Andy Cohen rehomed his rescue dog after seven years due to aggression

Back in 2013, Andy Cohen adopted a beagle-foxhound mixed breed dog from a kill center in West Virginia. He named the pup Wacha after Michael Wacha, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. Andy told Today at the time that he’d never had a dog growing up and almost turned around while on his way to pick Wacha up because he worried his schedule was too busy to raise a dog. However, Andy said it was love at first sight for the two and has generously shared photos of Wacha on Instagram. That included, until recently, photos of Andy’s son Ben, one, and Wacha huddled together in fraternal bliss. Only, that wasn’t the full story, apparently, and the real story forced Andy to make a very sad decision. Over the weekend, Andy posted a video playing with Wacha and letting his fans know that due to increased aggression from Wacha towards Ben, Andy rehomed Wacha for the health of everyone. His caption read:

I’ve put off sharing this news as long as I could. As you may know, Wacha is my first baby, my beautiful rescue puppy. He is my pride and joy. When he came into my life, my world changed. Over the nearly seven years that I’ve been blessed to have Wacha in my life, we have worked to address some occasional random signs of aggression. No effort was spared in the attempt to help Wacha feel adjusted. After an incident a few months ago, numerous professionals led me to the conclusion that my home is simply not a good place for him. Keeping him here could be catastrophic for Ben and worse for Wacha. The good news is that he now has a permanent home with his second family, in the place he lived every single time I went out of town. He is thriving. We still see each other, but a piece of my heart is gone. I miss his weight on top of me first thing in the morning. I miss him waiting for me in front of the shower. And I miss the sound of his paws on the floor when I come home. I am not the same person I was when I got him. My dog changed me. He opened me up to love.. to caring… and ultimately to having a family. When I think of him – let’s be honest, when don’t I think of him – it’s with the clarity that we were meant to come into each other’s lives exactly when we did, and that he’s happy, which gives me peace of mind. We did rescue each other. Thank you, Wacha.

[From Instagram via Dlisted]

As I said when I defended Jamie Otis when she had to rehome her pet because of aggression towards her daughter, I understand a parent making this choice. Most dog owners assume that their pup will react towards everyone the way they react to them. But that’s not always the case and unfortunately, some don’t find out until a baby/child is introduced into the situation. Two weeks after Andy brought Ben home, he posted an IG meant to be funny about Wacha chewing up Ben’s stuffed Torah toy According to Andy, many people DM’d him telling him to watch out, that the dog was showing signs of jealousy. Andy was hurt by the reaction, thinking it was just a funny moment to post on social. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know toy destruction could indicate jealousy on a pet’s part, either. It’s possible that Andy has been navigating the relationship between Wacha and Ben from the start. When he said keeping Wacha could be catastrophic for Ben, clearly the situation was unsolvable. And he’s right, if anything had happened to Ben, certain laws mandate euthanizing an animal. At the very least, they’d be sent to a mandated training farm and I’ve known dogs that came back from those, they weren’t the same. My heart goes out to anybody that has to make this choice, I’m sure it never leaves you.

However, since Andy had to do this it sounds like the best possible scenario for Wacha. He went to a home in which he’s already stayed, with people he’s familiar and trusts. He still gets to see Andy. This sounds like it is hard on everyone, but I do think it was handled in the best interest of all involved. I’m sure Andy isn’t thinking of his next pet yet, but the good news is that should he adopt another dog, the dog would be entering the home with Ben already in it, which sets up an different dominance structure, so another dog could be very successful in the home.

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39 Responses to “Andy Cohen rehomed his rescue dog after seven years due to aggression”

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  1. CROWHOOD says:

    I struggle with this but you could tell he really loved his dog and cared for his dog. And rehoming makes it sound like the dog is going back through the shelter and adoption process. While yes he’s getting a new home, it’s with a family that he and Andy know and love.

    This doesn’t feel the same as shooing your child to strangers once he showed the different abilities that doctors told you he had before you brought him home.

    • Eleonor says:

      I think he did the best he could and finding a new home and a new family which is no stranger to the dog it’s an ok solution for everyone.

    • Onerous says:

      I think Wacha had aggression issues all along – I know he had bit people before – maybe even WWHL guests, IIRC… Andy had been up front about it and that he was doing everything he could to help Wacha (classes, training, etc). It’s really sad they weren’t able to stay together but he definitely acted in the best interest of both Ben and Wacha.

      I had a Rottweiler I absolutely adored. He started snapping at my kids when they were young and it took a long time for me to realize that was an untenable situation – he could have seriously injured them… or worse.

      It’s terrible to lose a pet in that way and knowing it’s best for everyone does very little to comfort you.

