Raquel Leviss opened up about the drama surrounding her dog Graham, who she previously shared with ex-fiance James Kennedy, on the debut episode of her new podcast.
In addition to sharing behind-the-scenes details about the pup, and why she couldn’t keep the animal amid her months-long stay at a mental health treatment facility last year, the Vanderpump Rules alum, 29, called out Lisa Vanderpump, 63, for trying to use the animal for a “storyline” while also attempting to bait her into returning for season 11.
“Graham, my mini goldendoodle was gifted to me by my parents for a graduation gift. The same day I got him was the day James and I got our own apartment in LA so we raised him together,” Raquel revealed on the January 8 episode of Rachel Goes Rogue.
According to Raquel, she believes it is “important” for people to know that James may not be a fit dog parent.
“My intentions aren’t to bring someone down but I feel like it’s an important piece in this puzzle. The truth of the matter is James was not a good dog owner in the way that James would taunt Graham, and he would just antagonize him,” she alleged. “He would pick Graham up off the couch when he was sleeping and not expecting it so that would shock him. He would encourage Graham to bite his hands and it really reinforced that biting behavior with Graham. And the moments when he did drink too much and he was unhinged and yelling, Graham would hide under the couch. And dogs pick up on that kind of energy. So I’m sure that played a part in his behavior.”
“I would do my best to stop James from tormenting Graham but I felt myself nagging him… So I would like nag and nag and I would stop but I would express that this was really bothering me,” she continued.
Because Graham wasn’t well-behaved during the time he was living with her and James, Raquel put him in special socialization training after their breakup. Unfortunately, the dog still bit people — including her mom.
“My parents were taking care of Graham for me while I was at The Meadows. One day I got a phone call from my mom and she was in a panic on the phone. She said that she’s on her way to the emergency room because Graham bit her, and she has a gash on her finger where the doctor said he couldn’t even stitch it up. It was just like a chunk of flesh missing, and he recommended that we put the dog down and I didn’t want that… [And] the [foster families] that did take him in said it wasn’t a good fit,” she continued.
Although Raquel could have left The Meadows to take care of Graham, she knew that there was more work to be done and opted to stay at the facility. In turn, her family found a breed-specific goldendoodle rescue, which promised to keep the rescue adoption under wraps.
“They had Graham adopted out to a new owner. [But] the owner returned Graham in three days because it bit him,” she explained. “So they scanned his microchip and saw that it was me registered with the dog so they decided to contact Vanderpump Dogs. So [Lisa Vanderpump] adopts him, doesn’t tell me or anybody. Keeps it a secret because we all know her first priority is a storyline.”
At the time this was all happening, producers were trying to get Raquel to film ahead of the cast’s trip to Lake Tahoe but she declined. And one week after doing so, Raquel saw Graham’s photo on social media.
“I surrendered all rights to Graham when I gave him to the rescue to be rehomed with a good family who’s experienced with dogs who have aggressive behavior. And Lisa goes and adopts him, takes him to Lake Tahoe, and surprises James with Graham… Basically, the story that they put out there is that Lisa told everyone that I surrendered my dog at a kill shelter and he was hours away from being euthanized,” Raquel stated.
Prior to confirming her exit from Pump Rules, Raquel felt that Lisa’s goal wasn’t to ensure the safety of Graham, who has since been renamed “Hippie,” but to lure her into an on-camera confrontation.
“I was only a week out of my treatment and their whole plan was to get me to Tahoe so that they could drop this bomb on me… I texted [Lisa] saying I don’t support Graham with James. He needs to be with an owner that knows how to work with troubled dogs… I would not live with myself if I didn’t express these concerns and something were to happen,” Raquel revealed. “So she called me. I expressed my thoughts but her concerns more aligned with me coming back to do the show, and she said (mocking Lisa’s voice), ‘Oh darling, why don’t you just come to Villa Rosa and bring me some flowers and explain why you left SUR so abruptly without notice, and apologize. And then you can explain your side of the story.’”
“I feel like they were almost using him as bait… trying to get me to come back and explain myself. But I realize that if I were to explain the real story, they wouldn’t air it,” she added.