Each year, more than four million dogs wind up in animal shelters. Let that sink in for second.
If you find that number staggering, you're in good company. It's no big secret that "Automatic" singer Miranda Lambert has a soft spot a country mile wide for animals — the bighearted star makes no pretenses about her penchant for picking up strays.
So when an opportunity came along to collaborate with Pedigree for the brand's See What Good Food Can Do campaign, Lambert didn't hesitate. "My biggest passion outside of music is to rescue animals," she explained, "So this really worked perfectly as a partnership."
Today, in conjunction with Pedigree, Lambert unveils a documentary short that showcases — along with her passion for animal rescue — the campaign's shelter renovation program, an initiative through which the brand is donating time and resources to improve shelters all over the U.S.
With the help of the independent charitable organization Greater Good, Pedigree associates and community volunteers are visiting these shelters to tackle projects like painting, installing new signage and enhancing kennels and play areas.
For Lambert, the initiative really hit home. Quite literally, in fact: Her documentary short was filmed at the Tishomingo Animal Shelter in her Oklahoma hometown.
"I've spent a lot of time trying to improve it over the last eight years, but it's a slow-go, you know?" she told us. "And they came in for two days and did incredible things."
After all was said and done, seeing the shelter transformed into one that is more welcoming for the dogs it houses and the potential adopters who visit them proved affecting for Lambert. "When I watched it, it was so emotional and moving to see all these people from all over the U.S. come together with one passion, and it's all to improve the lives of these animals," she revealed.
Of course, Lambert comes by her love of animals honestly, having been raised in a rural area by a family who never seemed to turned away a stray.
"We lived way out in the country most of my life, and so there was always a stray or someone would dump a dog, and my parents would let me keep it," she said, adding her family was known to take in everything from horses to goats… and plenty of pups. "We always had a rescue of some sort… it's just part of my blood."
The country star's love for dogs, in particular, is deep-rooted. "My parents brought me home from the hospital and a yellow lab was sleeping under my crib," she laughed. "I mean, I put bonnets on him, and he came to tea parties. I've literally never been without a dog my whole entire life."
Much like they were when she was growing up, pets are part of the family to Lambert. "I have six rescue dogs, and they're literally our family. We don't have children, so our dogs are our children. I think my husband has reached his limit, though," she joked of fellow country fixture Blake Shelton. "I think we're at the crazy limit now… I'm becoming a crazy dog lady!"
Truth be told, Lambert would probably have 100 more dogs if it were feasible. But since it isn't, she channels her puppy love into partnerships like the Pedigree See What Good Food Can Do campaign and into her own rescue organization, MuttNation Foundation.
Lambert founded MuttNation in 2009 with her mother, Bev, with the goal of working to end pet suffering and homelessness in the U.S. and abroad. According to its website, the charity volunteers and partners with shelters and animal assistance organizations to provide spay and neuter programs, medical treatments, adoptions, preventions, transportation, legislative changes and education.
Between the foundation and her partnership with Pedigree, it seems obvious the singer-songwriter — whose fifth studio album, Platinum, recently debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart — doesn't intend to slow down her animal rescue efforts anytime soon.
And, really, she wouldn't have it any other way. "I always wanted a farm, and I have a farm now. It's kind of the first thing I did whenever I established myself in my career: I bought my own farm in Oklahoma and got some goats and chickens. And that's my haven, being surrounded by animals," she shared.
"People will say 'How do you stay grounded?' and 'What do you do to get away?'" Lambert mused, "And I say, 'I just go to the woods and I surround myself with animals.' That's what makes me happy."
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