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Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s Ex-Girlfriend Inspired Him to Adopt His Dog Bastian (Exclusive)

Arie Luyendyk Jr.ABC/Paula Lobo

He’s a doggy dad first! Arie Luyendyk Jr. opened up to Us Weekly about adopting his furry friend Bastian.

The 36-year-old race car driver, who partnered with PetSmart Charities to help other dog lovers find the perfect pet to rescue, spoke exclusively to Us about why the cause is close to his heart.

Related: Hilary Duff, Olivia Wilde and More Celebrities Who Adopted Dogs in 2017

“I was dating a single mom at the time, and so for Mother’s Day, we went to the Humane Society. She had two kids and Bastian was just such a sweet dog,” the former Bachelor gushed. “He was so good with her kids and, you know, something about this is that he was found in a foreclosed home and he was just really a good dog right off the bat. So since I brought him home, I just really fell in love with him.”

An added perk of having Bastian by his side? “He’s kind of been there through all of the ups and downs of my relationship and my life,” Arie explained. “So, you know, he’s been a huge support for me.”

Related: Relive the Most Intense ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette’ Scandals of All Time

While he was looking for love on The Bachelor season 22, Arie strived to find a fellow animal lover. “Yeah, it really was [heavy on my heart]. You know, I just waned to find somebody who sort of shares my interest in having a pet,” the ABC star told Us. “I feel like if you’re a good dog mom or dog owner, then you’d make a good parent too.”

Bastian even made his TV debut on a group date! “It was really cool to bring him on the show and to film some of the show with him,” the luxury realtor said of his companion, who tagged along on the dog-walking date that filmed in September 2017. “He was so much fun to do the doggy date with. And when were in L.A. after shooting, I would come home to the hotel and he would be there. It was great to have a little piece of home.”

Related: Which Celebrity Pet Is Your Perfect Match?

Arie faced backlash earlier this month for breaking up with his season’s winner, Becca Kufrin, in emotional, unedited footage shown to viewers. During After the Final Rose, he proposed to runner-up Lauren Burnham, who is a proud dog mom!

“We’re so excited to do regular couple things,” Arie said during his visit to Live With Kelly and Ryan on March 7. “We’re going to Virginia Beach and we’re gonna pack up [Lauren’s] car and her dog, Dallas, and drive all the way to Phoenix. She’s moving to Phoenix.”

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