By Elizabeth Snead, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
A few years ago, Paris Hilton -- whose stock rose this week after her amusing video retort to John McCain's anti-celebrity ad -- was always seen toting her tiny Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, invariably dressed in designer ensembles matching her owner's.
For better or worse, Paris was responsible for the Hollywood pocketbook pooch craze of tucking an expensive tiny dog into a chic designer bag.
Sadly, we have seen neither hide nor hair of Tink in quite a while. Rumor is that Hilton stopped lugging the lovable pup when she got over 5 lbs. We're quite sure that one term in Hilton's life contract is "no heavy lifting."
Besides, now Paris has Benji Madden on a short leash, and often dresses him in matching outfits, just like Tink. Smart girl. Although our experience has been that men are usually much more difficult to train than puppies.
But thanks to Paris' lead, savvy stars realized that that carrying a pup is a sure-fire flattering photo op with an instant and undeniable 'awwww' factor.
Like Paris, they know that everyone looks instantly cuter carrying a pooch. It's better than blush and lip gloss.
To see what we mean, check out the Red Carpet Rewind gallery of stars cuddling their furry friends.