It’s the Year of the Dog, but some of my friends have decided every year belongs to their own dog. From the society girls with their pampered pooches to the feminist divorcee who fills her village house with a dozen strays and abandoned pets, a lot of women are finding man’s best friend is even better than a gay best friend.

Paris Hilton made toy chihuahuas a fashionable accessory but the preference now is for active doggies like the Japanese shiba. They have become more desirable company for many women than a tall venture capitalist who mountain climbs and wears three-piece suits.

They may not admit it, but many thirty-something singles have given up on men and settled for more loyal and less complicated company after so many failed relationships. In denial, they say they adopted a dog for protection, to feel a bit more secure living alone. It’s nothing to do with having a warm body (even if it’s four legged) to cuddle with on a cold night while re-watching The Notebook and eating a vegan burrito.

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I admit I’ve had better conversations with golden retrievers than certain dates. But, taking care of a dog is difficult, what with all the slobbering, feeding, pooping, hair shedding and musty smell. Then you realise, “how different is that from my last three boyfriends?” At least the dog farts less. Rex also won’t play video games the entire weekend. He will look at you when you’re talking. His wagging tail says he’s happy you’ve come home and won’t ever complain about how hard his day was.

Best of all, he won’t judge you if you don’t shave your legs, eat brownies for breakfast, or pee with the door open. He even thinks you still smell great if you didn’t shower after yoga.

They may not admit it, but many thirty-something singles have given up on men and settled for more loyal and less complicated company after so many failed relationships

If your biological clock is winding down, a dog isn’t just a boyfriend substitute. It’s the best facsimile of a baby experience. Hong Kong is not especially conducive to raising children, but it’s not so bad for doggy mums who like to indulge.

One particular friend has been overcompensating her maternal instinct with a vengeance. Not only does she spoil her Yorkie with treats, she dresses it in onesies, brings it to canine spas, and recently threw a doggy wedding partnering it with a studly Jack Russell. The pricey party would have made a nice college fund starter. But even I draw the line at strolling through Lane Crawford with her while she’s pushing her “baby” in a pram.

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Another animal-loving friend finally convinced her husband to bring a dog home.

For years she has pushed for a puppy, even begging and pleading, but he keeps dodging the issue or claiming some imaginary allergy. Last month, he relented at last. The thing is, she didn’t ask for a puppy. Instead she demanded, “I want to have a baby!”

Now, they are proud parents of a corgi.

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