Dr. John Sessa, executive director of Vanderpump Dogs, is busting open a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills storyline that’s threatening to swallow Season 9!
John set the record straight on Tuesday night’s “On the Rocks” radio show, and explained his side of what went down during Dorit Kemsley’s flopped dog adoption.
Fans know that Dorit adopted a pup from Lisa Vanderpump’s rescue center, but later claimed that she had re-homed the family pet, because the dog had bitten her husband and children. Dorit said on Tuesday’s “Watch What Happens Live” that she told Lisa about the situation “immediately.”
Kyle Richards backed Dorit’s explanation in her blog, writing, “When Dorit called Lisa to tell her what happened and that she had to find a new home for the dog, Lisa seemingly understood Dorit’s position and never asked for the dog to be returned to her or Vanderpump Dogs.”
John made tongues wag on the premiere episode, when he identified the dog, “Lucy Lucy Apple Juice,” in front of Kyle Richards and Teddi Mellencamp-Arroyave, while Bravo cameras rolled. Lisa Rinna later accused Lisa of “setting up” the duo, and using John in a strategy to expose the story.
John explained that Lisa and Ken asked him to waive the $5k penalty outlined in Dorit’s signed adoption contract, the fee imposed on adopters who do not return unwanted dogs to the center. Lisa and Ken have been friends with the Kemsleys for years, but John claimed that he refused their request. He added that he actually argued with Ken over the matter.
“….he’s saying, ‘Protect my friend,” John said. “And I said, ‘F*ck you. I’m not protecting your friends; I’m protecting the foundation. I don’t have loyalty to Dorit; I have loyalty to my foundation, and I have loyalty to my dogs.’”
John denied that Lisa had anything to do with exposing the situation for Housewives.
“This is what upsets me. Everyone thinks Lisa planted this,” John said. “This is reality [TV] meeting real world. I got the location agreement on Wednesday. This happened on a Sunday, and we had to film on the following Thursday. So Lisa is in the middle, trying to open TomTom, trying to open the Vegas location that they’re doing. And so literally that Monday, she got on a plane to go to Vegas while I’m screaming at her … I even have the text message from Lisa — and again, no one know this — Lisa said, ‘Shut this down,’ at 9:45, and we were filming at 10. And honestly, I’m not going to because how am I supposed to be an executive director, doctor of international business for a foundation that is international — we’re in six countries — and I’m supposed to say, ‘Oh, when something bad happens and it involves a celebrity, we just push that under the rug.’ It doesn’t work that way.”
“You guys have to understand that PK and Dorit are Lisa and Ken’s longtime friends, and Lisa always — which, Lisa and I have multiple arguments about, I’ll admit that — we always fight about her defending Dorit because Dorit has done several things. She’s not only done things to me, but she’s done things to Lisa, who I care about, and now she’s done something to a dog that I hand-reared,” John continued. “So I go over to Lisa and Ken’s, and they’re having family dinner with two friends. And I have to admit, I’m spitting blood. And I have to say, Lisa was very torn. She was torn between her friends, and she was torn between me. I’m the mentor to all these young, budding philanthropists, saying, ‘We have to be so strict with these things.’ So how am I going to take my responsibility down and say, ‘No, it’s Dorit from Real Housewives, so we have to ignore all of our procedures.’”
John called out Rinna’s assessment of the situation — and took issue with one her snarky comments.
“I don’t appreciate Lisa Rinna saying, ‘She should quell her boys,’” John said. “I’m a 40-year-old man who has his doctorate in international business, and I’m not her employee.”
On Tuesday’s episode, Rinna accused Lisa of orchestrating the whole scenario.
“She just set you all up,” alleged Rinna. “She doesn’t want to get her hands dirty! If she had just gone to Dorit and said, ‘Why did you give the dog back? I’m not over this.’ Now, it’s messy. Now, everybody’s involved. This is like f–king high school shit.”
Rinna later directly blasted Lisa with her theory.
“He’s your employee. This wouldn’t get out there if you didn’t want it out there. This is bullshit going to Teddi, bringing Kyle in. This sounds like a f–king setup,” Lisa said.
Exposed text messages between Teddi and Vanderpump Dogs rep, John Blizzard, will amp the drama next week. Teddi also addressed the controversy in her Bravo blog.
“My intuition was already telling me that something was off when LVP was pretending that she didn’t want the Lucy info out there but had John Blizzard tell me before coming to Vanderpump Dogs. And now talking with Rinna and Kyle here, I know I have been used as a pawn to get the story about Dorit and the dog out there while LVP can pretend like she had Dorit’s best interests.”
John shot down Teddi’s claim, and pointed to a specific sequence of events timeline.
“Contrary to what Teddi has said in her blogs and everything that she’s doing right now, she’s saying that Lisa had planned that all of this would go down at the rescue center on the first day of filming,” John said.“But that’s not true, [according to] the timeline. And I have emails. If you want receipts, Lisa Rinna, I can give you some receipts.”
John spilled some red hot details about the story — dirt that Bravo has not touched.
“Here’s something else that no one else knows: This is the second dog that Dorit had returned to us, or rather, given up,” John said. “She adopted a 3-to-4-year-old beautiful Yorkshire Terrier. So Dorit adopted the dog. She loved the dog, Madison. And a week later, two weeks later, she says, ‘I’m sorry, it’s just not gonna work out with the family. The dog is biting my family.’ Similar to what she said the second time around. I’m not sure what happened. I did see there was a photo with bite marks on PK’s nose. So the first dog, we take back.”
“I have an amazing adoption coordinator, Hannah Bortz, who, honestly, dogs are her life. She does the pre-check, she does a final check and she reached out to Dorit — again, no one knows this — two times via text message: ‘Please let me know how the dog is. Please let me know what’s going on with the dog.’ No response,” John continued. “So then I’m trying to be the mentor and the figure to these young kids who basically work for free. I mean, it’s a nonprofit. So I’m saying, ‘We have this protocol.’ And I’m a stickler. We have an adoption pre-process, we have the home check, we have an after process, we have the adoption contract. So I have Hannah over here, who trained the first dog. I hand-reared the second dog from a nursery at my house because I’m like, let’s not give Dorit a rescue dog. Let’s give Dorit a dog that I have hand-reared that’s never had any issues.”
John added that he hand-reared Lucy until she was eight weeks old.
“This is a dog that was born in my house, bottle-fed by me,” he said. “And then Hannah spent three weeks training Dorit on how to take care of the dog. We took the dog back for spade and neutering. We never do any of this, just so you know. So then Hannah’s reaching out, trying to find out what’s going on with the dog, and Lisa finds out. Sunday I get a message from — I won’t say the shelter name — but a kill shelter in Orange County that said they have one of my dogs.”
Watch the full interview below.
John said that the shelter noted that a “reality celebrity” had dropped off Lucy — and that he was furious when he discovered that the person was Dorit. Dorit has maintained that she re-homed Lucy to a suitable owner — and implied that she had no idea how the pup landed in the kill shelter.
Becca is a Senior Editor for All About The Tea. She’s a coastal girl who loves the outdoors, and writing about the sneaky and silly side of reality TV. Her bio is short, but her snark is endless. She loves writing for the sharpest posters in the world.