with reporting by Mark Dagostino
04/02/2010 at 04:48 PM EDT
When she's hosting MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show during the week, the talk show host and her partner Susan Mikula live in New York to be near the studio, but on weekends the couple unplug at their rural Western Massachusetts country home.
Their 275-sq.-ft. Manhattan apartment might be feeling cramped after six years of "living in a hotel room," but one part of their family that doesn't mind is their loveable brown dog.
"The dog takes up nearly a third of [the apartment]," Mikula tells PEOPLE about the male English Lab. "They can really stretch out!"
A three-hour drive away, there's a country house and a big state forest for the pooch to run through, but for one or two days a week, the dog loves living the city life, where he can check out all the different breeds that run around the New York City streets.
"We walk him down to the Hudson, and it's party on the concrete with a Pekingese!" Maddow says. "It's a whole realm of dogxperience."
"There are all kinds of little dogs here," Mikula says.
"Which you can't have in Western Massachusetts," Maddow adds, "because owls will take them! You can't have a Jack Russell where we live. It's like 'Ahhh!' [shrieking owl sound]."For more on Rachel Maddow, check out the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.Read more about celebrities and their dogs on PEOPLEPets.com:Carrie Underwood: I Hope My Dog Won't Eat My Wedding Ring!VIDEO: Amanda Seyfried is 'Obsessed' with Her Dog!