From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
Growing up in a broken home in rural North Carolina, Kellie Pickler found she could always rely on her pets for unconditional love. "Animals have filled so many voids," she says. These days, with her brood of furry (and scaled) friends, life for the committed vegetarian is pleasantly full. "I really have a circus," says the 22-year-old star, laughing, of her four (and counting!) pets. "When I first came to Nashville, I didn't have any friends or family out here." Enter Pickles, a portly 2-year-old tabby who loves nothing more than a road trip. "Pickles will sit in the window of the tour bus for a 14-hour ride and look out for hours," says Pickler, who is currently touring with pal Taylor Swift. Next came MooMoo, a 1-year-old "metro-sexual" Chihuahua ("He has a lot of clothes and goes to the puppy parlor to get pampered"), followed quickly by a baby python with the tongue-in-cheek moniker Boots. The most recent addition to the Pickler clan? A temperamental 1-lb. marmoset monkey called Bella. "She's a diva. She likes me, but she doesn't like the other animals at all." The singer's only quibble is with those who don't understand her bond with her pets. "I hate when people say an animal isn't going to heaven," she says. "I don't think you can look in a dog's eyes and think they don't have a soul!"