If you know Andy Cohen, then you know Wacha.
Since 2013, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live! host and Real Housewives ringleader has toted around his ridiculously cute beagle-foxhound mix. So popular is Wacha—named after pitcher Michael Wacha from Cohen's hometown St. Louis Cardinals—that his Instagram account has amassed more than 220,000 followers.
“When we go on walks, people recognize him before they see me,” Cohen boasts. “It happens all the time.”
Back at Cohen’s NYC apartment, Wacha was spoiled with one too many doggie treats. That’s why Cohen fed him Purina ONE for 28 straight days—known as the Purina ONE 28-Day Challenge—which led to brighter eyes and a shinier coat. “It worked so well that he’s still on it,” Cohen adds.
Now Cohen and the 5-year-old Wacha are encouraging others to take the challenge. There’s even an incentive: For every pet that signs up through June 30, Purina will donate $5 to the Petfinder Foundation. On May 22, Cohen and his dog participated in a pop-up gallery show in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood, which featured photos of them in Cohen’s home, as well as glamour shots of shelter dogs that have also completed the challenge and are now looking for forever homes. (Find more information here.)
Cohen, who turns 50 on June 2, shares more about his favorite pet cause to Parade.com.
You found Wacha through Petfinder. Was it love at first sight?
It really was! Petfinder is like [dating app] Tinder for dogs. You’re not swiping right or left, but you do click from dog to dog. You can sort everything from weight to breed. They have every kind of dog, and they’re all available for rescue. I loved this photo of him looking up with those eyes. He looked like Snoopy. He was just perfect.
What was Wacha’s backstory?
He was running around in West Virgina, and he was in a kill shelter. Now he’s on helicopters to the Hamptons.
Why was it important for you to rescue a dog?
It was a no-brainer. How are you going to let these dogs [go]? They need homes. Sometimes it’s a do-or-die proposition. So there was no question to me that I was going to look around and out of the zillions of dogs out there, I would find one that I loved. The idea of buying a dog is nuts to me.
You know who else rescued a beagle set to be euthanized? An actress named Meghan Markle.
Oh, I didn’t know that! You’re kidding me! Wow, that is so cool.
So what’s your favorite thing to do with Wacha?
Any time we can spend together at the beach is always great. I sleep with him. I’m fully immersed in the dog experience. I don’t even want to get another dog yet, because I’m worried about screwing up a really good thing. I feel like as he gets older, I’ll get another one.
Have you convinced some of your friends to get rescues?
I have. But nobody you would know.
Why didn’t you ever have a dog growing up?
My mom wasn’t really a dog person.
Can you believe we're having a conversation exclusively about your dog now?
I can, actually!
What’s his personality like?
He’s really sweet. He’s a little bit of a flirt. He’s a bit evasive. My friend said he’s like Hugh Grant because he seduces you and then he’s a little indifferent to you. But Wacha met Michael Wacha a few months ago, and they got along very well.
I just met Wacha, and I have to admit that I was a little starstruck.
He’s the cutest! The truth of the matter is, I feel like the more people that fall in love with this cute dog—they all know he’s a rescue. They know that I saved him and he saved me. It’s just a great story.