Paris Hilton has undeniable star power, the paparazzi hound her every step, feeding the public's apparently insatiable appetite for even the smallest scrap of news or gossip about the leggy blonde heiress to the Hilton fortune. The Fox television network capitalized brilliantly on Paris's privileged socialite status in the reality show The Simple Life, which followed Paris and her best friend, Nicole Ritchie, as they temporarily exited their rarefied sphere of wealth to experience life with an ordinary farming family in small-town Arkansas. Sort of a reality-TV version of Green Acres meets The Beverly Hillbillies in reverse, the show was so popular that Fox is debuting The Simple Life 2 on June 16. This time, the two "celebutantes" will be driving across the U.S. in a hot-pink truck, once again sans cash, credits cards and cell phones.

Once again, Paris will be accompanied by her ever-present canine companion, an amiable little Chihuahua named Tinkerbell. A favourite with viewers for her plucky attitude and surprising enjoyment of the rural environment, Tinkerbell demonstrated to millions that Chihuahuas are not necessarily the nervous, frail, yappy little creatures they are reputed to be. Though she is normally chauffered about in Louis Vuitton or Christian Dior dog carriers, "Tink" showed herself to be highly adaptable and was soon right at home with the Leding family farm dogs. "Tinkerbell had fun in Arkansas," says Paris. "There was so much space for her to play in, and even though most of the farm animals were obviously much bigger than her, she still had a good time."

Paris chalks Tinkerbell's pleasant nature up to proper socialization. "I think she is friendly with everyone because I bring her almost everywhere with me, so she is used to being around different people in new places all the time." Paris says that although Tinkerbell is sometimes cautious when she firsts meets someone, she generally warms to strangers quickly. When asked if people particularly men-warm as quickly to a little dog like Tinkerbell, Paris replies, "Most people I meet are drawn to Tinkerbell and like her. Of course, not everyone is a dog person, but most people I come into contact with think she's cute. Men usually like larger dogs so they can take them to the park or beach and run with them, but even if they own a large dog, they can still appreciate a nice small dog."

Though previous dogs in the Hilton household included two Pomeranians, Dolce and Sebastian, and a Bulldog named Max, Paris says, "When I saw Tinks, I just knew she was the dog for me. I just had to have her."

These days, Tinkerbell is almost as big a star as her jetsetting owner, as evidenced by the fact that the gossip columnists will go so far as to make up rumours about the little dog's sex life. Last year, several tabloids circulated the story that Tinkerbell had gotten "preggers" by fooling around with a friend's Pomeranian. The source of this story was said to be Paris's own sister Nicky, but when Modern Dog asked Paris about it, she said, "NOT true. I was unaware of this story." Her terse answer suggests that she is perhaps more protective of Tinkerbell's reputation than her own, as Paris has weathered some incredibly insulting press with calm and resilience.

Love her or hate her, it seems we love to watch Paris Hilton-and all the more so for the presence of her perky little companion, Tinkerbell. We'll soon see Paris in the Warner Brothers movie House of Wax, to be released in October, but if you can't wait until then, check out the album she's releasing this summer, or her soon-to-be published book, Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose.

Susan Kauffmann lives in Vancouver with her Malamute, Kuma, who likes Chihuahuas too.