R+B babe Blu Cantrell is so taken with her pet dog she spends over $17,000 (GBP10,000) per month on the Boston terrier.

The BREATHE singer makes a monthly payment of $5,000 (GBP3,000) for a full-time live in nanny for six-month-old Pepper, and has spent $70,000 (GBP50,000) on diamond-encrusted dog collars for the prized pooch - who she sleeps with every night.

Childless Cantrell loves Pepper so much she ever looks upon the pet as her daughter.

The 27-year-old says, "She's like my daughter. She's my safe way of having a child. The other way would make me fat and bloated. And, I think if I had a child now it would hinder my career.

"I even say she came out of my womb, although I know she's a little hairy.

"Pepper loves to get her white spots painted with a non-toxic dye for dogs. She likes to have her nails painted hot pink too. She has sweaters with 'I Love New York' on, little hats, sunglasses, boots. She's just hilariously cute.

"We walk down the road together in matching outfits, including matching sneakers. She has her own Louis Vuitton bag with satin cushions insider for her to sleep on. She's spoilt rotten."

05/01/2004 21:41