James Kennedy and Ally Lewber are having a blast as a family of five (which includes three fur babies).
During an exclusive interview with Us Weekly at BravoCon on Saturday, November 4, James, 31, and Ally, 27, discussed how dog Hippie has adjusted to living with them and their two cats.
“[He is] so good. He’s amazing,” James gushed before Ally added, “He’s so great. I love him. He’s so happy and we have a yard. He’s been a great boy.”
After adopting the dog earlier this summer, James confirmed to Us that he hasn’t had any contact with ex Raquel Leviss, who was Hippie’s previous owner.
Vanderpump Rules viewers were introduced to Hippie when he was still called Graham Cracker. During James and Raquel’s relationship, the former beauty pageant queen, 29, got the pet as a gift from her parents. Raquel initially remained Graham’s primary guardian after ending her engagement to James in late 2021.
Earlier this year, Raquel made headlines for having an affair with costar Tom Sandoval, which ended his nearly decade-long romance with Ariana Madix. Raquel checked herself into a mental health facility in the aftermath of the drama. While fans assumed that Raquel’s dog was in her family’s possession amid her 90-day stay, James later revealed he was looking after Graham now.
“Look who made his way back home, back into my life. I’ll take care of you forever, and I love you,” James captioned a July Instagram photo of him filming season 11 with his dog, who he later renamed Hippie.
Lisa Vanderpump claimed at the time that her Vanderpump Dogs Rescue organization received word that the dog was in a rescue center, which is how James was able to gain custody. Raquel’s mother, Laura, however, clarified that an incident led to the decision to surrender Graham to trainers at California Doodle Rescue. They later contacted Lisa, 63, without Laura’s knowledge or approval.
One month later, Raquel offered her side of the story about what led to Graham getting rehomed.
“There’s a lot more to this story, but Graham, my gosh. He has a history of aggression and he’s bitten me really hard. I already was considering getting a foster family while going into [the mental health facility] the Meadows and trying it out,” she said on Bethenny Frankel‘s iHeartRadio’s “ReWives” podcast in August.
Raquel claimed there was “a reason why” she didn’t want James to look after the dog, adding, “He doesn’t have dog experience and he’s part of the reason why Graham is a biter. James would encourage Graham to bite his hands hard, and he liked that sensation, so of course that trained Graham to be a biter.”
According to Raquel, the choice to find Graham a new home came after she exhausted other options.
“My dog Graham bit my mom’s hand down to the bone, and it was so bad she couldn’t even get stitches. I had the decision to either leave the Meadows and go back and take care of my dog, or try to get him rehomed and finish out my treatment, because I knew I had more to work on,” she continued. “So I chose myself and we researched a breed-specific dog rescue, and they took him in besides his biting behavior. Bottom line, he couldn’t get rehomed.”
The former reality star, who has since announced her departure from Vanderpump Rules, was surprised to hear Lisa got involved with rehoming Graham.
“It was supposed to be a confidential, anonymous [decision] because it’s nobody else’s business,” she added at the time. “I thought it was a joke at first [when I saw Graham with James]. My heart dropped to my stomach. There was a picture of James walking Graham, and I was like, ‘No.’ Immediately, my mom called the foster who was working with Graham, and she said, ‘Oh, it’s so lovely. Lisa adopted him.’ So now the narrative is, I dumped my dog at a shelter and he was hours away from being euthanized and that’s not true.”
Although Raquel has taken a step back from filming, James has enjoyed being in the spotlight after filming season 11.
“The vibe was pretty intense after [our Vanderpump Rules panel]. I don’t think Sandoval had too much fun up there. I was having a great time,” James joked with Us after joining his costars onstage at BravoCon on Friday, November 3. “But yeah, it was an intense panel. … But we all got through it and I did think there were some funny parts.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi