Jon Gosselin with Shoka and Nala
Brandon Todd/Splash News Online
06/03/2009 at 05:00 PM EDT
As the paparazzi continue to hound the troubled Gosselins and their brood of eight, Jon knows he can count on man's best friend to watch his back.
"The people outside my house, I can't control that. But in all the pictures, my lovely puppies sit out there," says Jon Gosselin, star of TLC's Jon & Kate Plus 8
, of his German Shepherd puppies named Shoka and Nala.
Caring for the dogs has been a welcome distraction for Jon, who remains at the center of controversy
after he was spotted leaving a bar with another woman earlier this year. He shares his side
of the story in this week's PEOPLE.
In addition to being the father of 8-year-old twins and 5-year-old sextuplets, he's also in charge of the dogs, which he feeds, brushes and cares for. But since they're pups, they're still doing things they shouldn't.
"There is no corner of my wood-framed house that has not been gnawed off and either replaced by my contractor or is ready to be replaced," he says.
He adds that they had to put up a 3½-mile fence around their sprawling Pennsylvania property because the dogs kept running away. "They were car chasers. They're still car chasers, [but] within our gate," he says.
More importantly, Jon says, the "two loyal creatures" have become part of the family.
"Those kids beat them up, climb on them, pull their tails, bite at them, drag them around and everything you can imagine not to do to an animal, they've done," he says. "But you know what: when they're on duty, they're on duty."