Who knew that Tamara Ecclestone, elder daughter of acrylic-haired Formula 1 mogul Bernie, plans to swap her dog Duke's real testicles for silicone implants? Tamara feels that the long-haired chihuahua, whom she presumably selected as part of her ongoing campaign to reverse her stereotyping as an over-indulged billionaire's offspring, will be less yappy when neutered.
"I need to cut Duke's balls off," the 28-year-old explains, "but you can now get fake balls for dogs … I'm going to get him those so he doesn't feel emasculated."
The concern for Duke's psychological state does her credit, though some will wonder whether the motivation stems from an urge to keep up with the Kardashians. When Kim, her American reality TV/pampered princess role model, had her boxer Rocky castrated, she replaced the vanished orbs with a pair of Neuticles. According to their inventor Gregg Miller, Neuticles are "a safe, practical and inexpensive option … [they] allow your pet to retain his natural look and self-esteem."
Another advantage, as if one were needed, is that the owner can choose the substitutes according to personal taste. Kim briefed Miller that she "doesn't like big balls on dogs, or anything else," so the kidney-shaped silicone chunks sewn into Rocky's scrotal sacks were far smaller than those they replaced.
As yet, there is no word from Tamara on the Neuticles size Duke may expect, though the silence is understandable given how busy she is. Apart from looking after her Kensington starter home, which Bernie bought for her for a bargain £45m (and in which she used to keep £1m in cash for emergencies), Tamara is frantically preparing for next month's launch of her hair product range.
Meanwhile, the efforts to rebrand herself as anything but the British answer to Paris Hilton never cease. She has studiously avoided appearing in a sex tape (though her newly ex-boyfriend recently did; hence the ex), and only last year she established herself as the Joan Bakewell of her generation when the thinking-man's-crumpet of today starred in Channel 5's seminal Billion $$ Girl. In one episode, she had herself rushed to hospital for urgent treatment on a spot. In another, she took Duke and her other dogs to the canine spa at Harrods. To the eager reality-TV audience, that must have been absolutely the dog's Neuticles.