Paul O’Grady’s widower took their dogs for a final goodbye before his burial

Paul O’Grady’s widower Andre Portasio has said it was “interesting” to see how his five dogs engaged with the late TV star when they saw him one final time before his burial.

O’Grady, who rose to fame as alter-ego Lily Savage before hosting a string of popular TV programmes – including For The Love Of Dogs, died at his home on March 28 last year at the age of 67.

Appearing on the panel show Loose Women, his husband Mr Portasio reflected on the days following his death, and said he had wanted their dogs to “say goodbye” after a woman wrote to him and said she was worried about them.

He said: “I received so many letters and it was funny because so many people didn’t know the address so you would receive the letter and it would be like: ‘Paul O’Grady, Home, Kent.’

“I opened this letter, it was this old lady, I think she was 85 and she was very worried about the dogs, and the dogs had to say goodbye.

“And that stayed in the back of my mind and I thought I must attend to what she is asking me to do.

“So just before he was buried I took the dogs to say goodbye and it was really interesting to see that some of them engaged with Paul.”

Asked how the dogs are doing now, Mr Portasio said “fabulous”.

Mr Portasio also reflected on what it was like to receive a letter from the Queen.

“I was shocked to receive a letter from her,” he said.

Paul O’Grady funeral
Husband of Paul O’Grady Andre Portasio rides with the funeral cortege (Yui Mok/PA)

“I must confess it took me so long to reply.

“It’s not everyday that you receive a letter from the Queen so I would wake up and think ‘I must reply to her letter’ and I would sit down and be like Dear Camilla… oh no… Dear Queen Camilla… oh no, and it took me so long, in the end I was like ‘You’re not writing a book you’re writing a thank you letter and you just have to go with what is in your heart’, so I finally wrote to her.”

Mr Portasio and O’Grady first met in 2006 before marrying in an intimate London ceremony in 2017.

O’Grady was known for his fondness of dogs and became an ambassador for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in 2012, following the success of ITV’s multi-award winning For The Love Of Dogs, which was filmed at the home.

He joined Camilla, patron of the charity, to promote rescue animals in a royal special of the programme which aired in December 2022.