      • Enny says:

        I heard that Wacha was banned from the WWHL set after he bit…Carol Burnett! 😱 I just picture her going all Miss Hannigan on him, sloshing around in lingerie all drunk and gingery, while Bravo execs try to shoo him off to the pound until Andy swoops in on a helicopter, all Daddy Warbucks-like, to save him.

        Only to later “rehome” him. 😬

        Sounds like it was for the best, though. Andy’s a dad now – canine and human sons. He has to make sure they both have appropriate and safe living environments. I’m glad he at least has taken both those responsibilities seriously.

      • JaneDoesWerk says:

        Not long after Andy got him, Wacha snapped and growled at Savannah Guthrie on WWHL while he was munching on a stuffed animal and she reached out to pet him. Savannah nervously laughed and said “I think Wacha just tried to bite me” Not long after that he was replaced with a stuffed version of himself on set.

        I had an aggressive dog and we spent literally several thousand dollars amending our own lifestyle and behavior specialists to try and make it work. It was emotionally exhausting and stressful. He passed away from cancer recently, and even though I miss him, I’m less anxious and that’s not the worst thing.

      • Enny says:

        @janedoeswerk – I totally get it. I used to have three cats (1 female, 2 males) and the males were just COMPLETELY unable to tolerate the female. She was sweet and lovely and my soulmate and it broke my heart, but they would fight until one would need stitches. Eventually my lady cat (who was there first, by the way) was confined to my bedroom with her cat tower (and she got to sleep on my pillow, her favorite thing), and that worked well enough until she, sadly, died of cancer. I was devastated, but yet there was still relief at being able to restore some normalcy to our pet situation.

        One of the male cats was the single meanest cat to ever exist. The other was sweet – just a total alpha. Not many people would have put up with that situation. But “rehoming” that mean boy would have meant certain death for him, and I can’t give up a pet like that. So we existed that way for a good 4-5 years.

        They’re cats, though. They can be contained fairly well. It’s another story entirely with aggressive dogs and either smaller animals or children. But I agree that often (not always) it’s lack of training/preparation/effort on the human’s part that’s to blame…

      • Adrianna says:

        Could be food or toy aggression which can be very bad for a toddler. I’ve seen enough episodes of Animal Cops to know that is one behavior hard to resolve but must be if the dog is to stay in the home. This story, although sad for Andy, has a good ending.

  2. Erinn says:

    It upsets me when people rehome their pets to no end, because mine are for life.

    But then when it comes to little kids being in the picture… I do get it. It’s not just an inconvenience at that point, it’s dangerous. My niece got bit by my in-laws little yorkie mix when she was about 2. She still has a scar on her face. And that’s a tiny dog ( which – tiny dogs were often ratters or whatever, so I get WHY they have a predilection to biting. ) and it still left a mark years later.

    And at the end of the day, I’d much rather see the dogs rehomed to someone who can provide them what they need than euthanized. Some dogs just can’t handle little kids, or cats, or whatever. I had a scare with our dog snapping at our cats a few times (trying to resource guard), and it’s terrifying. She’s never actually hurt them, but still unacceptable. We’ve been working on that one, and we’re hitting the point where she actually gently plays with our younger cat and will curl up next to her at times to take a nap. The cats will now chirp or meow at the dog when they’re walking up to her, I think to make sure she knows they’re not looking to bother her. I still don’t trust her though – we separate everyone when food is involved, and make sure that if the dog starts looking stressed out that she gets a break from whatever the cats are doing. We have baby gates set up, and everyone has their own separate space for when they need a break. But still – animals can be unpredictable, and when little kids are involved, it’s an extra level of scary.

    • LadyMTL says:

      MTE, Erinn. At the end of the day when there are kids in the picture it’s better to be safe than sorry. When I was a baby we had a cocker spaniel, and she was quite jealous of me. One day she came up to me (I was just old enough to start toddling around) and growled in my face. As much as my parents loved that dog, she was gone that same night. My mom said she cried for hours, but she knew they made the right decision.

      • Erinn says:

        It would be heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine. I was lucky enough that my aunts cocker spaniel I grew up with would veeeeery gently wiggle cookies out of my hand when I was a toddler. He’d follow me everywhere I went and just LOVED kids. Actually snapped at my mother once (he was half choking on a chicken bone and she tried to help), but I guess he saw me as a puppy with food to share or something haha.

        The thing that scares me so much now is seeing people post photos of their kids basically man handling pets. I just see the photos and think ‘oh god, that’s not going to end well’ and it’s scary. Even when we were really little the adults were obsessive about making sure the pets and the kids were being gentle to each other. And soooo many people don’t supervise. Or they think that their small dogs couldn’t do anything awful, or they ignore warning signs.

    • katkatkat says:

      “It upsets me when people rehome their pets to no end, because mine are for life.”

