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Lisa Vanderpump: This Was an Emotional Nightmare
"As all of the women focus on who is to blame for exposing Puppy Gate, I choose to focus on the excellent work my foundation does on a daily basis."
Hello and welcome back. I am sorry for the delay.
This last year has been extraordinarily challenging and I admit I floundered – I didn’t cope – as I wallowed in the depths of depression, having some good days and many bad.
I still attempted to commit to yet another season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I believe that my instincts to withdraw this year were correct, as Andy validated on Watch What Happens Live recently. However, I hoped to make it through with close friends – but as we have seen, that was not to be. You saw Kyle come to my house and accuse me of lying.
Then, for me to put my hand to God and swear on my children’s life and still have my friend disbelieve me is unacceptable. I assure you, if any of my friends were as vociferous in their statement of innocence, holding up their children’s life...guess what? I would believe them.
That is where the show started but is ultimately where our friendship finished. My birthday was that weekend, so I tried to pull myself together after the nasty confrontation with one of my supposed good friends. Fortunately, the next day Ken had organized a wonderful surprise: my brother’s sons blessed me by visiting. As we all were aware, celebrating such a short time after our family tragedy was difficult at best.
The essence of a “reality” show, in my humble opinion, is how we immerse ourselves in the warp and weft of a complicated journey that most of us muddle through – it is to show our life experiences and how we deal.
For example, last year when Page Six highlighted a malicious lawsuit filed against us, a cast member salaciously brought it to the screen and I didn’t object, even thought it was mean spirited. I believe that to have the platform of reality television to explain our stance was a chance that I did not overlook. You witnessed our relief as we were vindicated and the attorney general closed the business that was attacking us.
A plethora of issues that have surfaced in the press have never reached the light of day. Instead, now I am the main focus yet again.
I vividly recall the dinner where the subject matter of Apple Juicy reared its ugly head once more. Not once was it mentioned that other instances transpired in the Bahamas that day.
No, let’s castigate Vanderpump once more.
It’s ironic and beggar’s belief that not once has anyone enquired after the welfare of the puppy – the beloved puppy.
How is she? Is she at the center? Well, she lived at the center and went home with one of our devoted employees for some time, and now she has found a loving home.
The fabric of life, and how we cope with life’s challenges, is what is fascinating. I have always been open to that.
From topics like discussing adoption with regard to my son, opening businesses with cameras, capturing the frustrations that go hand in hand, dealing with legalities, celebrating the trials and tribulations of marriage, betrayal by friends and even this year the grief of losing a loved one to suicide, I have signed up to share my life honestly and that is what I have endeavored to do.
And so, on this season, the story begins.
In this complicated scenario regarding Puppy Gate, I do believe that to expect a tacit response from a group of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the salvation of dogs would be unrealistic.
So, that day at the rescue center was riddled with complications. Feelings were running high.
I have come to understand that the people that work in rescue are driven by emotion, more so than practicality or sensibility. It is passion that drives their love of dogs. They pick up poop, work tirelessly, comfort abused dogs, witness atrocities that find their way to our doorstep, and make difficult decisions for sometimes, only some can be saved from the shelter.
Firstly, Dr. John Sessa is my partner, not an employee, and we often butt heads over the way things are orchestrated. He is the executive director of the foundation – he is not a boy, as he has been referred to. He is also not a man that defers to me. More importantly, he is the person who has delved into the horrors of dog abuse. He has rescued and pleaded to save so many dogs ripe for slaughter and destined for torture. He has birthed puppies in our own nursery and he believes he is responsible for each and every one of them. He has travelled to China to open our sanctuary there. And as many of you witnessed in our documentary, he highlighted the atrocities of the inhumane treatment of dogs all over the world. He had a very strong opinion regarding Lucy and we had tried to placate him to no avail.
There is no benefit to our foundation with any attention being brought to this matter. Just the mere fact that one of our dogs ended up in a shelter is a potential catastrophe, especially since we are a non-profit 501c3 that needs donations.
That is why we have specific deterrents like microchips, apps, and the punitive 5k to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Even now, as we house hundreds of dogs in China that have been in small cages for three years, feet have grown through the bars of the cages that they are incarcerated in. Now, they move freely at our sanctuary.
So, frankly, if our rescue staff are emphatic in their opinion of a woman that carelessly rejected the second dog we had placed with her – a puppy that was birthed in our center, a puppy that was bottle fed by Dr. John – I understand that.
Lucy was not a traumatized rescue dog who had a history of biting and was unsuitable for children as often stated. She started her life in a loving environment provided by our foundation.
We are cognizant of the situation that a dog would be placed in. Young children can terrorize a dog; they have to be taught to be tactile, gentle and patient as the puppy becomes more secure in its new surroundings.
