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My Pet: Little Ellie the pint-sized protector

My name is Ellie McGillycuddy. I am nine years old. I originally came from the sandy beaches of Castlegregory, near Tralee. I live now in a rambling old house.

I am a thoroughbred Miniature Yorkshire Terrier but I never got to meet any suitable male suitors so I never had any puppies of my own. I am in love with the Jack Russell two doors down who is called Tiny.

He is about my size and is rough, tough and brimful of energy. He is a real Lothario and I suspect he is much loved.

Even though I am small, I punch above my weight. I am the guard dog for the house which is a job I take very seriously. I have great hearing and I can hear anyone coming in the property the minute they are inside the gate and I then put up a huge production of excited barking and yapping. The invader must be heralded and acknowledged.

I share the house with my owner, whom I love unconditionally, and a large black furry cat called Franz who is twice my size. I never know quite how to take Franz, who can be a bit of a bully and is always trying to get the better of me, but at the end of the day, he knows who is boss. Both of us vie for our owner's affection but she treats us both equally.

I have four small walks a day and once or twice a week, I go for a long walk on the beach. My favourite time of the week is when my owner's grandchildren and nieces come over as they play with me and I get to sleep on their beds. We have a mutual adoration society and I guard them with my life.

When my owner comes home, I always jump up and down with excitement. It is important they know they are loved. I always know when my owner is sad, which is not that often, and I make a special effort to cuddle up to her then. I am the emotional centre of my home, and that is a big responsibility, but I am up to the challenge and I am eternally happy, loving, enthusiastic and upbeat.

After all, a dog's life is short and I have to make the most of it.

My favourite time of year is Christmas. I dress up in fun outfits (I have 20) and get Santa presents.

There are loads of visitors and young people around who hug and cuddle me - they think I am cute!!

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Miriam McGillycuddy, Tralee, County Kerry

Name: Ellie

Finest hour: Winning at the Kingdom County Fair Dog Competition

Likes: Sleeping on beds with humans, walking on the beach, sniffing poles

Dislikes: My owner's Mini Cooper - terrifying

* If you would like your pet featured in this column please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET

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