Jordin Sparks: My Dogs Sense My Mood

08/08/2011 at 05:00 PM EDT

Jordin Sparks: My Dogs Sense My Mood
Jordin Sparks and Minnie
Jordin Sparks might always be on the go, but she has four furry companions to help remind her of home.

"My dogs are amazing!" she told PEOPLE of her Lab, Noni, and three schnauzer-bichon-poodle mixes, Maggie, Miles, and Minnie, at a VH1 Save the Music Foundation and Energizer benefit concert in New York City last month.

"If something's wrong [with me], they kind of shift their mood, too," the American Idol champ said. "They can sense it. It's really nice to have that. It's a piece of home that I can take with me."

When they aren't helping her stay positive, Sparks says her dogs also manage to find ways to beat the summer heat.

"Maggie, Miles, and Minnie – they think they're Labs, too," she says. "They play fetch and they jump in the pool. They actually dive – and they're supposed to be indoor dogs!"

The Sparks furballs have also discovered a few summer treats they can rely on to chill out. "They love ice cubes," she said. "And then the Frosty Paws ice cream, they love that, too. You know, they've got a lot of fur – I do whatever I can to keep them cool!"

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