“He was really kind,” Irwin tells PEOPLE. “He said, ‘You don’t really get a prom, so would you please come with me to mine?’ “
And he came up with, basically, the perfect way to ask the former Dancing with the Stars contestant, who has dedicated her life to continuing the conservation and wildlife advocacy work started by her late father, The Crocodile Hunter‘s Steve Irwin.
“Chandler has a really beautiful dog named Percy and Percy is one of my best friends now. So he tied a note to Percy’s collar and Percy came bounding out,” says Irwin. “It was very sweet. I feel very blessed.”
Australia-based Irwin, 17, and Powell – a 19-year-old professional wakeboarder who is currently attending college in Florida – work hard to make their long-distance relationship work, but they are enjoying spending time together while Irwin is in the U.S. for the first-ever Steve Irwin Gala Dinner, which will be held in Los Angeles.
“It’s nice to have him just a little bit closer and in the same time zone,” Irwin says. “And I’m so happy to take him to the gala.”
“We’re so excited about honoring Steve’s legacy and all the conservation work that he began and that we’ve continued,” says Terri, who adds that items like a guitar signed by Taylor Swift and a dress worn by Bindi on DWTS will be auctioned at the event. “It’s so special to get to do this in the States, finally. I’m from here and I know how philanthropic everyone can be. Through events like this gala dinner, we can make positive change.”