"Having these sweet dogs that are able to cuddle with you and give you unconditional love is important," says Harris

By Julie Jordan
November 19, 2020 11:00 AM
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For Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, quarantining with their two rescue mutts during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been a boon for their household.

"Having these sweet dogs that are able to cuddle with you and give you unconditional love is important," Harris, 47, tells PEOPLE in this week's Sexiest Man Alive issue, where the couple is featured with their dogs, Gidget and Spike.

Along with their twins, 10-year-olds Harper and Gideon, Harris and Burtka, 45, have been enjoying more quality time together with their four-legged family members. "The walks every day with the dogs have been nice," says Burtka, a professional chef and actor. "They've been loving it. Taking a walk with your family, there's nothing like it. Things come up that you talk about and the dogs are getting exercise so they're feeling happy and in turn we're all happy."

The two dogs, who each have their own Instagram accounts—@gidgetgrams and @spikegrams— with more than 7,000 followers combined, "get along great. They're like siblings," says Harris, who just released his children’s book The Magic Misfits: The Fourth Suit and his game BoxONE. "Spike adores Gidget. He follows her around and chews on her and just like a little brother. If Gidget barks at something, Spike will stop whatever he's doing and run over and see what it is. He just follows her around."

Credit: Michael Schwartz

As for tricks, both pups, who were rescued separately from North Shore Animal League, aren't always on the same page. "Gidget is a bit of a show dog. She can dance, shake and roll over,” Burtka explains. Not so much for Spike. "He can sit and poop in the house," says Burtka. Adds Harris: "Yeah, he loves to do that."

"Spike has short hair, he doesn't like going outside. Now that it's getting colder, he's like a wimp," teases Burtka.

"Well, when it's cold outside, no one really wants to take a crap in the wilderness. I understand that," adds Harris, laughing. "But that's my next goal. If anyone listening can help us figure out how to keep our floors clean ..." Burtka playfully interrupts: "It's called training. Training."

"We tried crate training," says Harris. "It's not like we just got these little things and carry them around in little bags like they're accessories. We've tried. They still just poop everywhere they can."

"That's not true," Burtka. "They don't do it all the time."

"So much. I don't even tell you because I know you'll get upset," Harris admits. "I'll sneakily pick up some puppy poop lest I get an earful from you."

Training issues aside, both Harris and Burtka insist they would never trade having pets in their life. "There's something intrinsic about owning pets and loving animals," says Burtka. "I don't really trust people who don't like animals."

"I'd like to think that having dogs makes you selfless enough that you just love unconditionally and it's this great back and forth because you can't really teach them ramifications for things the way you can with a child," adds Harris. "You can't really teach them consequences so much unless it's happening. Then they start just unloading in the kitchen and then it's hard."

For all the details on Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, and their two dogs, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.