At the risk of sounding immodest, six years ago I become one of the most interesting women in England.
Complete strangers started stopping me in the street, or pulling up their chairs at cafes, pleading for selfies and desperate to talk to me.
Maitre d’s at top restaurants, even the woman across the road who never invited me to her parties; suddenly everyone wanted to be my friend.
And frankly, I lapped it up.
But what had I done to deserve this unadulatered attention?
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How had I become an overnight sensation?
The answer lay not in the stars but at my feet in the form of a smooth coated, cappuccino coloured dog with 2 in-high legs, oversized ears and eyes that would melt pools of ice.
In short, I had become the proud owner of a miniature dachshund — the hottest dog in the world.
They have their own couturiers, specialist hotels that only admit sausage dogs, dachshund discos serving puppicino cocktails, masseurs trained in the art of stroking their bellies and pedicurists who know just how to deal with their delicate little feet.
Cool customer: Sadie Frost chilling with her pet pooch
Miss Darcy Bustle has yet to access any of these services, but she lives in hope. In the meantime, she does at least have her own, almost obligatory, Instagram account.
If ever an animal was designed for appearing on social media and in the homes of the rich and famous, this dog breed is it.
From Nicole Kidman to Dita Von Teese and Cressida Bonas, these adorable creatures have captured the hearts of their A-lister owners and their devoted followers.
Where once it was pugs, then for a time whippets that delighted the Insta crowd and sparked a raft of merchandise, now the most darling of all dogs is the dachshund.
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Enter the simple hashtag #dachshund and it will deliver 17 million results. Darcy’s paltry numbers pale alongside Crusoe_dachshund, a handsome beast who boasts almost a million followers with a real job as an ambassador for dog ramps — little devices that you put alongside your sofa or bed so the teeny love of your life can get to you whenever they feel like it.
Which is most of the time. Because if a human is sitting down, a dachshund will assume it needs to be sat on.
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That’s not to say that they are needy or weedy, not at all, they have no concept of their small size and are fearless, intrepid, souls.
Last month for instance, Ralph a long-haired mini from Leeds raced up Snowdon reaching the summit in a couple of hours to the astonishment of the hardened climbers at the top.
He was celebrating his 2nd birthday.
While dark-haired Bosco has become a TikTok megastar as films of him dragging sticks five times the width of his own body around the local park are regularly watched by more than 33 million people.
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Alec Baldwin’s daughter Ireland giving her sausage a pick-me-up
That’s more than a Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special in its heyday.
So what is their appeal?
They like to show off and have an irresistible snooty side. Darcy barely does pavements given the choice, and never when it’s raining.
Queen Victoria adored their regal appeal, once commenting: ‘Nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively than a dachshund.’
They can also be very inspirational.
One of Andy Warhol’s greatest muses was his tan dachshund, Archie.
The pair were inseparable and would often make an appearance hand in paw at Studio 54.
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Our greatest living artist, David Hockney,
was so captivated by his own, now sadly departed, Stanley and Boodgie, that in the 1990s, he set up various easels around his California home in order to capture them in various natural poses.
A considerably more stylish version of Instagraming.
The result was 45 paintings that became a full-scale exhibition entitled Dog Days, with a book of the same title that is still a best seller.
They are easy to please and as Hockney once pointed out, they aren’t fussy eaters. ‘They’ll eat anything I eat and I’ll eat anything, me,’ he once said.
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They have great ‘take anywhere’ appeal and are allowed in places usually banned to ‘other’ dogs. And they make rather good cupids.
Last month Darcy and I were strolling past a local eatery full of people having lunch in the sun when a young woman stopped me and squealed. ‘OMG’. I love those dogs’.
Then told me how she had always wanted one, how she was following designer India Hicks on Insta and her puppy, Stretch.
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How India had had to balance organising her wedding with the demands of her darling new puppy.
At which point, her young man knelt down and said: ‘If I get you one, will you marry me?’
Needless to say, there was more squealing and the answer was a resounding yes.
They have promised to let us know when and where so Miss Darcy Bustle can be a guest of honour.
We can’t wait, although as Darcy would want to point out, it’s dachshunds, not diamonds, that are a girl’s best friend.
Picture research: CLAIRE CISOTTI