Ethan, Bobbi-Ricki and Jenna
Courtesy Jenna Morasca and Ethan Zohn
08/28/2012 at 04:30 PM EDT
There are plenty of laughs at Jenna Morasca and Ethan Zohn's New York apartment these days, thanks to a new furry friend.
After 10 years together, the former Survivor
winners, who powered through Zohn's long treatment
for Hodgkin's lymphoma, have adopted a pit bull/mastiff mix they named Bobbi-Ricki Zohn Morasca.
"Our lives have been very intense and serious the last year with Ethan's illness, and Bobbi has brought lightness and humor into our house," Morasca tells PEOPLE. "We constantly find ourselves laughing hysterically at her when she tries to talk to us with her half-bark, half-howl voice. She has brought a ton of laughter and love … we all are benefiting greatly from it."
Adopting this not-so-little bundle of joy, who is about 5 years old, has been a longtime dream for Morasca, a dog lover since "forever."
"I love big dogs, and specifically asked for a pit bull from the shelter because I wanted to show people that they are not mean, cruel and scary dogs," says the recent Columbia University graduate
, who first fostered Bobbi through the Dog Habitat Rescue
of Brooklyn, N.Y.
"It is rewarding beyond words to rescue a dog from the shelter and have that dog become part of your family," Morasca adds. "And this lovable pit bull should be the mascot of all pit bulls because she is a dream come true."
But Morasca and Zohn both fell hard for the "chill" lovebug, and the foster pup quickly turned into much more than a temporary visitor.
Though Zohn has never considered himself a dog person, he is thrilled with the new addition, who has already found a favorite spot on her very own chair next to Mom and Dad. Sharing responsibilities and walks have brought the couple closer together, too.
"Now we take nightly walks with her. We just talk and enjoy each other's company – and Bobbi's company – [without] cell phones, which we did not do before," she says. "Ethan and I are so happy and we could not envision our lives without her."