"This guy's all about people and all about connecting," says George Lopez
Credit: Photograph by Meredith Jenks

George Lopez met his 1-year-old Chihuahua Owen when he was hosting the World Dog Awards.

“I was looking for a dog, but not really looking looking,” Lopez, 55, tells PEOPLE. “Then I held him, and I said, ‘Hey, maybe this might be the dog for me.’ “

Owen had been rescued by Wags and Walks, but no one had given him a permanent home.

“Owen had been turned over a few times,” says Lopez. “People had kind of looked at him and passed on him.”

But the comedian was immediately drawn to his puppy’s personality.

“He’s quiet for a Chihuahua, which is rare,” says Lopez. “This guy’s all about people and all about connecting. I thought, ‘Wow, what a special dog.’ “

And Owen’s also an expert at giving – and getting – affection.

“He licks a lot,” says Lopez. “He loves people! He’s a master at getting you to pet him.”

One of their favorite things to do together is to watch television while enjoying some dessert.

“I’ll give him some pudding while he’s watching TV,” says Lopez. “He loves that!”

Even though Lopez hasn’t traveled much with Owen yet, he is planning on taking him on his upcoming “The Comedy Getdown Tour” with Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley and Charlie Murphy.

“Eddie Griffin brings his dog Peanut, and I’m supposed to bring Owen so that Peanut and Owen can hang out,” says Lopez.

One of the best parts about having a dog for Lopez is that Owen keeps him active.

“They make you do things for them, when you don’t want to do things for yourself,” he says. “In the morning, you’ve got to take them out. He makes me do things like get up and go down stairs, and walk around. It’s so natural that you wouldn’t think that you’re servicing him, and then he’s helping you at the same time.”

The actor says his dog has already given him just as much as he has given him.

“He’s been great for me,” says Lopez. “This business closes you off, and a dog opens you up.”

Interested in pet rescue? As part of #CleartheShelters — a national adoption event organized by NBC Universal — hundreds of animal shelters across the country will offer no-cost or reduced fee adoptions on July 23. Go to cleartheshelters.com to see participating shelters.

To see more stars and their rescue pets, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday