On Saturday, stars such as Miley and Noah Cyrus, Lorde, Macklemore, French Montanaand more gathered backstage at the fourth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas to mix and mingle with some adorable puppies … all of which were up for adoption through #LovePup, a dog rescue foundation created by nationally syndicated radio host, Johnjay Van Es of KISS FM’s Johnjay and Rich Morning Show.
“I witnessed the magic of #LovePup this weekend at the iHeart Radio Music Festival,” Van Es exclusively tells WHO's sister publication PEOPLE. “We saw that inexplicable connection that happens when a dog and person find their soul mate. Even if they didn’t take the puppies home with them, everyone got to feel the kind of love that only a dog can give. It was a de-stresser, ice breaker and just lots off to get to see these incredibly talented artists on a human level.”
Van Es created the foundation in 2015, and has since found homes for more than 500 stray dogs while receiving the support of celebrities, such as Selena Gomez, Zedd and Enrique Iglesias, along the way.
And while celebs enjoyed the company of the furry friends over the weekend, Noah Cyrus “connected immediately” to one pup in particular.
The 17-year-old “Make Me” singer fell completely head over heels for a little one — and decided to take him home.
“Noah almost started crying [when she saw the puppy],” says Van Es. “She’s going through a breakup and needed that puppy!” (It probably helps that big sis Miley is quite the rescue animal lover.)
With the help of his wife, Blake, and their three sons — Jake, 14, Kemp, 13, and Dutch, 10 — the Van Es family has transformed their home into a full-on dog rescue center. Taking in stray dogs from around the Phoenix area and providing them with medical attention, shelter and food, the family of five is dedicated to finding forever homes for their furry friends.
“Rescuing dogs is something my wife and I have done pretty much our whole marriage,” Van Es previously told PEOPLE. “We’ll take any dog. Every dog deserves to find love.”
From the looks of it, these pups certainly found love with their celeb soul mates.
As far as #LovePup’s future? The Van Es family has big plans!
“I have all these people that want to volunteer but I don’t have the money to fund anything yet,” he says. “It would be great to get to the point where, I’d like to have a building and have a staff. I’d like to have a ‘no kill’ policy. I want to save as many dogs as I can. I would like there to be a #LovePup chapter in every city. I just need the proper funding. I think it can happen!”