Still with her. Bethenny Frankel believes the memory of her late boyfriend Dennis Shields “lives on” in their rescue dogs Biggy and Smallz.
“These dogs have absolutely changed our lives. I know it sounds crazy, but they really have,” the Real Housewives of New York City alum, 48, told Us Weekly exclusively on Thursday, October 3, while promoting Moose Toys’ new Scruff-a-Luvs Real Rescue plush.
The Bravo star explained that Shields convinced her to adopt the Lhasa Apso puppies, who came from the same litter. Though she was hesitant at first, Frankel admitted that she was happy to have the two pups after her other dog Cookie died in October 2017 following multiple seizures.
“We’ve experienced loss in our house. A person that was in my life for years passed away, and he’s the one who made me get both [dogs],” she said. “I was like, ‘Are you crazy? I’m not getting two dogs,’ and he thought it was crazy to separate them. And I said, ‘All right, so now I’m getting two dogs,’ and I had three dogs at the time. My dog passed away, so I was left with Biggie and Smalls and he named them, so people’s memory lives on.”
As a proponent of rescue dogs, Frankel encourages pet owners to adopt and not shop.
“Dennis’ memory lives on through these two dogs, so there are stories,” she said. “A rescue dog has many more stories. It has history, and you feel like you’ve done something good.”
The Skinnygirl Jeans designer also told Us about how Biggy and Smallz, who are verified on Instagram, have taught her 9-year-old daughter Bryn about compassion. The reality star shares Bryn with ex Jason Hoppy.
“Adopting is something that’s part of her. She’s proud of it. ‘We have two rescue dogs’ she tells everybody that, so it’s part of her identity as a doggy mommy,” Frankel said.
She added, “They are our family members. [Bryn] will spend a whole day just loving them and laying with them.”
Frankel and Shields adopted Biggy and Smallz in October 2016, nearly two years before the businessman died at the age of 51 in August 2018. The banker and Frankel, who met nearly 30 years before their relationship, had been dating on and off since 2016. Us confirmed in August 2018 that Shields had proposed to Frankel four months before his death and the two were secretly engaged.
“They were very back and forth,” a source said at the time. “[They] were definitely making plans to move forward with things and trying to make it work. Dennis really loved her.”
With reporting by Marc Lupo
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