"My other dog died about a year and a half ago. I had been feeling a little lonely," the radio host and author told PEOPLE

By Tricia Despres
August 22, 2019 10:45 PM
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It’s mere minutes before the Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots show in Chicago, and the media powerhouse finds himself in his dressing room, cuddling with his new love — a puppy by the name of Stanley.

“He was a little out of control, so nobody really wanted him,” Bones, 39, tells PEOPLE as he gives the blue-eyed, English bulldog a welcome scratch behind the ears. “He was too chewy. He was the wild one in the group. So I was like, ‘OK, I will take him.'”

Indeed, for a guy who has long made a life and career out of taking on his share of challenges, Bones says that bringing a new puppy home didn’t faze him much.

In fact, he came into his life just in time.

“My other dog [Dusty] died about a year and a half ago and I had had him for 15 years,” Bones says as Stanley starts snoring beside him. “I had been feeling a little lonely and I travel so much and do all these shows now — which is awesome — but I’d like to have a buddy. I just figured at some point some dog would arrive in my life and it was him.”

Indeed, Bones’ schedule has never been busier. Not only does he continue to be a vital member of iHeartRadio’s lineup of hosts, but the Dancing with the Stars Season 27 champion is currently prepping to once again join American Idol as a full time, in-house mentor alongside judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.

“I mean, I got a dog because with this schedule, I can’t keep a girlfriend or I can’t get a girlfriend — whichever one,” he admits as he messes with his hair for a bit, sporting that signature perplexed look on his face that the whole world has seemingly fallen in love with.

But for as much success Bones has had in his professional life, the Arkansas native has long talked about the troubles he has had in the romance department. In years past, Bones has been linked with country music artists Rachel Reinert, formerly of Gloriana, and guitarist Lindsay Ell.

“I would like to have kids at some point, I guess,” Bones says, his voice trailing off with every word. “But I love dogs. It’s just something to care about. I have had trouble with commitment and with a dog, you just love them and they love you back. I think for me it’s almost like therapy.”

He adds with a laugh, “I know he’s not going to break up with me. The only reason he may leave is if he sees a hot dog or something.”

And while a girlfriend might not be in the cards at the moment for Bones, he does say he is quite content with Stanley by his side, even though the two have had their share of growing pains.

“I’m a single dad here,” jokes Bones, who has long been a dog lover and has donated both time and money to various shelters around the country. “He has totally ruined my sleep cycle. At first, it was every four hours that he had to go out because his bladder is so small. And then it was five hours and now it’s six. So yeah, it’s becoming a little more manageable.”

And then there is Stanley’s issue with chewing, well … everything.

“The good thing is that when he gets tired, he doesn’t chew as much,” says Bones, who became the youngest ever inductee into the National Radio Hall of Fame back in 2017. “I wish they would have hamster wheels for bulldogs! But yeah, at first I was like ‘How am I supposed to love this dog? All he’s doing is chewing everything and needs to go outside every 30 minutes.’ But now that I have had him for [longer], I do really love him.”

Bobby Bones
Ed Herrera/ ABC

And it’s that love that is changing life in a way Bones says he never saw coming.

“He’s been good for me,” says Bones, who recently served as a special guest host for the ABC broadcast of this year’s CMA Fest. “I’ve been sleeping better. I do have to make sure he is taken care of. I don’t know if it is slowing me down, but it has made me think about things in a non-selfish way because usually it’s about me, like ‘Where am I going and how am I going to get there and when my next job is and what time?’ And now it’s like, ‘Has the dog been out? Has the dog been fed?’ I don’t know, there is just something about having him here.”

So, for a guy who lives so much of his life in front of the camera, is there a reason why Stanley doesn’t have an Instagram page as of yet?

“I will not do that because I want the clicks,” Bones says emphatically. “I don’t want people to like him more than they like me.”

Bobby Bones
Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

He laughs at the thought, looking far younger than the 40 years old he will turn next year.

“I’m kind of looking forward to finally turning 40,” he admits. “Because at 39, all you think about is turning 40. So I’m like, ‘Let’s just get to 40.’ I mean, c’mon. It doesn’t freak me out. The only thing that freaks me out is that I just have to meet a girl. Maybe it’s me. I have a dog now! Maybe that will change things.”

Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots are on tour through the fall; tickets are available here. The Bobby Bones Show is nationally syndicated weekday mornings on country stations across the United States.