In the midst of all the interviews, rehearsals and hectic activities of CMA Awards Week, Miranda Lambert found a furry oasis on Monday afternoon at Nashville’s Music City Center. Lambert spent time playing with puppies and spreading the word about adopting shelter dogs at the Pedigree adoption suite.
"They are the cutest things," Lambert remarked to Rolling Stone Country as she cuddled a little brown terrier named Waylon. "I've already been instructed, 'No,' by my husband. He's like, 'Oh god, you're going to see adoptable dogs. Do not look too closely!'"
Well known for her love of all animals, Lambert already owns seven dogs. "I have seven rescues. I brought three of them with me on this trip," she smiles. "And I did a rescue not that long ago in Oklahoma and there were two Chihuahuas from a puppy mill. I sent Ashley Monroe a picture, so she adopted one of them, and then felt bad and didn't want to separate them, so she adopted both of them. I brought them on the bus with me too. So I brought five dogs on the bus to the CMAs. It was a little crazy.”
In addition to playing with the pups in the Pedigree suite, Lambert met with VIPs to talk about the "See what good food can do" campaign. "I started a foundation in 2009 called MuttNation Foundation and then I met Pedigree a couple of years ago and I realized our goals were the same, which is to raise awareness for shelter pets and to improve shelters," Lambert says of her partnership with the pet food company. "Pedigree donated 500,000 pounds of food this year and that fed 13,000 dogs and renovated 48 shelters. The goals that we have as MuttNation Foundation, myself and Pedigree, it's all the same, so I felt like what better partnership."
Pedigree played a huge part in helping rebuild the shelter in Lambert's adopted hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma, where she lives with husband Blake Shelton. And there's a documentary about the project that shows what a labor of love it was for Lambert. "I get really emotional," she admits. "I've been really trying to work with them for six years now. It was a city shelter. We took it over and Pedigree came and renovated it and did some amazing things… It's called Redemption Ranch. It opens on November 22nd in Tishomingo. I am there quite often and I just really love the way that it's turning out because there are so many great animals there. I can't wait till people come get them through the adoptions."
The opening of Redemption Ranch will be a big event in Tishomingo, where Lambert also owns and operates the boutique the Pink Pistol and the Ladysmith, a bed and breakfast. "We're going to have an adoption drive obviously," she says. "There is going to be wine tasting and hot dogs for donations. It will be our little mini carnival. We'll have cotton candy and I want people to see what we've been able to do and see where their money, if they donated, has gone."
Since its launch, MuttNation has raised more than $1.5 million to assist animals in need and this year the organization has helped shelters in all 50 states. "What I like about it is that I have control, my mom and I. It's a very small board,” she says of the charity. "It's five girls and we have control over where every dime goes. We know every dollar, how it's spent…. We bought a beagle a wheelchair a couple of years ago whose back legs didn't work. We get to pick wherever it goes."
The singer's dedication to helping dogs extends beyond donating money and working at her local shelter. Lambert been known to sprawl out on the highway and try to coax a stray to safety. "I laid on the side of the road for 30 minutes one time trying to get this dog," she recalls. "People were stopping and saying, 'Are you okay?' I was like, 'Yeah, just go away. I've almost got him!' I picked him up and actually my keyboard player has him now. His name is Batman."
In addition to her seven dogs, Lambert also has five rescue cats, horses, mini horses, pigs and chickens. What does she see as the best perk of pet ownership? "They don't know who Miranda Lambert is or care," she says with a smile. "They just love me because I'm their mom."