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Mariah Haas
April 16, 2015 08:00 PM

To introduce her beloved “first-borns” – dogs Lulu and Meeka – to daughter Everly, Jenna Dewan-Tatum made a plan before she brought her baby girl Everly, now 22 months, home.

“I took some of my hospital blankets … when I was in the hospital with Everly that had her scent on it – it was one of the receiving blankets and something she was wrapped around – and I had it brought back to our house where our dogs were so they could get her scent,” Dewan-Tatum told PEOPLE at the Shutterfly Launches Pet Accessories Collection with Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Hope for Paws event held at the Veterinary Care Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

“They were indifferent. They were kind of curious. They were not lovey right away,” explains the actress, who adds her pups were not cuddly with Everly at the start. “They were kind of like we were the babies. Now Everly is the new baby, but they were respectful of it.”

And Dewan-Tatum admits that her and husband, Channing Tatum‘s 60-pound pit bull, Lulu was “very jealous of Everly initially.”

“She didn’t like that there was someone getting all of my attention,” Dewan-Tatum says. “So we had to do a lot of work even if it was 10, 20 minutes just alone time with Lulu and petting her and saying, ‘Oh it’s ok I’m still your mommy.’ It’s just like having a sibling.”

But now they’re all getting along adorably.

“[Meeka] – who I was really worried about because she was really scared and skittish around kids – she’s actually the one who is around [Everly], sits by her, lets her give her kisses and Evvy just goes over and hugs them,” the proud mama shares. “She like climbs on my pitbull now. It’s really cool to watch because I let our dogs have their time to adjust to it too.”

“I wasn’t forcing it on them as long as there wasn’t any aggression that was shown, which wasn’t happening,” she adds. “It took them a while to warm up and realize, ‘Oh Everly is sticking around. She’s not going anywhere so let’s see what this thing is about’ – and now they love each other.”

And the once-jealous Lulu has even “adopted this I’m the big sister mentality now” and has “become way more protective of Everly.”

“I just started realizing it because the other day Everly was having a little toddler day – she was just cranky and kind of cry-y a little bit and just having one of those days that us mamas know very well,” the 34-year-old says. “But Lulu would follow us around the house wherever we were … if I got up and went to the kitchen she came to the kitchen and sat, and I went, ‘She’s protecting her.’ ”

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