Trisha Yearwood's Lifelong Passion for Rescued Pups
For as long as she can remember, country music sensation Trisha Yearwood always had a canine friend. Growing up on a farm near Monticello, Ga., the three-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter was an early advocate for the love and care of dogs.
"I've always lived in a rural setting where there's not usually a leash law. And a lot of people have a different idea about animals, that they're kind of expendable, and would dump them off in the country," Yearwood tells Daily Paws. "So there always seemed to be something coming up the driveway or down the highway where we lived. All of our dogs were strays." She also once helped save a litter of pups from a puppy mill and kept one as her own.
"I really believe these rescue animals know. There's a different kind of love from them—you have this connection that's like 'I understand that you saved me,'" she says. "And of course, they save you right back, because they give us so much."
A staunch supporter of The Humane Society of the United States, Yearwood's dedication to rescues continues. When she and her husband, Garth Brooks (He's also in country music. Perhaps you've heard of him.) lived in Oklahoma, Yearwood says everything from trash to dogs would be dumped at the end of their property. She's homed several critters she picked up from the heap. In fact, this is how she stumbled upon a sweet white pooch with one floppy black ear.
"She was just a little bitty puppy walking along the side of the road. I tried to give her away, because I already had a couple of dogs!" Yearwood says. "But she ended up being mine."
"When we moved back to Nashville [Tenn.], a friend told me about a kill shelter south of town that really doesn't get a lot of rescue love. I went down there and found Millie," Yearwood says. "She was 8 weeks old, part pit bull, and not going to get rescued, so I took her." Millie is now an adorable black-and-white 3 year old, and Yearwood says her two fur babies are just the best.
The Joys of Routine
"But my dog didn't want to be on a tour bus. She wasn't living her best life just because I needed her with me," Yearwood says. "I learned keeping my dogs' routine was more important. Dogs are 10 times more creatures of habit than humans."
Now, special caregivers help while she's away. "And the dogs— they love it! They still have their beds and their yard, with their lives very much the same, but get treats like scrambled eggs and other stuff that I don't give them when I'm home."
However, like many pet parents experienced during the pandemic, things in the household changed, and Yearwood has relished every moment. She created a new morning routine with her dogs that Brooks calls 'the nest.' "It starts with coffee for me, always, and I open the door and they come in, get on their beds, get a treat, and go back to sleep," she says. "So it's the couch, dog beds, and me and my coffee. I read and put my feet up with my dogs. This is a real luxury for me. I haven't been home this much in 30 years. Garth says, 'How long can you stay in the nest?' and I'm like, 'You would be surprised! All day.'"
Yearwood says Emmy and Millie pay no attention to her and Brooks as a musical power couple. "They don't sing along. They make their own noises, but really don't care. Maybe it's because they hear us sing and play music all the time, so they're not impressed," Yearwood says.
She says people used to send her videos of a dog who would howl along with the entire chorus of her hit, "She's in Love With the Boy"—and then stop for the verse and just sit there until the chorus came on again. "It was amazing. But my dogs don't do any of that. So it's a goal."
(We so hoped to find that video hidden on the interwebs but alas, did not. Science says dogs do like music, though—maybe as long as you let them choose!)
New Pet Collection a Platform for Advocacy
As a successful entrepreneur, she says her passion for pets inspired her latest endeavor, the Trisha Yearwood Pet Collection. Emmy and Millie serve as taste testers, quality control experts, and product models.
"For our new treats, the quality of ingredients was the biggest thing. We wanted ingredients you could feel good about feeding your animals. And I really had to test them on my dogs," Yearwood says. "Emmy will pretty much eat any treat you give her, but loves the crunchy chews. Millie likes the soft chews and—this is gross!—she'll have to lick it for awhile, it sits on her bed, it gets soft, then she'll eat it!"
"I think about the things I want products to do. There was form and function that I needed it all to do," Yearwood says. "The dogs, though, they don't understand yet—they'll get a lawyer when they realize they have a pet line!"
More importantly, she feels these products give her a greater opportunity for animal advocacy. Emmy and Millie's faces appear on product packaging, along with their gotcha dates.
"I love that this gives me a platform to talk about how many dogs and cats need to be rescued, and how wonderful they are as pets. But you have to give them time to integrate into your family, and I want to be part of that education as well," Yearwood says. "And educating about spaying and neutering, because that's part of the rescue issue, too."