08/05/2010 at 02:07 PM EDT
Christie Brinkley never needed proof that her Labradoodle Maple Sugar is the "sweetest dog in the world" but she got it recently when she welcomed a African Gray Conure into her home.
"I'd come into the room and there would be the bird walking along -- and there would be Maple right next to the bird," Brinkley told PEOPLEPets.com at the Super Saturday Ovarian Cancer Research benefit in Bridgehampton, N.Y. last weekend. "Maple could eat the bird in one bite. But Maple understood that the bird was part of the family."
Maple Sugar has become a big sister of sorts to the exotic bird, whose middle name is Houdini because he often escapes his cage where he lives beside another African Gray Conure.
"She actually protects it. One day the bird actually came up to my room and was knocking my door. And if Maple hadn't warned me, I would have opened the door and stepped on the bird," the model said.
And it's only fitting that the sweet-natured dog would be rewarded for guarding her feathered friend. "[Maple Sugar] just did my commercial with me today for QVC. It was so cute. She got some pretty nice jewelry out of it," said Brinkley, whose latest collection
debuted on the channel Aug. 1. "She ended up with all the jewelry on by the end of the commercial." See more celebrity pets on PEOPLEPets.com: Kesha's 5 Dogs (and a Kitten!) Rule Her Nashville HomeSusan Sarandon's Pooch Penny Catches the Acting Bug