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Paws for thought with… Arlene Phillips

Arlene Phillips and ginger cat Romeo
Arlene rescued ginger cat Romeo when he was homeless and had nowhere else to go

Choreographer extraordinaire and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips CBE tells us all about her beloved pets who keep her in step…

Q: Who shares your sofa?

Arlene: Our little Manchester terrier Polly and ginger rescue cat Romeo

Q: Describe your pets in three words

Arlene: Neurotic, adorable and greedy

Q: How did Polly and Romeo come to join your family?

Arlene: Polly is an adorable little Manchester terrier who was the runt of the litter that no one else wanted, and when my partner Angus went to collect her, there was no doubt she had found her perfect forever home.

Romeo was adopted from the Mayhew Animal Centre by my daughter Abi, one look at that tiny vulnerable little face and it was love at first sight.

Q: Why do you love your pets?

Arlene: There is nothing better than coming home after a long day, falling on the sofa and cuddling up with them. You can literally feel all the day’s stresses melting away.

Q: What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve bought for them?

Arlene: I have to say in terms of spending we don’t really go crazy with toys and collars etc, but they certainly have the best organic food that money can buy.

Q: What’s the best thing about having pets?

Arlene: Their unconditional love. You don’t realise until you have one the amazing bonds you form.

Arlene Phillips' dog, a black and tan Manchester terrier called Polly
Arlene says the best thing about her pets (including Polly, pictured) is the unconditional love they give

Q: What are their worst habits?

Arlene: Romeo refuses to use the cat flap so will drive you mad waiting to be let in and out! Polly can be very clingy which when you are rushing about trying to get things done and she’s right there under your feet… It would be a little easier if she would just sit on her bed sometimes!

Q: Where’s your favourite place to go with Polly?

Arlene: Up to our house in Herefordshire. She is never happier than pottering around outside in the garden, or going for long walks through the hills, it’s such a magical place.

Q: Do you think Romeo would become an internet sensation if you put a clip on YouTube?

Arlene: Definitely! He loves to sit up on my partner’s shoulders while he walks around the house! It’s such a sight to see.

Q: What’s the best pet advice you’ve been given, and by whom?

Arlene: I’m not sure I’ve been given any! But I’ve certainly got some… You get back what you put in. Animals are incredibly intuitive, and the stronger bond you build with them, the more they will respond to and reciprocate all the love you have to give, unconditionally and forever.

Over to Romeo and Polly…

Q: What’s the best thing about being Arlene’s pet?

Romeo and Polly: The food! We get all the tasty titbits from the table. They pretend to be strict with us but someone is always there ready to give you some delicious ham or turkey, it’s a veritable feast at dinner time!

Q: Go on, let us into a secret about your owners?!

Romeo and Polly: They pretend we drive them mad with all our high maintenance habits, but really they wouldn’t have us any other way.

— Page last updated 10/11/2016