Chef Esther Sham’s philanthropic pooch ‘spoke’ to about her charitable cause and why good things come in small packages

When we first met Esther Sham, or Chef Tata as she is widely known, little did we expect to fall head over heels in love with her adorable canine companion and ‘daughter’, Xiao-Fung. With butterfly clips keeping her hair intact, a classic pearl necklace in place of her collar, and her intolerance for anything ordinary – it was love at first sight.

Sham explains how Xiao-Fung is far more than just a cuddly companion, she is in fact a certified ‘dog doctor’ with Animals Asia that frequently visits homes of the less fortunate, with senior citizens left grinning ear-to-ear at the sight of the shih-tzu. We speak to Sham and Xiao-Fung about everything from giving back, grooming, and her guilty pleasures:

Looking this good is not as simple as people think, although I love to let my hair down and relax in the privacy of my home – I’m told that I’m much prettier with my hair styled and tied into a ribbon, thankfully I have enough help to get me styled, I never leave the house without my pearl necklace!

Like any girl knows, we love to treat ourselves, my favourite treats are obviously carbs and meats – although I’m allergic to chicken. Like anyone else I need to watch my weight so my diet usually consists of lots of greens too, my favourites are cucumber and gai lan.

People don’t always realise that I’m a certified ‘dog doctor’ with Animals Asia; they recruit well-behaved doggies (such as myself) to visit old people's homes and children’s centers. My main duty is to accompany them and ultimately my goal is to make their day! My mum always taught me two things, the first, is to always look and feel fabulous, the second, is to give back to those less fortunate.

My guilty pleasure is no doubt a good belly rub! I love it the most when I sleep next to my mum every night and I would flip over when she wakes up in the morning to ask her to rub my fluffy belly.

Although I don’t like to kiss and tell – I do have a significant other, his name is Mocha, and he is a chocolate coloured toy poodle, that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

After a long day of work there is nothing better than unwinding and sleeping in my bespoke doggie bed, with a toy or two.

Photography by Edgar Tapan

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