“I think opening a rescue center was kind of our idea of reinventing the wheel for the rescue dogs,” Vanderpump tells PEOPLE of the Vanderpump Dogs rescue center. “I just felt that if we could create a situation where it wasn’t so depressing. People are sometimes slightly reluctant to immerse themselves and go walking into he kill shelters when rescuing dogs. It can be very upsetting.”
“It’s like a puppy palace,” she adds. “Everything about it — the chandeliers, the music, we’ve got a lot of great, kind beautiful people who are volunteering, the velvet couches, the coffee tables — everything about it is so different, but yet it feels so right,” she says.
“People can come in, have a cup of tea, sit there and play with the puppies and really interact with them,” she continues. “It was something so different to anything else that was around. It was the final piece of the jigsaw.”
“[When adopting] the first thing to do is to come in and interact with the dog,” says Vanderpump, 56. “There has to be a chemistry. You have to realize that sometimes there’s a history and always be aware of how slowly the steps are going to be taken to really bond with the dog. Obviously a lot of the rescue dogs have abuse in their background. We’re very conscious of that.”
Vanderpump especially likes the grooming perks the pooches themselves experience during their stay at the center.
“The puppies can get Vanderpuffed here!” she says. “We have groomers here. We sell Vanderpump Pets merchandise, which is also sold in Petco, and everything that’s sold in our shop, all the profits go to supporting the center. We have a little café with doggy biscuits. We have tables and chair outside. It’s like a one-stop shop for our furry friends.”
Because rescuing dogs and bringing awareness to the the mistreatment of them in places around the world such Yulin, where they torture, kill and eat dog meat, Vanderpump and her husband are in the midst of creating a documentary in hopes of further educating those who might not be aware.
“What we’re trying to do is create more humane treatment for dogs worldwide,” says Vanderpump. “We are really trying to educate people. It’s ambitious for me to think that I can create change in the world by advocating that people don’t eat dog meat. Everybody has their own fight — this is mine. My fight against Yulin wasn’t so much against the dog meat trade — which I find repulsive — but it was also more about the torture of dogs.”
Vanderpump Rules airs Mondays (9 p.m. ET) and RHOBH airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.