If there’s one star that loves dogs, it’s Miranda Lambert. The Grammy award-winning singer currently has seven pups of her own and often has to restrain herself from adding any new canines to her pack. She often jokes that she has a knack for finding strays, and many of her furry friends have the backstories to prove it. The country crooner’s pups have been rescued from all sorts of places like the side of the road, fast food restaurant parking lots, and inside trash-filled dumpsters. And once discovered, they all fit right at home with Lambert, who believes that “dogs choose their owners.”
When she’s not touring the globe or in the studio working on a new album, Lambert spends her time volunteering with the MuttNation Foundation, a nonprofit that she founded alongside her mother. The organization provides shelters across the country with funds for services such as spay and neuter, adoption drives and medical treatments. It’s one of many ways in which the country superstar dedicates her time to help keep abandoned dogs off the streets and match homeless pups with new families.
Lambert took a break from prepping for her 2017 Highway Vagabond Tour to chat with Pet Central about the secret to keeping her seven pups entertained and exercised, the inspiration behind her country-chic pet product line, and how she inadvertently helped the Grand Ole Opry find their official canine mascot.
Pet Cemtral: Tell us about your dog pack.
Miranda Lambert: I have seven rescues and they get along great. Jessi and Waylon (8 years-old) are brother and sister and are both sweet as can be. I found them on the side of the road in Oklahoma when they were about 6-weeks-old. I found Delta Dawn (7 years-old) at a Sonic drive-in covered in fleas and starving. Cher (6 years-old) was adopted from a shelter after they found her in a dumpster when she was 4-weeks-old. I adopted Bellamy from a shelter 3 years ago when he was just a puppy. He, Delta and Cher have all been on the road with me since they were puppies so they are all pretty chill and love to travel. Thelma and Louise are Great Pyrenees and are sisters and I adopted them in Texas earlier this year.
Pet Central: What is the secret to exercising that many dogs?
Lambert: It’s very important to me that I spend time with them, whether I am on the road or at home. We go for walks, play in the yard, cuddle on the couch or whatever makes sense at that time. They are part of my family. The most important thing for me is just being with them. Since there are many of them, I do have help to walk them on days that I have a full work schedule, just to be sure that they have the best life I can give them.
Pet Central: Do they travel with you while you are on the road?
Lambert: Bellamy, Cher and Delta go out on the road with me all the time. They’re smaller and are my “road dogs.” They have their own beds around the bus, but they usually sleep in the bed with me.
Pet Central: How did your passion for rescuing animals come about?
Lambert: Growing up, there were always animals around and we always had a dog or two at the house. I just really feel a connection to dogs and that started when I was very little. They add such warmth to a home and I can’t imagine living without them. They love you unconditionally and they’re always happy to see you. As I seem to always run into a homeless dog, and I can’t adopt them all, I feel very passionate about finding them homes.
Pet Central: What inspired you to start the MuttNation Foundation? What is the mission of MuttNation?
Lambert: Simply my love for dogs and bringing a voice to the voiceless. Our mission is to help shelters across the country and provide services they might not be able to afford on their own. We make sure that every dollar donated goes directly into helping animals in need. It’s a great connection point, as my mom loves animals just as much as I do, so working with her on MuttNation seemed like a natural thing to us. All our MuttNation team members are animal lovers and are passionate about the work we are doing.
I just really feel a connection to dogs and that started when I was very little. They add such warmth to a home and I can’t imagine living without them.
Pet Central: What is the most rewarding part about running the organization?
Lambert: When a dog finds its owner and vice versa. The faces on both the person and the dog when they have made that connection, seeing that is extremely rewarding. I’m truly convinced dogs pick their owners!
Pet Central: Do you have any favorite examples of happy endings of pups being paired with saved through MuttNation?
Lambert: There are so many, but one that stands out was when the MuttNation Mobile Unit partnered with the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville last year to do an adoption drive. Over 10 employees at the Opry ended up adopting a dog and MuttNation also found a dog that became “the official Opry Dog.” His name is Charlie and he “works” at the Opry and at night he gets to go home with his dad.
PawCulture: How can people get involved with MuttNation?
Lambert: The best way to connect is through our website. We love having passionate people become involved. Don’t forget…love a shelter pet!
Pet Central: You just recently launched a MuttNation (Fueled by Miranda Lambert) line of pet accessories. How did that opportunity come about?
Lambert: I love helping dogs and with everything MuttNation stands for as a whole, it made sense to create a product line that also helps fund more rescue missions as well as bringing awareness to as many people as possible about how wonderful it is to adopt a shelter pet. It changes not only the dog’s entire life but the owner’s as well. We also have a rescue dog plush toy collection, where each dog is tagged with its story to learn more about them. We hope by somewhat personalizing these dog toys we can encourage customers to share their rescue mutt stories with us and hopefully continue to build a larger community of folks that help save dogs along the way.
Pet Central: How did you come up with the look of the products?
Lambert: I wanted to create a line that my own dogs love, so we tested a lot of the toys with them in the process. It was also important to me to create something that relates to my lifestyle and could fit into the décor of any home as well as one with a country style feel. Favorites keep changing but at this time my dogs especially love the Delilah plush toy and the Tambourine tug toy.
Pet Central: You recently gifted Carrie Underwood’s two pups with some products from the line. Did her pups approve of them?
Lambert: I heard that they did! Thank God!
PawCulture: What other types of animals do you have at home?
Lambert: Other than my dogs, I have quite a few horses (Gypsy Vanners, mini horses and a Welch Cob) and a cat. They all get along great! My two Great Pyrenees,’ Thelma and Louise, do watch over the horses and it gives them a space to run and play since they are bigger dogs. There is a cat named Curtis that arrived last year and has been entertaining my neighbors. It’s never boring around my house.
Pet Central: Can you ever have too many dogs? Do you have a magic number you’ll cap your pack at or are you planning to keep adding them to your family?
Lambert: It is a little bit unpredictable because I’m involved with adoptions and there are so many amazing dogs that need homes. I feel that 7 is a good number and it seems to work. Plus I want to make sure I spend time with all of them and that is hard when there are too many.
Pet Central: What is your favorite thing to do with your dogs?
Lambert: Just spending time and being with my dogs makes me so happy and I miss them when I have to travel without them. My dogs are my children and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without them in it. They are my family.
Nicole Pajer is a freelance writer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, energetic Doberman, and rat terrier.