Kathie Lee Gifford says she is a "wreck" after dropping a puppy on its head on NBC's "Today" show but later joked about the incident.
The co-host of the program's fourth hour made her comments on Friday, a day after the incident, via phone to Matt Lauer and the rest of the main "Today" personalities.
Gifford and co-host Hoda Kotb were showcasing several puppies up for adoption on Thursday's show. Two played in a fenced play ring with a built-in floor while Gifford, standing upright in her heels, held a brown pup to her chest and then said, "Oh puppy needs a bath-y!"
The squirming puppy then slipped out of her arms and tumbled head first onto the floor before getting up again. Gifford comforted the animal and its dogs' handler said, dryly: "That's what we don't do."
The puppy's okay but I'm a wreck," Gifford said to Lauer and his co-hosts over the phone in a Friday segment. "It's very upsetting for me. I have three dogs and I adore dogs."
She then joked: "But I have realized what the problem was - the problem is that that dog did not want to go home with Hoda. He knows Hoda's looking to adopt a dog. He knows what her apartment's like and there's no way."
Gifford is a longtime dog lover. She devoted a chapter of her 2009 book, "Just When I thought I'd Dropped My Last Egg: Life and Other Calamities," to her pups - bichon frises Chablis and Chardonnay and Regis Champagne, a mixed breed named after Regis Philbin, her then-co-host of "LIVE! With Regis and Kathie Lee." She adopted him after featuring him on their show.
She wrote that when she and her family lived with the dogs in Connecticut, near the Long Island Sound, Chardonnay was killed by a coyote. Months later, her then-husband and football player Frank Gifford's son from his first marriage accidentally ran over and killed Chablis with his car.
Kotb also talked about Gifford's puppy drop on Friday's episode of the "Today" show.
"Look I was terrified for that dog when it took that Kamikaze dive away from Kathy Lee," she said during the televised telephone conversation. "She also claimed it was 'cause he smelled funny, which I'll attest to. He really did. It wasn't great."
"Hoda is right and you can tell how much I love animals because that dog reeked," Gifford said. "He was adorable but he stunk. My dress smelled when I got home."
Online footage of Gifford dropping the puppy on the "Today" show has gone viral online and has spurred online jokes and animated GIFs, as seen on Buzzfeed and Mashable, which posted a piece titled "Hey, Kathie Lee Gifford - Here Are 11 Adorable Dogs in Helmets" and wrote: "The next time Kathie Lee Gifford opts for a dog segment on the fourth hour of Today, she might want to consider a canine that already has his own helmet."
Also, the "Today" show's Twitter page used the hashtag "puppygate" to promote its video segment of Gifford's phone call.