Dog owner spends hours hand-stitching Beauty and the Beast dress for pet

By Tilly Alexander

A pampered pup was transformed into a Disney princess with a handmade dog gown that took her owner hours to painstakingly hand-stitch.

Dutch Keeshond Keisha showed off her dog's dress at the Fur Babies pageant, an event held at the Collingham Memorial Hall in Wetherby, near Leeds, earlier this month.

The regal dog, who scooped up Queen Dog and Best In Show awards at the 2020 pageant, returned to defend her title in style with an outfit inspired by Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

Owner Michelle Parker, from Rawdown West, Yorkshire, had dedicated hours to the project, tirelessly hand-stitching the creation from 17 metres of organza.

The ruffled ensemble, which cost around £60 for materials, was then finished off with decorations made from gold table cloth and Christmas ornaments.

Michelle's granddaughter Lillie Blanthorn, 11, also supported Keisha on the day dressed as 'The Beast'.

Michelle said: “We really pulled out the stops because Keisha had a title to defend. The outfits took hours to make and were all hand-stitched.”

While Keisha sadly didn’t take home the crown this year, the pampered pup did manage to support animal charity NoToDogMeat, which rescues and cares for cats and dogs from the meat trade.

Following her Fur Babies win last year, pageant queen Keisha had used the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the charity.

As a result, this year’s event was held in aid of NoToDogMeat, both out of respect for its reigning champion and in recognition of the charity’s good work.

Michelle commented: “I first got involved with NoToDogMeat after seeing the horrific cruelty of the dog meat trade in videos on Facebook.

“Other larger organisations use their money to fund lots of different kinds of projects, but I like that NoToDogMeat is grassroots, and is on the ground campaigning and supporting change on this issue alone.

“We are thrilled that Fur Babies has chosen to use their event to support NoToDogMeat, it will make such a big difference.”

Julia de Cadenet, founder of NoToDogMeat, said: “We love Keisha and we are in awe of how much hard work Michelle put into the costume.

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"Thank you so much to Fur Babies for supporting the work that we do.”

She added: “Our charity isn't about attacking anyone's culture, this is about ending animal cruelty, and giving a safe and loving home to former dog and cat meat trade survivors.

“Every animal deserves that, no least the 21 dog which we rescued from the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in July, who are needing intensive veterinary care and support right now.”

The Fur Babies pageant was started by Phil and June Hodgkins and this is their fifth event.

Phil said: "We were proud to support NoToDogMeat, we really agree with all that they stand for and the work that they do."

Read more: NoToDogMeat seeking volunteer runners to join virtual London marathon team

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