Animal Attraction: “We have a rescue German shepherd named Sadie and a labradoodle named Moose, after Mike Mussina of the Yankees. We also have my mother’s double yellow Amazon parrot. I call her Bird. We have two quarter horses, Roo and PJ, and an appendix quarter, which is a half-thoroughbred/half-quarter horse named Teddy. They’re at a ranch, where we board them. And we have a chicken named Elsie, but it started out as LC for little chicken. She’s at the barn [on the ranch] and is really the owner’s chicken, but he said she can be mine because we’ve bonded.”





So, half of your pets are at the ranch? “Yes. The dogs and the bird are at home. Everybody else I just visit 12 hours a day.”

How did these pets become part of your family? “The German shepherd, Sadie, is a rescue. As for Moose, Austin [Evans’s late son] and I used to love to go to pet stores. We picked up this puppy, who literally went limp in Austin’s arms and fell asleep. So we just had to have him. When my mom got really sick and went into the hospital, she asked us to take care of her bird. Then she passed, so we kept her. Teddy was actually Lauren Koslow’s [Kate, DAYS] horse. She had two horses, Teddy and Gucci, and was looking for homes for them. We took both of them. Gucci, who was an amazing horse and an alpha female, got very ill, and we had to put her down. After she passed away, [my husband] Michael was on a mission to find a horse and ended up finding two. That’s how we got Roo and PJ.”

Did you have pets growing up? “Not really. We had a few cats. My parents just allowed cats. We did have a dog at one point, a collie, who actually went blind. My parents weren’t dog people. We just had a couple of cats that they rescued, but that wasn’t until I was around 10. I was always an animal person. My first word was ‘horse’. All I wanted was a horse. I had to wait until I was old enough to buy a horse.”

Do you or your husband have favorites among the pets? “Oh, my gosh. It’s like Sophie’s Choice. It’s impossible [to pick]. There’s so much love for each one. For Michael, it may be Sadie. She protected him once from some people who were trying to break into our house. She literally put her life on the line for him. Even though he loves Moose and they’re very bonded, I think Sadie is his girl. But he loves Moose. Nobody loves the parrot.”

Tell me about your pets’ personalities. “Teddy is in his 30s. He’s the guy that all the girls pick on. And he’s just like, ‘Okay, go ahead. Pick on me.’ Roo is 10 and really in charge, but allows PJ, who’s 8, and the youngest of the three horses, to be the head bitch in charge, if you will. But every so often, Roo is like, ‘I’ve had enough. I’m in charge.’ Roo is really smart and the most spirited, but she keeps it quiet. But she lets the dragon out every so often. She’s the silent leader.”

Do the dogs sleep with you? “Oh, yeah. If they can’t sleep in the bed, then I’ll sleep on the floor with them. Now they’re too old to get up on the bed, so they’ll sleep near the bed. A lot of times, I’ll sleep on the couch so I can sleep near them. It’s just by accident, I think. Once the chicken comes home, she’ll be sleeping in the bed with me. I’m going to see how that works.”

Do you and Michael spoil the pets or are you strict? “I’m more the disciplinarian and the trainer. Whenever we get a new dog, I’m the one who trains them to sit, stay, crawl, and Michael is more the rule-breaker. He gives them the treats that you’re not supposed to give them. He’s the fun dad, and I’m the mean mom.”

Have you ever dressed up the animals for Halloween? “Oh, yes. Michael just got costumes for the chicken. I love to dress the dogs in costumes, but of course, they hate it.”

Do you leave the TV on for the dogs when you go out? “I do leave the TV on for them when we’re gone because they do have separation anxiety.”

What does being a pet mom mean to you? Does it help you get your nurturing side out? “Absolutely. You get to feel like Mother Teresa. It brings me so much joy, honestly. After Austin passed away, the friends and family that refused to let me shut down kept me alive, but the animals in my life brought me back to life. It’s a pure love. It’s like the love you have with your child. They love you. You love them. And once you earn their trust, it’s the most beautiful, rewarding relationship. Because I miss Austin so much — for me, that was my one true, pure love in my life — mourning him and mourning not being with him, I also was mourning that I don’t have that love in front of me. Even though I’ll always have my love for him, the animals really give me something that is as close to that as I can have.”


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