For Bret Michaels, Poison’s lead singer, hanging out with his animal companions is truly “Nothin’ But a Good Time”.
His heavy metal band scored countless hits in the 80s and 90s. He has successfully launched his own solo career, and become a reality TV star on Celebrity Apprentice, as well as his own show, VH1’s Rock of Love. Through it all, he has battled terrifying health issues, personal drama, and the typical pitfalls that come with life as a rock star. But Bret Michaels has never had to face these obstacles without the love and support of a host of companion animals.
“Since the age of six, I have been struggling with type-1 diabetes, resulting in five injections and ten blood tests daily, a life-threatening brain hemorrhage and recent heart surgery,” says the front man for Poison. “Having my dogs and other animals around me has not only given me unconditional love, but strength and friendship during the low points of my life. There aren’t enough words to express how much that has meant to me and added to my life.”
Along with giving him emotional support, Bret credits his dogs with physically saving his life on more than one occasion. “My German shepherds are very aware of my diabetes and able to sense when I have low blood sugar,” he says, adding that his dogs have also provided him with the extra physical security that celebrities tend to need.
“Besides their constantly pushing me to get exercise, my shepherds once scared off an intruder that had broken through a window at my Malibu house,” Bret says. “And at my ranch in Nashville, my Siberian husky Jazz scared off several people who made an attempt to come up to the house.”
To show appreciation for everything his dogs do for him, Bret created Pets Rock. It’s a growing line of edgy and durable dog (and now cat) products that support animal-friendly charitable organizations. The products include everything from toys and fun doggy T-shirts to stylish collars, harnesses and bowls, and are available through PetSmart.
Despite his relatively new role as the head honcho of his own brand, Bret adds that he prefers to avoid the typical red tape that usually goes with developing new products.
“I like to rely on my personal touch and creativity, along with a lot of hard work, experimenting, determination and just plain old letting my dogs and cats rip into my products and see which ones work and which ones don’t work,” he chuckles.
Over the years, Bret has also spent countless hours fundraising, assisting animals, and encouraging the efforts of others who do the same. But this dedication goes beyond charitable efforts and impersonal donations. It has often led him to take personal action, even while touring.
“A few times when I’ve been on tour, I’ve found dogs on the road, picked them up and placed them with great families,” he says. “Once, I took a dog on my jet with me to a new location where he was adopted. We have also been able to use our large following on social media to assist with finding animals their forever home.
“I also continue to be amazed at the effect pets have on people’s health,” Bret continues. “I recently met Glen, who owns several rescued cats that can detect when he is about to have a seizure, and who help him through that process. I subsequently launched a campaign to help Glen get health care and food for his cats.”
Bret’s own animal menagerie includes horses and rats as well as dogs. He has never backed away from the challenges of animal “parenthood”, despite his extremely busy touring schedule.
“As with anything in life, you find a way to make it work,” he says. “I have always managed to mix my personal and professional life, so sometimes the animals will travel with me. I’ve even had them appear in my music videos over the years. When they are home without me, they are well taken care of by family or friends.”
While “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, Bret continues to look at the bright side of life, thanks to the kinship he shares with the animals that have enriched his world. In fact, he says his love for and interest in animals have only strengthened over time. Whether he’s taking care of his own critters, or looking out for the well-being of others, Michael’s animal-friendly efforts are truly “Something To Believe In”.