also had a great time watching RuPaul’s Drag Race with popcorn. Their favourite characters are Gottmik and Denali. Salvador has taken to wearing Chi Chi’s dresses! They’ve also been playing with my make-up, which has given me a party idea for a doggie drag queen and king party in the future.” 

Chi Chi enjoying her birthday cake - at home this time (Image: Helen Turner)

The Chihuahua-lover adores her dogs so much she has even thrown a Mexican-themed birthday party for them in the past, complete with a clown, face painting and doggy birthday cakes. 

Since then, the dogs have not been able to celebrate with their family and friends. The father, grandfather, and grandmother of the six dogs live in Shropshire – a long way from their home in Lancashire. 

Helen said: “Ordinarily they’d get to see their family. It’s so nice when they all get together. When they are though, they wee everywhere. The father of the pups is a randy so-and-so, he’s always trying to you-know-what with the others.” 

It’s been difficult for Helen to run her business as normal because of the pandemic. She said: “In the first lockdown we were completely shut. Then it was back and forth, asking the council if we can open, then we were only allowed to do matted cats and dogs. And then of course it’s the whole regime of one in, one out in the crates. It’s been pretty hard work actually. 

“When we opened back up, we noticed people were having a go at grooming at home. We’d get massive dogs in, as we’d not seen them in months. So, the first few months back were horrendous.” 

Speaking about her six Chihuahuas, Helen admitted she had a favourite. She said: “I know you shouldn’t have one – but I definitely do. Pebbles is my favourite. She’s the mummy dog. I think it’s because she’s the most faithful one to me. When I come in, she’ll either come and greet me and give me a little lick on my hand and say hello, or she’ll go, ‘you come to me, I’m not moving.’ She’s a little diva.” 

Helen loves Chihuahuas so much because they’re ‘easy’. She added: “Well – to a degree, because they’re small, but they have such a little feisty side to them. They’re naughty as well, on another scale.  

“They’re so comical, and I love how they’re always together, like a little family. One gets up and goes, the others follow. They are an easy dog, and they’re good off-lead. I couldn’t manage six on a lead so they’re easy to walk. They never go out when it’s raining, and nor do I, so that works well for all of us.” 

Since she has not been able to throw a big birthday bash for the pups in so long, Helen decided to rescue another Chihuahua, called Minzy. She said: “I do some work with Wet Nose Animal Aid, and a lot of them from the first lockdown ended up in a rescue, with most people going back to work and not having the time for them. I don’t think I’d get another dog at the minute – I think six is enough. 

“I need to keep out of the rescues, that’s the problem. With my Minzy, I’d only gone to visit the rescue with Wet Nose, and for two hours Minzy was sat on my lap and the lady was like, ‘Is she going home with you, Helen?’ I was like, ‘No,’ and then about three weeks later I phoned up asking ‘Is she still there? Yes? Oh, I’d better come and get her then.’ 

“Minzy is very hard work being a rescue – she was a handbag dog. Her back and her hip and knee were absolutely messed up to Hell because she was just carried about. They need proper exercise.” 

The pups have taken to playing ping-pong over lockdown! (Image: Helen Turner)

Helen is known in her town for her glammed-up pups. She takes them on strolls in their little dresses. She said: “They love being dressed up. I suppose the one who is like ‘oh for god’s sake’ mainly is Chi Chi. But other than that, they love getting dressed up in their little outfits. 

“I have taken them out in their dresses – it draws massive attention, that’s the problem. I mean they do that anyway because there’s six of them. They draw crazy attention, especially from children, they love it.” 

One of the main lockdown activities for the pampered pups has been ping-pong. Helen said: “Chi Chi can lift the ball over the net. The other one, who’s normally called Purdy but for some reason we’re calling her ‘Scoo’, will pass it back over the net as well.  

“What else have we been doing? We’ve been watching a Hell of a lot of TV. We’ve been doing their little pamper sessions here at home. Not a lot of exercising, mostly telly, it’s been awful, hasn’t it? They also love chasing cats, that’s their daily thing as well. We did have a rescue cat, who loves to provoke the dogs – he was twice the size of them! 

“During lockdown we’ve been on so many walks. They love it, and they can walk a lot further than people think. We always go to the beach and up into the wood. They don’t really do any road walking, but whenever they can go off-lead, they love it.” 



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