At just two years old, Myffy is a trend-setter. This fashionista doesn’t even weigh 10kg, which isn’t surprising for a poodle-shih tzu cross, but she doesn’t let her size stop her. What is surprising is that she sports a fluoro yellow, pink or bright turquoise vest complete with metal spikes and vibrant nylon bristles on the back to make predators hesitate or slow down and prevent a surprise attack. This pet body armour is necessary in her own backyard because she lives with mum Jillian Holmes-Smith at Red Hill Peony Estate, where a breeding pair of eagles have nested in her neighbour’s property.
After being welcomed into Jill’s life in August 2018, within a few months Myffy was out and about helping on the farm that has been in Jill’s family for generations. As the birds of prey made themselves at home, they took out nearby wallabies, geese and chickens. After learning this, Jill’s son-in-law began the search for a solution, which resulted in an order for a coyote vest from the US, where coyotes, mountain lions and birds of prey are threats to smaller dogs.
“Myffy wears it most of the time when she’s outside,” said Jill. “She has, however, been swooped twice when we’ve accidentally forgotten to put her vest on, but she was walking with people so she was OK, thank goodness. She’s not allowed outside without it as she’s just like a sitting duck when she’s on the property.”
Myffy is also known for melting hearts with her loving nature, superb memory and brains – that’s right, she’s got beauty and brains. Jill talks of her excellent vocabulary and the fact that she’s very clever and identifies herself as the top human in the house. You see, she not only thinks she’s human, she also eats human food and sleeps on Jill’s bed every night. She’s totally spoilt, and she knows it. If this diva isn’t getting the attention she deserves, she hunts down her brush and rolls on it to brush herself. This clever lass needs to maintain her beauty routine.
“Prior to the spiked coat, she would wear coats to keep warm, so it was an easy adjustment for her,” said Jill. “The coat doesn’t faze her anymore as she’s been wearing it for around 15 months. Myffy just accepts that it’s how it is; she even sits down ready for it to be put on. She’s got a concept of the ‘bad birdy’. She’ll look up at the sky when I point at it and she gives me the feeling that she knows about this ‘bad birdy’.”
Rushing through bushes and running under hedges with her lightweight coat on leaves a few fluoro spikes scattered around the garden, while Jill gets the lucky responsibility of cleaning Myffy’s washing after she’s rolled in fox poo – what a treat!