Dolly Parton’s Dog Saved Her from Taking Her Own Life

Celebrity, as we know all too well, does not insulate someone from the risk of dying by suicide. Depression can grab hold and drag anyone down to the deepest darkest places, despite outward appearances that a person ‘has it all.’ Legendary country star Dolly Parton opened up about her experience with contemplating suicide and the surprising distraction that gave her just enough time to change her mind.


A Low Period

Dolly relayed to Dogs Monthly Magazine that there was a period in her life when she was feeling extremely low. She was going through a really tough time and she wasn’t sure if she was going to come out of it.

Dolly, now 73, said: “I went through a really bad time and was feeling so low I thought about ending it all.”

She Had a Gun

At the time Dolly lived in a place where it was very common to keep a gun close at hand in your home. Break-ins were a problem, and residents wanted to protect themselves and their belongings. The best way they understood how to accomplish that was to have a gun, often at the bedside.

For Dolly, this presented a potentially tragic set of circumstances. Personal tragedy and hardship felt like too much. She was depressed and considered ending it all. So she went into her bedroom, closed the door, and took the gun out.

“I was in my bedroom. In those days where I lived everyone kept a gun in case of burglars. There was one in a drawer by my bed. I opened the drawer and took it out.”


Stopped by Her Boston Terrier, Popeye

Just as she was getting ready to use the gun on herself to bring about an end to her pain and suffering, her Boston Terrier Popeye started scratching like crazy at the door. The sound of her dog at the door was enough to stop her. She said that everything changed after that.

“Just at that moment Popeye ran up the stairs and started clawing at my bedroom door. It was enough to stop me. I put the gun back, opened the door and he came in and made such a fuss, as if we had been apart for months. Everything changed from that moment thanks to Popeye and the Lord.”


Jennifer Aniston and Dolly

We shared the story of the passing and burial service of Jennifer Aniston’s white German Shepherd, whom she named Dolly after her idol, Dolly Parton. When asked by Dog Monthly Magazine if Dolly was offended by the namesake as Aniston feared, Dolly said, “No way.” She was proud that Aniston called her pup Dolly saying it made her feel like a favorite Aunt. Dolly Parton and Jennifer Aniston recently worked together on the 2018 Netflix movie Dumplin. Aniston starred in the film while Parton was behind the soundtrack, and her music and likeness were integral components of the story.


Dolly’s open sharing of her contemplation of suicide helps shine light on the pervasiveness of depression in our society. Dogs can help. Not only can they literally save lives, like Popeye did for Dolly, they have been proven to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, you’re not alone. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Featured Image: Instagram 

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