Bri Bagwell Joins with More than 200 of Her Fans — and Their Dogs!

“It was never a ‘who saved who’ moment for me,” the Texas country star said recently of her chihuahua Whiskey

Bri Bagwell was on her way to a show when her headlights found the sad eyes of a little chihuahua she would eventually name Whiskey.

“I turned the corner and there [she was] in the middle of the road,” Bagwell, 36, tells PEOPLE of the dog she found in February of 2019. “I chased her for a while, but she eventually stopped, and I picked her up. It breaks my heart because it was a cold day. It was going to freeze that night.”

And that was just the beginning of the plight of this dog, as the little chihuahua was also skinny, cold, hungry, and so very scared. That is, until she was lucky enough to be rescued by the woman who also just happens to be the Texas Female Country Artist of the Decade.

“We’ve been inseparable ever since,” says Bagwell of the dog she estimates to be 7 years old now. “And now she’s just living her best life.”

<p>Courtesy Bri Bagwell</p> Bri Bagwell and Whiskey

Courtesy Bri Bagwell

Bri Bagwell and Whiskey

It’s this special relationship between the dog and her rescuer that now plays out in Bagwell’s new single “The Rescue,” a heartwarming new song that the Texas artist wrote alongside fellow singer/songwriter Helene Cronin.

“We didn’t even plan on writing a song about Whiskey,” explains the New Mexico native of the day “The Rescue” was created. “But on the second day, we were writing together, and I wanted to write a song about my little girl, but every time I even would try, I just burst into tears. But once we started, it just kind of flowed out.”

Related: Bri Bagwell Finds the Path to Her Own Heart on New Album ‘Corazón y Cabeza’

<p>Haley Hays</p> Bri Bagwell

As easy as the song came to be, so did the music video for “The Rescue,” which features more than 200 of Bagwell’s biggest fans with the rescue dogs that they too saved from what could have been a so very uncertain life.

“I don’t know any of these people, but the love jumps off the screen,” explains Bagwell of the fans and their dogs prominently featured in the music video premiering exclusively on PEOPLE. “You can feel it. I cried when I first saw the finished video. I was like, ‘Why am I crying?’ I don’t know any of these dogs.”

But she does know one of the dogs, as Bagwell is shown with her dog Whiskey towards the end of the video. “It was never a ‘who saved who’ moment for me,” Bagwell wrote in a recent Instagram post. “She saved me from a relationship that was unhealthy for me. She gave me a new focus, a new emotional support system, and a new best friend, just by existing.”

Related: Lisa Ann Walter Shares Spaghetti with Her Rescue Dog to Support Pet Adoption (Exclusive)

But it hasn’t always been easy for Whiskey and Bagwell.

“Whiskey definitely still has big time abandonment issues,” says Bagwell, who will be donating a portion of the proceeds from her Feb. 13 Galentine’s Day livestream concert to the New Braunfels Humane Society and Las Cruces’ Safe Haven. “The first time I left her alone, she tore up my blinds. Another time, a man raised his voice and she just immediately started shaking, so I think there is some history there of that.  She definitely had some issues, but we have been loving her through it.”

‘We’ being Bagwell and her longtime boyfriend and fellow music artist Paul Eason.

“He’s just the greatest man that ever lived,” says Bagwell of her boyfriend of over four years. “We don’t get to see each other as he spends a whole lot on the road with his band The Wilder Blue and I’m on the road with my band, but we always try to find quality time to spend together.”

Bri Bagwell's "The Rescue"

Bri Bagwell’s “The Rescue”

Time that they often spend making music.

“Paul recorded the whole track [of ‘The Rescue’] in our house,” says Bagwell, who played over 120 shows herself in 2023. “He played all the instruments, including the drums and steel guitar — everything. He’s amazing.”

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