Bethenny Frankel may not have planned to adopt two dogs following the death of her longtime pup, Cookie, back in 2017, but the Skinnygirl mogul couldn't be happier with how that decision turned out.
As Frankel explained to AOL's Gibson Johns at the ASPCA's Adoption Center on the Upper East Side, the dynamic duo of Biggy and Smallz has provided both her and her daughter, Bryn, 9, with a constant source of humor, love and companionship. Not only that, but her adopted dogs have also helped Frankel impart important lessons to her only child.
"Every parent says, 'Oh, but will you take care of them?' and the kid says they will, but they don’t, but my daughter does take care of them. I’ll say, 'You want these dogs? No, you’ll take them for a walk.' Why? Because she is always snuggling them and sleeping with them and they’re her friends," Frankel explained, adding that the fact that they were adopted is a source of pride for the mother-daughter pair. "I don’t think a week goes by without my daughter telling someone, 'We have two rescue dogs named Biggy and Smallz!'"
And, while she maintained that "there's no replacing" her beloved dog, Cookie, who was constantly by Frankel's side throughout her time on Bravo, the former "Real Housewives of New York" star explained that they bring a completely different -- albeit much welcomed -- energy to her home.
"They really are different and come to you at different times. Cookie was a grand dame and a very protective, b-tchy dog that was so loyal to me. She was also really smart," she laughed. "These are total mid-level dogs. You totally could see them at an Irish bar drinking beer and hanging out. Biggy drives the getaway car and forgets to pick Smallz up. I want to write children’s books about them. They’re two little clowns."
As for why she decided to welcome two dogs into her family after Cookie's passing, the "Shark Tank" star explained that it was like "Sophie's Choice" when it came time to adopt the pups, who have their own verified Instagram account.
"They’re from the same litter, and their mom was going to be euthanized with them in her belly," she said. "So, they have a story and I really believe that dogs hold energy. They’re so sweet and needy, so they seem like rescues and are not like spoiled, precious dogs; they seem like they’ve been adopted. It was 'Sophie’s Choice' -- I couldn’t separate them -- so I adopted both."
Frankel, whose eyes were first opened to the important of rescuing animals in need during her disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in October 2017, partnered with the ASPCA and Moose Toys to encourage people to adopt dogs during the month of October, which is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.
The toy-maker's latest innovation, Scruff-a-Luvs Real Rescue, instills kids with knowledge about pet adoption, which Frankel sees as a direct opportunity to get more families to adopt dogs, instead of buying them at pet stores.
"3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year, which is a real major number," she explained. "Families listen to kids when it comes to pets, and the conversation is definitely being changed where it’s a stigma to go into a retail pet store and buy a dog. You might as well be buying it online and having them ship it to you in a box. How could there be anything wrong with rescuing? There are millions of dogs that have amazing personalities, you get a unique breed that isn’t something you can pinpoint and it’s not a designer dog. I do judge when someone says they got [their dog] at a breeder or a pet store."
Find out more about Bethenny Frankel's partnership with Scruff-a-Luvs, which is covering adoption fees at the ASPCA Adoption Center on Upper East Side every Monday in October, here.