12/04/2012 at 01:00 PM EST
Christmas is going to be very cozy for Betty White and her dog Pontiac – especially since the 7-year-old pooch
has been relinquished of his Elizabethan collar
, a.k.a. the "cone of shame."
"He had little growths on his leg and he had to have it removed, so he had to wear one of those plastic collars so he wouldn't take his stitches out," White told PEOPLE at Monday's one-year anniversary party for L.A. Love and Leashes
, a nonprofit that finds homes for dogs and cats in Los Angeles shelters. "Well, he got it off today and he's a happy Ponty tonight!"
The golden retriever – a former guide dog whom the comedian got when he was 18 months old – is White's wingman throughout the holidays.
"He's my family," she said. "It's just the two of us for Christmas because I'm alone, and so we just have a cozy day all day. We look forward to that all year."
For White, the highlight of the past 12 months may have been her meeting with another handsome pooch: Bo Obama. In June, the First Dog gave her a special tour
of the White House grounds and then took a load off in her lap.
"I spent a half hour with Bo stretched across my lap," she said. "And that's a privilege. He's just gorgeous."