11/12/2012 AT 02:05 PM EST
She traveled to New York to talk about disaster relief after Hurricane Sandy, and Denise Richards
ended up doing some serious relief of her own.
When the actress visited a North Shore Animal League America
shelter in Long Island, N.Y., on Saturday to help spread the word about relief efforts in the area and encourage adoptions, she met one shelter resident and couldn't let go.
Richards adopted a black Labrador mix puppy
, originally named Tara which she has since changed it to Lily.
"My daughters came with [me], and we went home with a little girl," Richards tells PEOPLE. "The girls named her Lily. We went back and forth, 'Should we name her Sandy because that was the name of the hurricane?' But it's also such a tragedy. So the girls picked Lily."
The little pup is adjusting well to her new home, and to the other dogs in Richards's pack.
"She's fitting in nicely," she adds.