I had spoken to Dorit a few days prior, and she explained to me that a woman had come to her house and fallen in love with Lucy, and that the little dog was apparently going to a new home “for a much better life.” I said that it was impossible for us to ever give them another dog, to which she agreed. I wasn’t angry with her, but I couldn’t understand why she didn’t return Lucy. I knew at some point a home check was necessary and a transfer of ownership would need to happen. But with Dorit being a close friend, she reassured me that the puppy was going to an excellent home so I didn’t feel it was a matter of urgency. There was no mention of biting.
The center was then alerted that weekend that the puppy, Lucy Apple Juicy, had been dropped off at a shelter that had euthanasia facilities. The notification came through by email on police headed note paper. All of the employees were aghast at how this had transpired. The note was stating that a reality star didn’t want the dog anymore.
John Sessa was enraged. He came to our house, apoplectic, while Ken was emphatic that John would not disparage our friends and would never talk about this publicly in a negative way. John thought otherwise: he wanted accountability. John’s anger superseded any compassion for the aftermath that might ensue. It was relentless, and I was in the middle with two other friends on a Sunday night as we tried to placate John without diminishing his passionate stance on one of his beloved puppies being deserted. I recall stating emphatically in the heat of the argument, “I don’t care who says what, it’s unimportant,” and that it was irrelevant who spoke about it and who said what. The important thing was to retrieve the puppy from the shelter ASAP.
Ken and I travelled to Vegas the next day, and thankfully our team was well on the way to rescue the puppy as I had to focus on concerns at the forefront of our mind: we were due to break ground in Vegas soon. We did call and state in no uncertain terms to the staff at the rescue center that we didn’t want this to gather momentum. Dr. John Sessa replied that John Blizzard had already told Teddi. He was often in contact with her and a gossipy text had been sent, which I witnessed later. I hadn’t spoken to Blizzard in quite some time as I rarely interact with him outside of preparing for our annual fundraising Gala – I do have approximately 400 employees.
The center was heaving with opinions and Puppy Gate was a water cooler situation. John Blizzard has since expressed deep regret that he has perpetuated and engaged in salacious gossip which ignited a maelstrom of negativity. He is twenty-three years old, though. Hopefully one lives and learns.
I sent Dorit a text urging her to get in front this issue. I would have thought that would have included Dorit going down to the center and calming an already emotional young staff, reassuring them that her intentions, albeit careless, had no malintent.
When Lucy was placed with PK and Dorit, utmost care was given by Hannah, our wonderful adoption coordinator, including visiting and taking the puppy back for ten days as she was spayed (so as not to inconvenience them) so Lucy would be given the care she needed. Hannah has shown us texts that were sent inquiring about the welfare of the puppy prior to Lucy being relinquished with no response.
I don’t believe for one minute that Dorit would’ve knowingly left the puppy in a shelter, but she was guilty of a careless choice. When I alerted her to the fact that Lucy was in a shelter and asked if she could please give me the name of the woman who had taken Lucy, she asked to call me back – she wanted to be sure of the name.
I don’t believe she knew the name of the woman, but maybe her assistant did.
I did send John Sessa a text prior to arriving at the center to let it go and to not bring up the subject of Lucy as I knew they were fired up.
Frankly, the synopsis is that I have always endeavored to protect Dorit and I was accused of it once more. But, I don’t give a damn at this point. As all of the women focus on who is to blame for exposing Puppy Gate, I choose to focus on the excellent work my foundation does on a daily basis.
I rarely comment on the endless nastiness and accusations from castmates; however, anybody who lies and asserts that I was responsible for the filming schedule at Vanderpump Dogs needs to retract that.
I was told that they were there for grooming and Instagram pictures. Kyle even forgot to bring her dog – she must’ve had something else on her mind.
It’s ironic that the same person who is rushing to Dorit’s side, telling her not to cry and that she was her friend, was also accusing me of protecting her at the center. It’s laughable, really. This whole matter ought to have been put to bed after the lunch between Dorit and PK and me and Ken, but everybody incessantly feels the need to harp on it. By their own admission, they realized their culpability and that should’ve been it.
What is so ridiculous is the fact that I never had any contact with anybody but John Sessa regarding that day at the center. So, why on earth would anybody would conjure up a scenario on the strength of what my employee, a twenty-three-year-old, said? It’s beyond ridiculous. Call me, talk to me.
I haven’t seen any of the episodes as I have decided not to revisit a painful time in my life. The trip that was supposed to be a brief respite, was instead an emotional nightmare that pulled me even deeper.
And yes, I understand empathy more than most. My world of having so many youngsters who need guidance paired with the world of rescue requires it – but empathy was scant on the ground in the Bahamas.
I encourage you to keep watching.
And always remember, “I am passionate about dogs…” You know the rest.
And to my castmates, I will “see you next Tuesday.”