      I was of this mind set until I had two dogs that wanted to KILL EACH OTHER. We had to crate and rotate and they could never be unleashed together. One was our rescue that we had for a long time and we got a (rescue) puppy. The puppy grew up and wanted to kill our older dog. We spent thousands of dollars on training and ER vet visits. We had to rehome her. She is happy and in a single dog household now. We keep tabs on her. She still shows aggression to other dogs.

      The trauma that it put my other dog through still effects her. She is on antidepressants and she doesn’t trust dogs that she doesn’t know any more. She can’t tolerate being around dogs that aren’t in our pack. That was four years ago and she is still a different dog.

      We should have rehomed her way earlier and everyone would have been more safe and happier for it. I’m just saying. Never say never. Life has a funny way of teaching you lessons.

      • SarahIvy says:

        Oh my goodness, this.

        Honestly, it’s so funny this is the VERY first time I’m posting here after reading for many years….but we re-homed a rescue after 7 years, so this feels really real. And I get it. I think sometimes we love an animal so much that we just keep trying even though we can see the problems.

        We adopted Rufus when our other dog was around two years old. It never really truly worked, but we kept at it, we tried so many things, worked with trainers, ect. And over the years is just disintegrated to the point we had two dogs hat had to sleep closed in separate rooms because their fights had gotten so extreme and dangerous. Then we decide to have a baby, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks….the ridiculous life we’d built around functioning with these two dogs was seriously dangerous and it had to change.

        Luckily, and it sounds like Cohen’s case is similar, we were able to work with a rescue and find a really great fit with a couple who didn’t have kids or other dogs, and I like to think Rufus lived out his days with them hiking and cycling and being happily exhausted with his people. But while so many people treat pets as disposable, there really are circumstances where finding a new home really is best best option for the animal.

  3. Louise177 says:

    I really don’t understand how people can criticize giving up pets when a child is involved. How is it even a choice? The family usually tries for a while to see if the behavior changes. Giving up the pet is the last resort.

    • Lou says:

      I usually find those people don’t have children of their own. Andy made the right choice, as difficult as I’m sure it was.

    • BrynAnn says:

      Agreed, I am a mom of three and our new dog was super aggressive to our house guess and loved to bite my youngest (she is nine). I told the whole family that we would give it some time and work with him but if he did not make progress the dog would have to go. I was soo sad because I haven’t had a pet since my dog was stolen 16 yrs ago when I was pregnant with my eldest child, I was a wreck for a long time. Luckily he got his act together so we never had to cross that bridge but I would have found him another home if it came to that. I don’t care what order the fur baby came in ( before kids or after kids), do what works for your family. People act like Andy let the dog out on the highway because he pooped on the floor! He had legitimate reasons for doing what he did.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      Absolutely. I’m a huge animal lover but the safety of the children should always come first. I have issues with Andy Cohen and his misogynistic Housewives crap, but he did the right thing and made sure Wacha has a good home.

    • Lua says:

      It’s not an option when you have kids, and it’s better to do it while the baby is little before they’re mobile if the dog is showing aggression. My friend tried with her Chihuahua because her other dog loved her, but eventually her baby crawled up to the dog to pet her and before she even got close enough to reach her, the dog attacked her face. It was a bloody mess. Fortunately for the dog they rehomed her instead of reporting it, but baby needed stitches. She already has scarring on her face from cleft pallet surgery, poor thing.

  4. Loreen says:

    I always joke that if I was to have a baby and the baby was allergic to my best furriend (Mr. Mouse, my cat), I would throw the baby out.
    No way I would be able to rehome my nr. 1 baby. Mr. Mouse has been through it all with me. It’s a ride or die relationship. Lol!

    Then again, I don’t want kids. Only more cats.

  5. Jayna says:

    My heart breaks for Andy. He adores Wacha. Before Ben, Wacha had issues. Andy talked about it. I remember the night Wacha bit one of his guests. Ben’s safety is paramount. Andy will continue to visit Wacha.

  6. Aang says:

    I had te re home a Siamese cat that would stalk my infant every time I put her down. If she wiggled the cat would pounce. If she was sleeping soundly the cat would try and sleep right on top of her and the cat weighed more or as much as the baby for a while. Once she started moving her arms and legs around the cat would latch on and kick with the back legs. It’s was crazy. But the cat was a gorgeous and very smart Siamese so I had no problem finding a child free home.

  7. My3cents says:

    I’m thinking this rehoming was done a lot better than the “rehoming” of the special needs child from the instagram/influencer family post yesterday.

  8. LahdidahBaby says:

    Very sad, but Andy did the right thing. It was really the only thing he could do.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    If you know you have a dog with issues, who’s bit people before, why would you even try having it around your infant? I mean really? What is the thought process there?

