Bella, Molly rule the canine world

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Victoria Lewthwaite with canine companions Molly (right) and Bella.

Bella is the most popular dog’s name in the Ashburton district, closely followed by Molly.

There are around 6230 registered dogs in the district, though the Ashburton District Council believes another 600 are not registered.

The top 10 most popular names last year were Bella (103), Molly (82), Max (63), Poppy (60), Jack (59), Jess (55), Charlie (55), Sam (52), Meg (52) and Ruby (51).

Molly might be second on the list, but two-year-old Molly the Jack Russell-Bichon cross is number one in the eyes of her owner Victoria Lewthwaite. Victoria acquired Molly as a pup, small enough to fit into the palm of her hand. Now the energetic canine weighs around 5kg and is fully grown.

The pair are often out exercising and Victoria took her recently on an 8km run. to go to sleep after that, but no.

Molly is allowed inside and sleeps on her own bed, though on winter’s nights she creeps under the covers with Victoria and her partner.

“He said no way in the bedroom, but she wiggles her way in.”

She loves to chase tennis balls and shred them with her sharp teeth afterwards. Along with tennis balls, she chews other things, including one of an expensive pair of boots belonging to Victoria. She managed to catch Molly in action after she had only chewed a off a small decorative tag.

Molly is also partial to treats and loves ice cubes and apple, preferably Royal Gala variety.

It is double trouble when Victoria’s mum brings her Bichon schitzu cross Bella to visit. Bella, not yet a year old, is used to farm life at Mt Somers and the pair run energetic circles in the front yard. With the gate carefully shut.

Council’s list of most popular names almost tallies with those using local doggie day care services.

At the Little Dog House, Molly was most popular followed by Bella and Belle. In the facility for bigger dogs, Ollie and Poppy were the most popular names, followed by Gus, Max, Molly and Rosie.

Other popular names were Sky, Marley, Murphy, Alfie, Baxter, Coco and Cooper.