Dogs have a big-hearted friend in Joan Rivers

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No question, Joan Rivers loves dogs.

"Dogs are easier to love than people; they're certainly more dependable," she says by phone. "Once they love you, that's it. A true friend in life is a dog."

She adds that her dogs -- even those who've long since passed on -- still comfort her, all in urns strewn around her dressing room.

"I'm 80, so you can imagine how many of those I have," Rivers says.

This Saturday (April 12), America will share in another loss on the reality show "Joan and Melissa" on We TV. During filming of the episode, Rivers' Pekingese, Max, died.

"A friend conducted a funeral, and it was so outlandishly funny, that's what got me through the day," she says. "It was the kind of send-off Max deserved. We were as close as you can get with a dog. If I was in a room, Max was right there at my side."

More sensitive types might be offended at Rivers and friends laughing in the wake of death.

"Listen, humor has been my way of getting over everything in life, that and being busy, busy, busy," she says. "And I say, get another dog. I did that already; it doesn't take me long."

Those sensitive types might also believe that getting another dog so quickly is disrespectful to Max's memory.

"I loved Max, and he knew I loved him," she answers. "But he's gone now. I try to fill the void as quickly as I can; it's good for me. But it's also good for whatever dog is brought into my life, since I only get rescues."

Our conversation is suddenly interrupted by a loud sound, and then Joan screaming, "They're morons!"

She's hollering at a group of motorcycle riders passing by. One of the many stunts she's tried with her often reluctant daughter, Melissa, on their reality show was riding a motorcycle last season.

"It will never happen again," Joan says. "Do you really want me going through traffic on a motorcycle? I don't think so. In a car, I'm that old woman staring through the center of the steering wheel with the turn signal on, though I have no intent to turn."

Her newest canine addition is a Japanese Chin named Teegan. Rivers laughs, as she often does when relaying something funny; she can barely get out the words.

"It would only happen to me," she says. "I get this deformed and confused, cross-eyed dog. No wonder. Teegan is a Japanese male dog with an Irish woman's name."

Rivers' other dog is a 6-year-old Havanese. She's aware that the breed was originally bred to perform circus tricks.

"Are you kidding? All she knows is come and get it," Rivers notes.

And yes, the comic concedes, "I am now that horrible little old lady walking in the park with two dogs dressed alike; the coats and leashes all match. After all, I do represent fashion," she says, referring to her role on "The Fashion Police."

Rivers appeared on several TV shows, including the "The Tonight Show," with a Yorkshire Terrier named Spike. She traveled the country with him, and Spike even made (with Joan) the cover of People magazine.

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