    I have a rescue dog who I would never never have around children. I don’t have any and I don’t want any, but my siblings do. I am always super careful. For her sake and the children’s sake. A possibly boisterous or grabby or shrieking child is not easy for all dogs to handle, a rescue dog who’s had past trauma especially. She is a wonderful dog who’s so loving to me, but you have to be realistic with yourself about your pets’ needs. You can’t just throw a dog and baby together in the mix.

    With that said, seven years is a long time, and I hope they are really doing what they can to make the transition easier for the dog. Andy Cohen is an asshole and an idiot in general but he may have genuinely cared for his dog and hopefully genuinely cares for his child.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    They always say it’s due to the dog’s aggression and never to the person’s stupidity.

    • MsIam says:

      He’s stupid to want to protect his child? If the child is injured the dog gets put down. I think he’s doing the best thing for both of them.

    • toro says:

      my sister in law used to discipline their dog every time he showed his teeths to her son, but she didn’t take notice of his son pulling his tail or jumping on the dog. i mean, ehat was the dog suposed to do?

  11. WilliamJoelene says:

    Good decision – the dog is pointing in that pic with the infant. Baaaad sign.

    • Ange says:

      Yep. I’m not a dog expert by any means and don’t have one currently but you can tell the dog isn’t doing a happy or inquisitive sniff there, it looks tense.

  12. Case says:

    As an animal lover who adores her cats more than anything on this earth, this breaks my heart. I’m sure it was a very difficult decision for him to make, but I understand. Your children have to come first.

  13. TyrantDestroyed says:

    It’s a difficult choice to make. Things happen super fast. My mother cares for a stray cat that lives in the garage (she doesn’t want to come inside the house). She doesn’t like to be touched like many ferals do but my toddler is super drawn to cats so I always have to be super vigilant when she is around the cat. Last winter when we were visiting my mother my husband was with her and the cat. I suddenly heard a hiss and a cry and went running to check and of course the cat slapped my daughter very close to the eye and the mouth (she still has a scar). I was super mad at my husband because he knows better but he says he blinked for a second and it happened. Hopefully he learned a valuable lesson that day.

  14. JoJo says:

    I have read too many stories of family pets mauling or killing babies/toddlers I wish those dogs had been removed from the home.
    I’m glad Andy still gets to see Wacha and that he went to a family he had already bonded with.

  15. Riley says:

    I work in dog rescue. Normally people dump their pet at the pound when they have a baby, knowing it will most likely be put down. No pun intented, but Bravo Andy, for finding a loved family member a good home!

  16. Milkweed says:

    I always thought Wacha was a strange choice for Andy and NYC. Hound dogs love running around with other hound dogs. I wonder if his new family has other dogs. I bet he would love that. I also didn’t understand why Andy would bring him to set. That’s a really stressful environment. He should have gotten a fru-fru little lap dog. They’re much better apartment dogs.

  17. FreakyFriday says:

    Nope. The dog was there first.
    Either Cohen should never have adopted the dog in then first place knowing he was going to have kids, or he should not have had a kid until the dog passed away from old age. I certainly hope he tried working with an animal behaviorist first, though it did not sound like he had..
    Seriously, I am so tired of people treating animals like they are disposable when they become too inconvenient…I had a baby, I am moving, I’m too busy…
    Animals are always getting the short end of the stick. Excuses, Excuses.

    • AMAyson1977 says:

      You can’t be serious. We had a dog before we had kids. Lots of people have a dog before they have kids, and to suggest that you can’t do both is patently ridiculous. We were fortunate that our sweet dog was amazing with our kids, but if he hadn’t been, we would have tried everything possible to keep the kids and the dog safe, up to and including rehoming the dog if necessary.

      I would hardly consider exhausting all behavioral training before rehoming to a welcoming family with an environment more suitable for the dog and with whom he is already familiar to be “treating the animal as disposable.”

  18. Alibeebee says:

    He rehomed his dog due to
    Aggression. He realized he wasn’t equipped. It took seven years . I don’t blame him or criticize him. I’ve know people who’ve euthanised their dogs for less … he found a home where his dog could be rehabilitated and cared for … no shame in that .

  19. qtpi says:

    I got a second pug to keep my first pug company and the second one was always aggressive with my first. Especially over food and treats. He took after my toddler when she wandered too close to him one day. He did not bite but he scratched her near her eye. It just wasn’t working out and I knew the next incident could be more serious.

    My dog loving, unmarried, childfree best friend couldn’t believe I made the decision to rehome him with another child free pug family that lived next door to a dog park! So I lost my best friend over it too. Pretty traumatic. I am a huge animal lover. But the safety of my kids comes first.

    *I used a pug group to find a new home. He stayed with a man who volunteers and has his own pugs. Once he was observed for a bit they placed him in a home that would be a good match.