With its bright pink exterior and white picket fence, the Vanderpump Dog Rescue Center, one of entrepreneur and reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump’s latest ventures, is hard to miss, especially if the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” costar and her husband’s white Rolls-Royce is parked out front.
“It was a couple of years ago that we got involved in the pet business,” said Vanderpump, 56, during a visit to the rescue center, which opened this year.
“Housewives” fans know Vanderpump, who also stars in Bravo TV’s “Vanderpump Rules,” and her husband, Ken Todd, are passionate about dogs. The couple and their venture partner, John Sessa, have been raising awareness for the canine kind through the Vanderpump Dog Foundation, which will have its second annual gala on Nov. 9.
Vanderpump’s approach has allowed her to draw attention to man’s best friend. Her organization was founded in 2016 to help create a human world for dogs.
Vanderpump, who has eight dogs herself, said she wanted to create a center where people could volunteer, get pet grooming services or spend time with — or adopt — dogs.
The rescue center sells dog treats, food, clothes and accessories, and 100% of proceeds are donated back to the center and its programs.
Vanderpump, who has restaurants in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood including Pump, said her well-dressed dog, Giggy, inspired the center.
“Giggy has become a bit of a character in his own right,” said Vanderpump about her dog, who has alopecia, which causes him to lose his hair. “He was known as this little dog who always dressed up.”
Dog treats and other merchandise at Vanderpump Dog Rescue Center, which offers not only dog adoptions but also other services and goodies.(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
Among the merchandise for sale.(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
Shoulder bags.(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
Items ranging from cute to kitschy are available for purchase the Vanderpump Dog Rescue Center.(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
A peek inside Vanderpump Dog Rescue Center, which opened last year at 8134 W. 3rd St. in L.A. The center also sells dog-related merchandise.(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
Nicole Rejwan watches Dotty, left, and Leo play in the “dog house” at Vanderpump Dog Rescue Center.(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
Groomer Christine Keesee blow-dries Pucci’s fur at the “dry bar.”(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
A customer looks around at the center.(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
Lisa Vanderpump’s dog, Giggy, at the center.(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
The other reason was less glamorous. Vanderpump learned about the annual Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, China, where reportedly 10,000 dogs are killed and eaten.
“We were so horrified by it,” she said. “I turned to Ken and just said, ‘You have to help me fight this — whatever we can do.’”
Now Vanderpump is working on a self-funded documentary about the dog festival, and hopes the project reaches a wide audience.
“When you have celebrity — and I use that term loosely ... I think it comes with responsibility, to draw attention to causes that are important to you,” Vanderpump said.
Vanderpump Dog Rescue
Where: 8134 W. 3rd St.,Los Angeles
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays