Andy Cohen Celebrates His Dog Wacha’s Senior Years: “He Opened My Heart Up”
Photo: Courtesy of Purina

Nicole PajerPet Parenting / Pet Stories

Andy Cohen Celebrates His Dog Wacha’s Senior Years: “He Opened My Heart Up”

Fans of Andy Cohen are sure to have seen pictures or video clips of the famed Bravo television host cuddling with his adorable rescue pup, Wacha. The star, who wasn’t originally sure if he was ready for the challenge of owning a pup, rescued his dog in 2013 after months of aimlessly browsing through pet adoption websites. When he stumbled across his now furry companion’s photo, it was love at first sight.

“You're scrolling through dogs and I'm telling you, the minute I saw this picture of him, I was like, ‘Oh, that's my dog,’” he tells Chewy.

Today, Andy Cohen and his dog are completely inseparable. He travels with Wacha, takes him all over New York City, and even brings the canine to the set of Bravo shows like “Watch What Happens Live.” And now, six years since Wacha Cohen first ranked among the Hollywood elite, Cohen’s vet has informed him that his 7-year-old Beagle mix has officially entered his senior years. Thus, Cohen has stepped up his game and is doing everything he can to provide the extra love and care that his dog needs for this next stage of life.

We caught up with Andy Cohen to discuss his dog Wacha’s new senior-friendly diet, how he introduced his pup to his baby, whom he adopted in early 2019, and the hilarious things Wacha has done on the set of his Bravo shows—including nipping one celebrity and chewing up the personal item of another.

Q:

How did your dog Wacha Cohen come into your life?

A:

I found him on Petfinder, which is like Tinder for rescue dogs. And I knew the minute that I saw his face. It’s that weird thing. It was after my show one night.

It was like one in the morning. And I remember I emailed them twice in the middle of the night being like, what's the deal with this dog? So, he was a rescue. He is named after a pitcher from the St Louis Cardinals.

Q:

How old was he when you got him?

A:

He was like 1 1/2. I've had him like, God, I feel like it's been six years. He’s 7 now. And the wild thing is that I, like 83 percent of Americans who have [senior dogs], didn't realize that he was a senior dog.*

Find out when your dog is considered a senior.

To keep him healthy at this age, I made the switch to Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Adult Formula Dry Dog Food. He still seems like a puppy, but he's a senior dog. It’s crazy, though, that most people don't realize when their dogs turn to be seniors. And there are also a lot of senior dogs that need rescuing. So, if people sign up for the 28-day challenge now, Purina ONE is giving a dollar for each person who signs up to Petfinder’s rescue efforts for senior dogs, which I'm really behind.

Q:

How has your life changed since adopting him?

A: Oh my God. He just totally opened my heart up. I became a new dad last year, and I don't know that I would have really taken the plunge and had a kid had it not been for my relationship with my dog. It’s one thing to take care of yourself and be focused on yourself, but then you start taking care of another member of your family and then you think, “Well, where am I going from here?”

Q:

Aside from switching his food, is there anything else you’re doing to cater to Wacha in his senior age?

A: Switching him to the healthy senior-supporting food was a big step … and he's responding really well to it. He still has a lot of energy and his coat looks great. So, it's been a good transition. It's only been a month. Other than that, I'm just trying to get him as much exercise as I possibly can.

Q:

When you were first looking into getting a dog, one of your big hesitations was you thought that you wouldn't have enough time for one. Do you have any advice for people who might be in the same boat?

A:

I just think people automatically are like, I could never fit a dog into my life. And I'm the poster child for that. I have eight jobs. I travel constantly. But you know what? You figure it out. You absolutely figure it out. And that's what I did.

For instance, I hired a guy to care for Wacha when I can’t and get him some exercise. I have one guy that I use. Wacha thinks that he just lives in two places, basically ... I just make it work. It’s just more organization. Sometimes he comes to work with me. I bring him as many places as I can.

Q:

Is he a good set dog? Any funny bloopers like peeing on the set?

A: He's done everything. But he's still pretty good. He bit Rick Springfield and he chewed up Maury Povich’s glasses. But in fairness, Rick Springfield pulled his ear and he hates getting his ears pulled. Rick Springfield’s like, “It was totally my fault. I was roughhousing with him.”

Q:

What’s life like with him at home?

A: I just love cuddling with him. That's my favorite thing. I like cuddling.

Q:

Does he watch his dad on Bravo?

A: I don't think he does. I don't think he cares. He doesn’t seem to recognize my voice on TV.

Q:

How do the dog and the baby get along?

A:

I read all this stuff about giving the dog a baby blanket and all this stuff. The baby was born in LA. I brought him back to New York. The dog was in Brooklyn at his kind of second home. I got the baby accustomed to being in my apartment for like a week before I reintroduced my dog to the apartment.

But what I did is when the dog came home, I just acted like everything was the same. The baby was upstairs sleeping in his room. I hung out with the dog. He was excited as see me. He hadn't seen me in awhile. And then I would say like 90 minutes into the dog being home, I just went into the baby's room and the dog followed me and I just let the dog sniff around. He saw that there was a baby in there. I did not make a big deal out of it at all. I made it seem like, “OK, well here's this person.” And then the next time he saw the baby, I was holding the baby. I let him smell the baby. That was it. It was all very like, “Yeah, now there's a baby here.” And it seemed to have worked.

And now, if anything, I'm extra protective of Wacha and I'm catering to him a lot. And he gets a lot of love. He gets to sleep with me so he gets all my cuddles at night.

Q:

And so at this point are you a full-on dog guy? Could you imagine life without having a dog of some sort in your world?

A: No, I cannot. I definitely cannot.

Q:

Since you’ve very in with all of the fabulous reality Bravo stars, which one of those network stars could really benefit the most from having a dog in their life?

A: Most of them have dogs, to tell you the truth. There are a lot of famous dogs in the “Housewives.” I’d say Shep Rose on “Southern Charm” because he needs something to anchor him.

*According to the 2019 Senior Dog Owner Survey by Purina ONE, which surveyed more than 1,000 senior dog parents in the United States, 83 percent of senior dog parents didn’t know when a dog is considered a senior.

By: Nicole Pajer
Nicole Pajer is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the proud owner of a Doberman who never runs out of energy and a rat terrier who excels at breakdancing. In addition to Chewy, she writes for The New York Times, Parade, HuffPo, Woman’s Day, Billboard, and more. Keep up with her adventures on Twitter @NicolePajer.

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